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The Great Sphinx is one of the most unique and fascinating monuments on the Giza Plateau and anywhere in the world. It is a part of the Khafre Pyramid complex at Giza, which leads many archaeologists to believe that it was constructed during the reign of Khafre as a part of his Pyramid and associated temples. The Great Sphinx was partially carved out of an existing limestone outcropping at Giza and thereafter built outward with stone masonry to complete the figure of a lion with a head of a human.

Some archaeologists speculate that the human head of the Great Sphinx is carved in the likeness of the Pharaoh Khafre. There is a temple in front of the paws of the Sphinx which is referred to as the Sphinx Temple. This temple is directly next to Khafre’s Valley Temple, and the monumental causeway from the Valley Temple to Khafre’s Pyramid goes alongside the south edge of the Great Sphinx.

In the Old Kingdom, the Sphinx was likely painted white, but in the New Kingdom, the Pharaoh Thutmose IV dug the Sphinx out of the sand and painted it red. He also had a statue placed beneath the beard of the Sphinx and stela placed between the paws. This is called the Dream Stela. The Great Sphinx is approximately 73 meters or 240 feet long and 20 meters or 66 feet high.

The Great Sphinx is one of the most iconic figures of Ancient Egypt and appears many places in popular culture today. In ancient times, it also likely had special religious significance because there are many small shrines around the base of the Sphinx.

Thutmose IV
François Auguste Ferdinand Mariette, French, 1821–1881; Giovanni Battista Caviglia, Italian, 1770–1845; Selim Hassan (Bey), Egyptian, 1886–1961; Émile Baraize, French, 1874–1952.
Great Sphinx

Excavated in 1936-1937 by Hassan.