There are few images that are more iconic than the Great Sphinx on the Giza Plateau just outside of Cairo, Egypt. It is obviously one of the most popular tourist locations when visiting Cairo and you should certainly expect there to be crowds when you go to see the sphinx. A sphinx is a mythical creature with a lion’s body and head of a pharaoh. It is believed to have been sculpted out of limestone in the time of pharaoh Khafre between 2558 and 2532 BC, which makes it the oldest sculpture used as a monument in Egypt. It is sometimes hard to gauge the size of the sphinx in pictures, but it stands 66 feet high (20 meters), 240 feet long (73 meters), and is 62 feet wide (19 meters).
The Great Sphinx was carved directly into the bedrock that also served as the quarry from which the pyramids were built. The stone from which the body was carved was softer than that of the head, which has caused the body to deteriorate more quickly than the head. The body has been repaired over time and you will likely see work being done to continue to repair during your visit. There are a number of shafts underneath the enormous statue, but they are believed to be the result of treasure hunters and tomb robbers and nothing to do with the ancient Egyptians who created the Great Sphinx.
Seeing the statue from the front with the pyramids in the background is certainly the most common image that people associate with the sphinx. With that said, seeing the Great Sphinx from other angles is certainly quite fascinating and does help with getting a perspective of how large it truly is. In addition to the crowds, there are also a long line of stalls with vendors selling items for tourists and you shouldn’t be surprised if you don’t have children and others coming up to you either begging or trying to sell you items as well. There is no doubt that seeing the Great Sphinx in person is something that you will never forget.