At the building of the Academy of Arts, located on theVasilievsky island of the northern capital, there is a cultural composition, which is one of the unofficial symbols of St. Petersburg. These are ancient statues, which are much older than the city itself on the Neva, - the Sphinxes on the University embankment. Their age, according to scientists, is three and a half thousand years.
In total, there are fourteen such statues in the city. But the sphinxes on the University embankment are the most famous. They are popular not only among tourists who visit the city with great pleasure, but also for Petersburgers.
Sphinxes, on the University Embankmentlocated, were discovered in 1820 during excavations of the city of Thebes, which were conducted by an expedition led by the famous Greek Egyptologist Janis Atonazis with the money of the British Consulate. According to available information, these two monumental statues, made of pink granite, were on the west bank of the Nile near the colossi of Memnon and represented a "guard" of the tomb of Pharaoh Aminhotep III, who ruled Upper and Lower Egypt. Due to the fact that funds were allocated by England, Yanni (the nickname of the scientist) most of the finds should be given to the meeting of the British consul in this country - Henry Salt. There and directed our sphinxes. Salt moved the statues to Alexandria, closer to the seacoast, where they were seen by the hero of the Napoleonic War of 1812, Andrei Muraviev, who immediately informed Nicholas of the first about the need to purchase statues. Europe in those years was carried away by Egyptology, so it was not difficult to persuade the autocrat. By order of the emperor from the treasury were allocated 64 thousand rubles, and the sphinxes were purchased. In May 1832 on a special fortified ship they were delivered to St. Petersburg, the imperial capital.
The Sphinx is a mythological being. It's a lion with a human head. Each sphinx on the University embankment is a fine representative of the symbol of courage, wisdom and dignity, which these animals are. The profile of each resembles the profile of the king. The head, which is crowned with a crown, and the cape covers the shoulders, and on the forehead adorns the cobra - a symbol of the protection of the pharaohs. On the neck of the statue are six-row beads, which are also a sign of power. On the chest is a medallion with the carved name Aminhotep III.
Sphinxes on University Embankment, photowhich are presented in the article, are a sample of the magnificent creativity of the ancient Egyptian stonemasons. Their image was captured not only in the works of artists. They devoted their poetry geniuses to literature.