Rus Articles Journal

From where in St. Petersburg the Egyptian sphinxes?

ran Years, centuries too quickly replaced each other, turning into the millennia. Over time the Egyptian civilization fell into decay. Did not spare time and monuments. Vandals who existed at all times laid the unscrupulous hands to ancient history too. As a result the temple was destroyed, and sphinxes are filled up with a thick layer of sand.

However in one fine sunny day of 1828 the Egyptologist Yannis Atonazis during archeological excavations found in Thebes several escaped sphinxes. Excavation was conducted on money which the English consul in Egypt allocated Solt therefore Atonazis had to give the most part of the finds to the sponsor. Sphinxes had to fill up Solt`s collection too. Therefore quickly built couple of palm rafts, set up on them statues and across Nile sent to other Egyptian city of Alexandria.

Solt looked at statues and decided what, probably, will be more favorable than them to somebody to be sold. At this time to Egypt just there arrived the Russian officer Andrey Muravyev who deserved the permit to Africa, having shown heroism in russko - the Turkish war of 1828 - 1829. He saw sphinxes and understood that they very much would be useful to Russia. Without thinking twice, he wrote the application addressed to the Russian ambassador in Constantinople Ribopyer where suggested it to discuss a possibility of purchase of sphinxes with the Russian emperor Nicholas I. He enclosed letter also to drawing of sphinxes. The ambassador became interested in purchase too and sent the letter to the tsar. Nicholas I strong reflected as purchase was expensive, and had no practical advantage therefore he decided to consult to employees of Academy of Arts where he sent the corresponding letter before. As a result Nicholas I gave the consent.

However, while getting around to business, to the owner of sphinxes bothered to wait for the answer from the Russian buyers, and he agreed about sale with the French government which offered the huge sum for statues. So there was also left St. Petersburg without surprising monument if not the revolution which ran high in France in 1830. Became the French government not to sphinxes, and Solt had to sell urgently them to Russians for 40 000 rubles that for those times all the same was rather big sum.

Sphinxes reached St. Petersburg the whole year. They floated by the ship Buena of speranets ( Kind hope ) however despite the naive and kind name of the vessel, did not do without excesses. When loading on the ship, several cables, holding one of sphinxes, tore and the statue fell, having damaged a mast and a board. The sphinx at the same time almost did not suffer and got off only with a deep scar on a face which can be seen and today.

Sphinxes arrived to St. Petersburg in 1832, and in April, 1834 - go set up them before Academy of Arts on pier over Neva. Several years later on pedestals of statues cut the inscription The Sphinx from ancient Thebes, in Egypt, is transported during Saint Peter`s hail in 1832 .

Since then ancient sphinxes and are above Neva, seeing off serious views the ships floating across Neva and remember the long stone life. And when there comes the winter, Neva freezes, and sphinxes brings cold white snow, they think of the hot Egyptian sun, ancient pyramids, the great Pharaoh and of how life is infinite.