Facts About the Great Sphinx of Giza
The Great Sphinx of Giza is a statue of a human head on a lion's body. The sphinx is located in the Chephren Valley Temple near Cairo, Egypt, and it serves as a symbol of ancient and modern Egyptian culture.
The Great Sphinx is about 240 feet in length and 446 feet in height. The statue is missing a nose and beard. Parts of the beard are believed to be preserved at the British Museum of London. The sphinx's is formed from limestone.
The head of the sphinx is disproportionate to the body and is believed to be a replacement. On the head of the sphinx is a nemes headdress as well as uraeus, which are royal emblems. The sphinx has been associated with royalty and the sun.
The Great Sphinx of Giza and other Egyptian sphinxes are different from those found elsewhere because they feature the head of a king on the body of a lion. In the Greek language, sphinx is translated as being a woman with a lion's body and a bird's wings. There are also sphinxes that are different from the Great Sphinx of Giza because they have a human head on a ram's body.
Between the paws of the sphinx is a story known as the "Dream Stella." The story is about how a sphinx once talked to 18th Dynasty pharaoh Thutmosis IV, who was covered in sand. It told him that he would be king if he uncovered the sphinx.
The back paws of the sphinx are different from other parts of the body because they feature carved bricks, which were used during restoration efforts. Although the statue is currently being restored, it continues to crumble because of wind and humidity.
Laura Latzko is a freelance writer based in Phoenix, Ariz. She has reported for the
"Columbia Missourian," "Columbia Daily Tribune," "Downtown Express" and "Washington Times." She holds a Master of Arts in journalism from the University of Missouri.
Sphinx image by Pete Blackman from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>