It is the largest and most famous Sphinx, situated at the Giza Plateau adjacent to the Great Pyramids of Giza on the west bank of the Nile River, it has puzzled Egyptologists and researchers for centuries.
Here we bring you some facts about this mysterious construction in Egypt:
- The Sphinx was carved from the bedrock of the Giza plateau, a single ridge of limestone that is 73 meters long and 20 meters high.
- The Sphinx is considered to be one of the largest single-stone statues in the world.
- Researchers believe that blocks of stone weighing approximately 200 tons were quarried in the construction phase to build the adjoining Sphinx Temple.
- It was only in 1905 when the sand was cleared away to expose the full body of the Sphinx, before that, the Sphinx was covered in sand.
- It is believed that the Sphinx was constructed in the 4th Dynasty by Pharaoh Khafre, but archaeological and geological research suggests that the Sphinx is far older than the 4th Dynasty.
- It is one of the few constructions of ancient Egypt that have no inscriptions on its surface, until today not a single symbol has been found on the Sphinx.
- The Great Sphinx has become an emblem of Egypt, frequently appearing on its stamps, coins, and official documents.
- In Greek mythology, a Sphinx is represented as a monster with a head of a woman, the body of a lioness, the wings of an eagle, and a serpent-headed tail.
- The Sphinx became a symbol of kingship in the New Kingdom, and several pharaohs of built temples in the area surrounding the Sphinx. Pharaoh Amenhotep II built a mud-brick temple to the north-east of the Sphinx while Rameses II who is considered one of the ancient kingdom’s most prolific builders, constructed an altar of granite between its paws.
- The missing nose; It was first believe that the Sphinx lost its nose to Napoleons men, but 18th century drawings reveal that the nose of the Sphinx was missing before Napoleon’s arrival, it is believed that the nose of the Sphinx was shot off by the Turks.
- Geologists and scholars agree that in the distant past Egypt was subjected to severe flooding, thus water erosion is present on the construction of the Sphinx. Wind erosion cannot take place when the body of the Sphinx is covered by sand.
- No texts, writings, inscriptions or symbols of any kind have been discovered indicating as to who built the Great Sphinx of Egypt. Several archaeologists and Egyptologists theorize about its construction but no evidence has been brought forward so true origin and purpose of the Sphinx remains a mystery.
- The Sphinx is oriented due east facing the rising sun near the 30th parallel.
- The Sphinx has a tail which wraps around the right hind paw.
- The Great Sphinx originally had a beard, several pieces of the beard of the Sphinx are located in the British Museum in London and the Cairo Museum.
- There are three passages into or under the Sphinx, the “Tomb of Osiris” is one of the most incredible discoveries linked to the Sphinx, located 95 feet below the surface behind the back of the Sphinx. It is believed to be the resting place of Egyptian God Osiris.
- It is considered an astronomical monument, geological findings indicate that the Sphinx may have been sculpted sometime before 10,000 BC, a period that coincides with the Age of Leo, or the Lion, which lasted from 10,970 to 8810 BC.
- According to Graham Hancock, computer simulations show that in 10,500 BC the constellation of Leo housed the sun on the spring equinox – i.e. an hour before dawn in that epoch Leo would have reclined due east along the horizon in the place where the sun would soon rise. This means that the lion-bodied Sphinx, with its due-east orientation, would have gazed directly on that morning at the one constellation in the sky that might reasonably be regarded as its own celestial counterpart.
- According to some texts, ancient Egyptians referred to the Sphinx as balhib and bilhaw.
- Circa1500 B.C.E. it was referred to as Hor-em-akht – Horus in the Horizon, Bw-How Place of Horus and also as Ra-horakhty Ra of Two Horizons.