The Great Sphinx of Giza is one of the oldest, largest, and—best of all—most mysterious monuments ever created by man. Between its expansive mythology, nebulous origins, and alleged connections to worlds beyond our own, the Sphinx is a proverbial treasure trove of esoteric history and information.
Facing the rising sun, the Great Sphinx is located on the Giza Plateau, about 10 km west of Cairo, on the west bank of the Nile.
What Is a Sphinx?
The sphinx stands at a towering height of 20 meters measured from the base to the top of the head and a 19m rear width at its rear haunches. The structure is believed to have been built in the old kingdom era during the reign of the pharaoh Khafre. The sphinx is carved in the very bedrock of the Giza plateau which functioned both as a quarry and home of many other attractions such as the Giza Pyramids. The sphinx is formed of layers of nummulitic limestone each with different levels of erosion resistance causing the Step-like formation of the Sphinx body as it is today. This monumental structure measures 73m/240 feet from pay to tail, 20m/66ft height from base to the tip of the head and finally, 19m/ 62 ft wide at its rear haunches.
How did it originally Look?
Right next to the causeway leading from Khafre’s valley temple to the mortuary temple sits the first truly colossal sculpture in Egyptian history: the Great Sphinx. This close association indicates that this massive depiction of a recumbent lion with the head of a king was carved for Khafre.
It is really amazing that so much of it is left for us to see. The original Sphinx would have looked a lot different. It had a long braided beard and a nose. It also was painted in bright colors. Archeologists think that the face and body were painted red, the beard was blue, and much of the headdress was yellow. That would have been an amazing site!
What happened to its Nose?
No one is entirely sure exactly how the nose got knocked off. There are stories that Napoleon’s men accidentally knocked off the nose, but that theory has proven untrue as pictures have been found without the nose prior to Napoleon’s arrival. Other stories have the nose getting shot off in target practice by Turkish soldiers. Many people now believe that the nose was chiseled off by someone who considered the Sphinx evil, But the broken Sphinx’s nose remains a mystery.
How to See the Sphinx?
There are two sites to see the Sphinx, but most tourists have to go to the side via a strange structure. They will check your tickets to ensure that you have paid entry fees to the pyramid complex. From this angle, you will see the side of the Sphinx, but not in front of you.
The Sphinx is carved from the bedrock of the Giza plateau, and it appears that the core blocks used to construct the king’s valley temple were quarried from the layers of stone that run along the upper sides of this massive image.