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Nahdet Misr: A Sculpture That Embodies Egypt At A Glance

November 20, 2021

Granite catches the light and a felaha looks across the Cairo University Bridge. She is one of two figures immortalized in sculpture, known as Nahdet Misr, or Egypt’s Renaissance: woman and sphinx, a pair who summarize the essence of Egypt at a glance. The statue was initially inaugurated in Ramses Square in 1928, later moved to where it is now – the Nahdet Misr Street, which borrowed its name from the sculpture. It has become a Giza monument, and a site that has witnessed both protest and victory over the years. Mahmoud Mukhtar (1891 – 1934) brought Nahdet Misr to life, sculpting the monument “[o]n the heels of World War I and the wake of Egypt’s 1919 Revolution.”  Mukhtar had a vision of Egypt that stretched past the British occupation, and Nahdet Misr was meant to embody that struggle for independence. In essence, it personified the modern, national aspirations many Egyptians had at the time. Nahdet Misr became a vehicle for responding to sociopolitical change. Mukhtar believed that by personifying Egypt, the emotional link between a nation’s overdue awakening and national identity could be bridged. Bringing together two emblems of…

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