Did Snow Fall on the Pyramids and Sphinx?

Following news reports of Egypt's first snowfall in 112 years, photos began circulating online which showed snow on the Great Pyramids and Great Sphinx. Are these images real or fake?

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The photos are fake.

While snow did fall in Egypt in December 2013, the iconic structures were not covered in snow.

Fake Pyramid Snow Photo, Version 1

This photo was shared over 10,000 times when it was posted by the Twitter account History in Pictures, with a caption that read, “Snow has fallen on the pyramids for the first time in 112 years.” Daily Mirror reporter Mikey Smith responded by tweeting out “the same photo, but without the crappy filter.” Below you can see the fake snow photo alongside the original.

pyramids-ba1

Fake Pyramid Snow Photo Version 2

After the above photo was revealed to be a fake, another photo allegedly showing snow on the Pyramids surfaced. This one could be seen on imgur, with a caption, “The Pyramid pic we’ve been waiting for…” This, too, however was discovered to be a fake, as seen below. The original photo has existed in multiple stock photo libraries for several years.

pyramids-ba2

Fake Sphinx Photo

Another photo in heavy circulation showed a snow-capped Sphinx. The photo is real, but it shows a miniature model of the iconic structure at the Tobu World Square park in Japan. Below you can see the image in heavy circulation, followed by a higher-definition shot of the model in which a corner a plaque describing it can be seen.

sphinx-model2

Although snow did fall in Egypt, the Mirror reported that “the wintry weather wasn’t enough to cover Egypt’s most famous monuments, the Pyramids or the Sphinx.”

Bottom Line

Photos showing the Pyramids and Sphinx covered in snow are fake.

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16 Comments on Did Snow Fall on the Pyramids and Sphinx?

  1. You have certainly proven your skills as a tenacious and open-minded investigator. Hopefully we can cross paths again. Thanks for all of your input, and good luck to you!

  2. Oscar Wiberg // January 10, 2014 at 4:50 am // Reply

    Not fake! This is actuallt really cool!!!!!!!! I’ve been there when the snow was snowing and its something that i am going to carry with me for the rest of my life!!!!!!!!! it was cold and i was freezingggg xDDDDD
    ps. i wasnt freezing cause i’m a wiking yaow

  3. The Fake Detective // January 2, 2014 at 8:28 am // Reply

    Waffles,

    Here’s the largest version of the “fake” snow on the pyramids picture I could find: http://i.imgur.com/ns2TyAE.jpg

    Note that it shows a lot more to the left and right sides, and bottom, than the picture you used.

    Do you have a link to a good version of the “real” picture?

    I’d like to make a more detailed comparison.

    FD

    • Glad we could help, and it has been an enjoyable debate… even though we respectfully disagree that the images are different. :-)

      • The Fake Detective // January 3, 2014 at 9:40 am // Reply

        Yes. However, the images ARE DEFINITELY different. We only disagree on how WHY they are different.

        You say it’s due to fakery. I say they are different real pictures taken from the same spot. There is just too much EXPERT fakery required to create one picture from another. From my years of experience examining fakes, no one is going to spend that amount of time creating a fake without taking credit for it in some way.

        Cheers.

        FD

  4. The Fake Detective // January 2, 2014 at 7:39 am // Reply

    Waffles,

    Here’s the situation as I see it:

    There are pictures of snow on pyramids that are FRAUDS. I.e., they are REAL pictures, but they aren’t what they’re claimed to be. One such picture of a pyramid is actually the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas. Others are small models of the pyramids. They are REAL pictures, but they are not real pictures of the REAL pyramids. They are frauds. The “Fake Sphinx Photo” above is a FRAUD. Such pictures aren’t deliberately created, they are found in archives and then misused.

    Then there are pictures of snow on the pyramids that are TRICKS. They are REAL pictures of the REAL pyramids that are color adjusted to make the yellow sand and stone look white, like snow.

    The “Fake Pyramid Snow Photo, Version 1″ above is a COMPUTER TRICK accomplished by simply adjusting colors. Such a trick picture can be created on a computer in seconds. The camel shot is another such “trick.”

    Then there’s “Fake Pyramid Snow Photo Version 2″ above. That is neither a “fraud” nor a “trick.” IF it’s a fake, it is a VERY clever and well done fake DELIBERATELY CREATED by combining the sky from one picture with color adjusted pyramids from another picture, the adding in people, putting a haze over the top of the pyramid, and painting in snow on the granite block at the lower left, etc.

    That isn’t easy to do. Replacing the sky would be easy with a flat line horizon. But with the jagged lines of blocks on the pyramids it would take a LOT of work. And you’d usually see places that hadn’t been painted perfectly.

    There ARE UNDISPUTED REAL PICTURES of snow in Cairo, where millions of people live and many have cameras.

    Why aren’t there more REAL pictures of snow on the pyramids? Could it be because (1) Egypt is in turmoil and very few (if any) tourists go there these days, (2) because it WINTER and COLD, and (3) because the snow on the pyramids happened early in the morning out in the desert.

    Why do the real and “fake” pictures match so closely? Could it be because they were both taken by the same person? Who would be out at the pyramids on a December morning when the country is in turmoil and it’s snowing? Who except someone who works there?

    As the saying goes, don’t throw the baby out with the wash water.

    Don’t assume that because there are so many fakes around that “Fake Pyramid Snow Photo Version 2″ MUST also be fake. I think there’s a very good chance that it’s one of two REAL pictures of snow on the pyramids.

    The trick is to PROVE it. You seem to know more about tracking down the sources of pictures. What’s the SOURCE of the picture? I clicked on “Source” and all I can find is that “Lapislight” said, “I used Google Image search to try and find its origin and did not see that. It was an image I found on a thread on Facebook without knowledge of its origin.”

    People in Egypt use Facebook. We need to find who originally posted it to Facebook. I’m not on Facebook. Are you?

    FD

  5. The Fake Detective // January 1, 2014 at 3:06 pm // Reply

    Well, you got me again with the camel shot.

    But, the large version of the imgur.com snow photo looks more real than ever. You can even see that the snow on the object in the lower left of the picture is uneven. There are light and dark areas showing the unevenness. And the haze covering the top of the pyramid is more visible. If it’s a fake, it’s an EXPERT fake that took a lot of time and effort to create.

    FD

  6. The Fake Detective // January 1, 2014 at 1:46 pm // Reply

    Well, you definitely shot down the other pictures of “snow on the pyramids.” The shutterstock photo and the one that “matches” it have some differences, but it’s hard to argue that one cannot be created from the other by just manipulating the color and replacing the sky.

    The problem with “Fake Pyramid Snow Photo Version 2″ is that PEOPLE would have to be added, there is snow PILED atop the stone block in the lower left corner, and there are marks on the ground that would have to be erased to make it look like they are covered by snow. So, it’s not just a color adjustment like all the others. There would have to be a lot of deliberate fakery performed.

    As to whether snow actually fell on the pyramids, there’s no doubt that it fell in Cairo. Lots of news stories say so and there are a lot of REAL pictures of snow in Cairo. Cairo is just a few miles northeast of Giza where the pyramids are located.

    I’m not as certain that the picture is real as I was previously, but it still seems difficult to imagine someone creating a fake that involves adding people, adding snow piles and covering over spots on the ground which would be covered or hidden by snow. It’s not impossible, but when someone does something like that they usually take credit for it and sign the fake.

    I’ll keep researching. Thanks.

    FD

  7. Oddly, none of those mention or show pictures of the pyramids. There is no doubt that snow fell in Cairo’s eastern suburbs. If snow did fall on the pyramids, no credible images have yet surfaced as proof.

    If anyone does find such images, you will probably be the one to do it. :-)

  8. It isn’t just a similar angle, it is exact when the two images are superimposed. To achieve the same distance and angle in two different photos is almost impossible.

    While we haven’t evaluated most of the images in the link you provided, the last image on that page is a known fake. Wouldn’t one expect much more local news coverage regarding snow on the pyramids? At this point we have a very small handful of such images, and nearly all are fake.

  9. Haven’t you seen what people can do with photoshop? You can tell the second photo is fake simply because of the cloud coverage! If the pyramids were really covered in snow there would be thousands of ameture snaps taken by tourists and locals all over the net – not professional photos with too perfect clouds.

  10. I am not sure about photo version 2. You say it is a stock photo, but there are a few differences besides the snow. Are we to assume they also added different lighting, cloud coverage, and two people?

  11. the internet strikes again…damn you!

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