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The Great Sphinx, a reclining lion with a human head, is the oldest known monumental sculpture in the world. The port serves vessels transporting general cargo, oil tankers, and both commercial and private passenger vessels.Several large vessels are visible in the Gulf of Suez and berthed at various docks around the port. This oblique image captures a northbound convoy of cargo ships entering the Mediterranean Sea from the Suez Canal (leftmost canal branch at image center).
The Great Sphinx lies before the Pyramid and the remains of the Temple of the Sphinx lie in front of the sphinx itself. The pyramids at Dashur, about 40 km (25 mi) south of Cairo.
The thin yellow-brown band tracing the Earth's curvature at image top is airglow, a faint band of light emission that results from the interaction of atmospheric atoms and molecules with solar radiation at approximately 100 km (60 mi) altitude. The Nile Delta of Egypt, irrigated by the Nile River and its many distributaries, is some of the richest farm land in the world and home to over half of Egypt's population.
The capital city of Cairo lies at the apex of the delta in the middle of the scene.
To the west of the river and near the delta apex one can see the three large pyramids and sphinx at Giza. The Sultan Hassan and Ar-Rifai Mosques as seen from the Citadel with Cairo in the background.
The Suez Canal is just to the right of the delta; the rear of the space shuttle appears in the lower portion of the view. The Sultan Hassan Mosque and Madrasah (religious school) is a masterpiece of Mamluk architecture that was begun in 1356 and completed in 1363.
Across the river from Cairo one can see the three large pyramids and sphinx at Giza. The Nile Delta of Egypt, irrigated by the Nile River and its many distributaries, is some of the richest farm land in the world and home to over half of Egypt's population.