Sphinx and Great Pyramid in Egypt | Student Handouts
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Sphinx and Great Pyramid
www.studenthandouts.com > World History > Ancient Egypt > Ancient Egypt Maps and Pictures
Sphinx and Great Pyramid of Egypt
The Sphinx and the Great Pyramid of Cheops (Khufu), Egypt: Parts of the Sphinx's face were purportedly shot off during training exercises of Napoleon Bonaparte's Egyptian campaign forces. This photograph was taken circa 1920. Today, much more of the ancient Sphinx is exposed. Likewise, many more tombs have been found in Egypt's Valley of the Kings. Click here to enlarge this image.

Pyramids of Giza The Sphinx of ancient Egypt is one of the most iconic and enigmatic monuments in the world. It is a colossal statue with the body of a lion and the head of a pharaoh, and it is believed to represent the Pharaoh Khafre (also known as Chephren) of the Old Kingdom's Fourth Dynasty.

Location: The Great Sphinx is located on the Giza Plateau, just outside of modern Cairo, Egypt. It stands near the Pyramids of Giza, including the Great Pyramid, which is believed to be built by Pharaoh Khafre.

Physical Features: The Sphinx is a massive statue, measuring approximately 240 feet (73 meters) in length, about 66 feet (20 meters) in height, and its paws alone are roughly 50 feet (15 meters) long. The body of the Sphinx, resembling a crouching lion, is carved out of a single outcrop of limestone bedrock.

Head: The head of the Sphinx is thought to represent the likeness of Pharaoh Khafre. It is adorned with the traditional nemes headdress, a striped cloth worn by the pharaohs, and the royal cobra symbol of Lower Egypt. The facial features of the Sphinx are believed to be a stylized representation of the pharaoh's face.

Function: The purpose of the Great Sphinx is a subject of debate among archaeologists and historians. Some believe it served as a guardian of the Giza Plateau, watching over the pharaoh's burial site and the nearby pyramids. Others suggest it had a more symbolic or religious significance, perhaps representing the sun god Ra. It is also possible that the Sphinx had an astronomical function, aligned with celestial events.

Carved Details: The Sphinx originally had more detailed features and was painted with vivid colors. Its nose and beard are no longer intact, and it has suffered erosion and damage over the millennia.

Age: The exact age of the Sphinx is a matter of some controversy. Most scholars believe it was constructed during the reign of Pharaoh Khafre, around 2500 BCE, making it over 4,500 years old. However, some theories suggest it could be even older, dating back to an earlier pharaoh, possibly Djedefre, Khafre's brother.

Restoration and Preservation: Over the centuries, the Great Sphinx has undergone restoration and conservation efforts to combat erosion and damage from the elements. In modern times, there have been ongoing efforts to protect and preserve this ancient monument.

Tourism: The Sphinx is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Egypt and remains a symbol of ancient Egyptian civilization. Visitors from around the world come to marvel at its colossal size and mysterious countenance.

The Great Sphinx of Giza continues to be a source of fascination and wonder, both for its historical significance and the many unanswered questions surrounding its construction and purpose. It stands as a testament to the architectural and artistic achievements of ancient Egypt.
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