Great Sphinx of Giza | Description, History, & Facts

What is a Sphinx?

A mythical monster called a sphinx has a human head and a lion’s body. In ancient Egypt, the head frequently belonged to a divinity or a pharaoh.

Why were they built?

Sphinx statues were erected by the Egyptians to protect sacred sites like temples and tombs.

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The Great Sphinx of Giza

The Great Sphinx of Giza is the most well-known Sphinx. It is one of the world’s biggest and oldest statues. It was carved, according to archaeologists, somewhere about 2500 BC, and the Pharaoh Khafra’s head is supposed to be shown on it. The Great Sphinx stands watch above the Giza pyramid tombs and confronts the rising sun.

What size is it?

Huge is the Great Sphinx! It measures 66 feet in height, 20 feet broad, and 241 feet long. The ears on the face are over three feet tall, the eyes on the face are over six feet tall, and the nose was almost five feet long before it was broken off. At the Giza site, it is carved into the bedrock in a trench.

How did it originally look?

The Great Sphinx has suffered damage from weather and erosion over the last 4,500 years. The fact that there is still so much of it for us to see is just astounding. The Sphinx’s initial appearance would have been very different. It had a nose and a long, braided beard. Additionally, it was painted in vivid hues. According to archaeologists, the headgear was mostly yellow, the beard was blue, and the face and body were painted red. It would have been an incredible sight!

How did it lose its nose?

Nobody is completely sure how the nose was broken off. There are rumors that Napoleon’s troops unintentionally removed the nose, however images of people without noses taken before Napoleon arrived refute this claim. According to some accounts, Turkish soldiers shot off the nose while shooting targets. Many people today think that someone who thought the Sphinx was malevolent was the one who removed the nose.

Legend of the Sphinx

Following its construction, the Sphinx deteriorated over the course of the following 1000 years. Only the head was visible because the rest of the body was hidden by sand. According to legend, a young prince by the name of Thutmose dozed down next to the Sphinx’s head. In a dream, he was told that if he rebuilt the Sphinx, he would rule Egypt as Pharaoh. After restoring the Sphinx, Thutmose went on to rule Egypt as the Pharaoh.

Interesting Facts about Sphinx:

Greek mythology featured a famous Sphinx as well. It was a monster who tormented Thebes and killed everyone who was unable to figure out its conundrum.

The term “sphinx” was first used to refer to the creature by the Greeks.

Most likely, the Sphinx’s beard was installed during the New Kingdom.

The British Museum in London houses a piece of the bearded man’s facial hair.

The Sphinx is being preserved, yet it is nevertheless deteriorating.