Weather :

Time Required : During Winters

Planning a Trip? Ask Your Question

Sphinx, Cairo Overview

With the body of a lion and the face of a human, the Sphinx of Giza plateau stands at a height of around 20 meters on the west bank of river Nile. The Sphinx has been recognized as a mythical creature in Greek mythology as well, where the Sphinx was a merciless killer who set riddles and killed anyone who was not able to answer them. Cut out from its limestone bedrock, the Sphinx is also recognized as the oldest known monumental sculpture in Egypt. It is the same bedrock which served as the quarry for the Pyramids of Giza. On your visit to the Sphinx, one may observe that the nummulitic limestone of the region comprises different layers offering different levels of resistance to erosion. Historians credit this characteristic of the limestone for the uneven degradation of the structure over time. It is quite fascinating to witness the manner in which the Sphinx has been carved out of the bedrock, especially when there was no such technology present to do so. With the Pyramids of Giza in the background, your visit to the Sphinx is going to get you some of the most memorable pictures of your trip to Cairo. And who would not want the sunset of Sahara to peek into the pictures!

History of the Sphinx of Giza

Due to the varying degradation of the limestone out of which the Sphinx has been carved out, archaeologists have not been able to identify the actual time period in which the Sphinx was constructed. Further, there was a time when the Giza necropolis got abandoned by humans. As a result of this, the Sphinx got buried in sand up to its shoulders until 1400 B.C., when Thutmose IV began the first ever excavation of the Sphinx.

The Great Sphinx of Giza
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Great_Sphinx_of_Giza_May_2015.JPG


Thutmose IV, with the team he had, was able to dig out the front paws of the Sphinx. To mark his efforts, and to dedicate his act of excavation to the Egyptian Sun God Ra, Thutmose IV erected a granite slab known as the Dream Stele between the paws of the Sphinx. Another round of excavation was performed by Ramesses II The Great.
But it was not until 1817 A.D. when the proper archaeological digging of the Sphinx was performed to unleash the body parts of the monument from within the sands of Sahara. The entire structure of the Sphinx was excavated in between 1925 – 1936 A.D. under the supervision of Émile Baraize.

Partially Excavated Sphinx
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Sphinx_partially_excavated2.jpg


Till date, no records have been found which mentions the role of the Sphinx in ancient Egyptian civilization. Historians have not been able to find the name by which the Egyptians referred to the monumental structure. Due to the similarities of a mythical creature from Greek mythology, the name Sphinx has been assigned to the Egyptian monument as well. The role of the Sphinx for the Egyptians has also been compared with that of Khafre’s reign by many historians, and hence, it is believed that this iconic figure represents Khafre’s own personality features.
Upon complete digging of the monument, several repairs to the structure were made by the Egyptian government. Some people credit the broken nose of the Sphinx to Napoleon Bonaparte’s soldiers since there are marks of rods being hammered around the area of the nose. Further, the beard of the structure had also fallen down due to erosion, which was later gathered by British adventurists and taken to the British Museum.
Present day, the Sphinx undergoes multiple restorations each year. The major reason behind this is the rise in the water level of the Nile, which is giving rise to internal cracks in the Sphinx. As a result, the Sphinx is kept closed for the public visit during the restoration sessions. So before planning your trip to Cairo, it is advised that you keep a check on whether the restorations are being performed or not.

Architecture of the Sphinx of Giza

Possessing a distinct figure of a lion’s body and a human head, the Sphinx of Giza stands guarding the three Pyramids of Giza at a height of 20 meters on the soil of Sahara. Many people relate the construction of Sphinx was done by Khafre, but till date, no such evident proof has been discovered which justifies this statement.
However, due to the Dream Stele, a granite slab erected at the foot of the Sphinx having hieroglyphs mentioning about Khafra, historians assume that the Sphinx is a representation of the personality of Pharaoh Khafre himself. The existence of Valley Temple and Mortuary Temple of Khafre close to the Sphinx further solidify this assumption. There have even been several theories explaining the construction of Sphinx. But nobody has been able to give or find an exact background behind the construction of the Sphinx, which happens to be one of the architectural marvels of the world at a time when technology was too far from being discovered by the humans.

Sightseeing at the Sphinx

People paying a visit to the Sphinx may also spare time and visit the three Pyramids of Giza as well as the Eastern Cemetery and the Valley Temples of Khafre and Khufu.

Activities to do at the Sphinx

By going from the entrance towards the Pyramids, one may book themselves a camel ride across the premises of the three Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx. The double-humped Arabian camels are sure to give you a bouncy ride across the sands of Sahara desert.

Shopping at the Sphinx

People visiting the Sphinx can buy different types of souvenirs from the local vendors present outside the Sphinx.

How to Reach the Great Sphinx

The only way to reach the Sphinx is via road transportation. Since the Sphinx is situated on the outskirts of Giza city, it is advised to reach there either through your personal vehicle or through a taxi/ cab.

Tips to Remember

  • Carry plenty of water due to high temperatures during daytime;
  • Wear Sports Shoes;
  • Wear light and comfortable clothing;
  • In case you are a Student, carry your Student ID to avail discount on Entrance Fee.

Facts about the Sphinx

The Sphinx was considered as a merciless killer who set riddles for people and killed them if they were not able to answer those riddles.

Read More on Sphinx

Tips to Remember

  • Carry plenty of water due to high temperatures during daytime;
  • Wear Sports Shoes;
  • Wear light and comfortable clothing;
  • In case you are a Student, carry your Student ID to avail discount on Entrance Fee.

Activities to do at the Sphinx

By going from the entrance towards the Pyramids, one may book themselves a camel ride across the premises of the three Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx. The double-humped Arabian camels are sure to give you a bouncy ride across the sands of Sahara desert.

History of the Sphinx of Giza

Due to the varying degradation of the limestone out of which the Sphinx has been carved out, archaeologists have not been able to identify the actual time period in which the Sphinx was constructed. Further, there was a time when the Giza necropolis got abandoned by humans. As a result of this, the Sphinx got buried in sand up to its shoulders until 1400 B.C., when Thutmose IV began the first ever excavation of the Sphinx.

The Great Sphinx of Giza
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Great_Sphinx_of_Giza_May_2015.JPG


Thutmose IV, with the team he had, was able to dig out the front paws of the Sphinx. To mark his efforts, and to dedicate his act of excavation to the Egyptian Sun God Ra, Thutmose IV erected a granite slab known as the Dream Stele between the paws of the Sphinx. Another round of excavation was performed by Ramesses II The Great.
But it was not until 1817 A.D. when the proper archaeological digging of the Sphinx was performed to unleash the body parts of the monument from within the sands of Sahara. The entire structure of the Sphinx was excavated in between 1925 – 1936 A.D. under the supervision of Émile Baraize.

Partially Excavated Sphinx
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Sphinx_partially_excavated2.jpg


Till date, no records have been found which mentions the role of the Sphinx in ancient Egyptian civilization. Historians have not been able to find the name by which the Egyptians referred to the monumental structure. Due to the similarities of a mythical creature from Greek mythology, the name Sphinx has been assigned to the Egyptian monument as well. The role of the Sphinx for the Egyptians has also been compared with that of Khafre’s reign by many historians, and hence, it is believed that this iconic figure represents Khafre’s own personality features.
Upon complete digging of the monument, several repairs to the structure were made by the Egyptian government. Some people credit the broken nose of the Sphinx to Napoleon Bonaparte’s soldiers since there are marks of rods being hammered around the area of the nose. Further, the beard of the structure had also fallen down due to erosion, which was later gathered by British adventurists and taken to the British Museum.
Present day, the Sphinx undergoes multiple restorations each year. The major reason behind this is the rise in the water level of the Nile, which is giving rise to internal cracks in the Sphinx. As a result, the Sphinx is kept closed for the public visit during the restoration sessions. So before planning your trip to Cairo, it is advised that you keep a check on whether the restorations are being performed or not.

Sightseeing at the Sphinx

People paying a visit to the Sphinx may also spare time and visit the three Pyramids of Giza as well as the Eastern Cemetery and the Valley Temples of Khafre and Khufu.

Shopping at the Sphinx

People visiting the Sphinx can buy different types of souvenirs from the local vendors present outside the Sphinx.

Architecture of the Sphinx of Giza

Possessing a distinct figure of a lion’s body and a human head, the Sphinx of Giza stands guarding the three Pyramids of Giza at a height of 20 meters on the soil of Sahara. Many people relate the construction of Sphinx was done by Khafre, but till date, no such evident proof has been discovered which justifies this statement.
However, due to the Dream Stele, a granite slab erected at the foot of the Sphinx having hieroglyphs mentioning about Khafra, historians assume that the Sphinx is a representation of the personality of Pharaoh Khafre himself. The existence of Valley Temple and Mortuary Temple of Khafre close to the Sphinx further solidify this assumption. There have even been several theories explaining the construction of Sphinx. But nobody has been able to give or find an exact background behind the construction of the Sphinx, which happens to be one of the architectural marvels of the world at a time when technology was too far from being discovered by the humans.

How to Reach the Great Sphinx

The only way to reach the Sphinx is via road transportation. Since the Sphinx is situated on the outskirts of Giza city, it is advised to reach there either through your personal vehicle or through a taxi/ cab.

Facts about the Sphinx

The Sphinx was considered as a merciless killer who set riddles for people and killed them if they were not able to answer those riddles.

Cairo Packages

Compare quotes from upto 3 travel agents for free

View All Packages For Cairo

Sphinx Reviews

Your rating

Have a Question on Sphinx?