The sphinx, a mythological beast, is half man and half lion. Scholars believe that the Great Sphinx of Giza was inspired by the vision of Pharaoh Kafre nearly 4,600 years ago. Pharaoh Kafre's monument lies at the rear of the sphinx and it is his resemblance that adorns the head of the great sphinx. The sphinx is thought to be both a guardian of Kafre's tomb and an oracle wherein the secrets of the gods are kept.
Built by the forced labor of hundreds of Pharaoh Kafre's slaves, the sphinx was carved from one piece of limestone. The giant chips of limestone from the sphinx sculpture were used to build the pyramid and tombs that the sphinx eternally guards. It is one of the great mysteries of the ancient world as to exactly how the slaves of Pharaoh Kafre were physically able to move these mammoth pieces of rock.
The sphinx, which stands 66 feet high and 240 feet long, has been badly eroded over the years by the harsh desert winds. As a result, it has undergone numerous restorations over the years, including the first restoration in roughly 1400 B.C. by the pharaoh Tuthmosis IV, who believed it was his divine mission to restore the sphinx in exchange for his crown. Recently, modern technology has restored the facial features of the sphinx (which some say were blown off with dynamite by Napoleon's army during their occupation of Egypt) to their original glory.
- Butch Osborne/flickr.com, Marcelo Ruiz/flickr.com, Marcelo Ruiz/flickr.com, istockphoto