Undoubtedly, the Great Sphinx of Giza is, along with the pyramids, the most recognized symbol of Ancient Egypt. And it is no coincidence that it is all in the same place, in the city of Giza, 18 km from Cairo.

The Great Sphinx of Giza is an imposing and iconic sculpture with a human head and a lion’s body, which for the ancient Egyptians represented the union of intelligence and strength. A figure recognizable to anyone anywhere in the world. An extraordinary emblem of one of the most fascinating ancient cultures in history with a height of 20 meters and a length of more than 70 meters.

It has achieved worldwide fame not only because of its grandeur and beauty but also because it represents a mystery that has never been solved. Archaeologists still disagree on the function it served at the time of its construction, the date or period in which it was sculpted, and its provenance.

Most agree that it could have been created around 2,500 BC and as part of the works for the funerary complex of the pharaoh Chephren, with the aim of being the guardian to protect his tomb. This conclusion was reached after studying the rest of the sphinxes found in archaeological ruins of ancient Egypt: all have human heads (some with royal headdress) and lion bodies, and are in the entrances of tombs and temples. And since life in the afterlife was as or more important than life on earth, the pharaohs had to be duly protected by something that would unify strength and intelligence: a mythological being with a human head and a lion’s body.

But there are other theories that hold that the Great Sphinx of Giza predates the pyramids themselves and date its construction to the year 7000 BC. This version is based on the comparative erosion of the pyramids in relation to the Great Sphinx, much more accentuated in the second case. But there is no scientific agreement on this hypothesis either.

Anyway, this is not a problem but on the contrary: it will add a lot of extra spice to your visit so that you can also try to decipher the mysteries hidden in the Great Sphinx of Giza.

Curious facts about the Great Sphinx of Giza

  • Why doesn’t it have a nose? This is another of the mysteries that have never been solved. The rock from which the sphinx was built varies according to its parts. The solid body is made of soft yellowish limestone and the head of a hard gray limestone. Thus, logic indicates that the nose should have been better preserved, as is the case with the rest of the sphinx’s head in relation to its body. But as of today it has disappeared. Some theories blame Napoleon for its destruction, but it is a hypothesis that was dismantled after the discovery of some drawings made by an explorer who visited it long before the birth of the famous French emperor and in which the sphinx already appeared without its nose. Other versions speak of a Muslim leader of the 15th century named Muhammad Sa’im al-Dahr who, offended by the sight of so many people worshipping the sphinx, ordered its nose to be smashed. But the mystery remains unsolved.
  • It was full of colors. Today the sphinx retains almost none of the vivid colors it once wore and to appreciate any remaining color you have to get very close (or as close as is allowed inside the enclosure). Its loss of colors is due to the erosion of the desert. It is believed that the body and head were red, and the headdress with Egyptian garment that covered his head of white and blue stripes.
  • Why is the head better preserved than its body? Because the stone from which the head was made is much harder and more resistant than the one used for the whole body. The deterioration could have been worse were it not for the sand in which the sphinx was buried for centuries that helped protect it from erosion.
  • It is also missing some of the props. Some scholars believe that not only the nose was removed but also a pharaonic ceremonial beard, but it is also estimated that it was a complement added in later periods to its original construction.
  • It has a tail, even if you can’t see it. Of course, if we see it from the front, we do not notice it, but if we stop to observe it from one of its sides or from behind, we will see that the Great Sphinx of Giza has a large lion’s tail.
  • Why is it facing east? Because that is where the sun rises on the morning of the vernal equinox, a key moment in the calendar for the ancient Egyptians.

How to get to the Great Sphinx of Giza

The Great Sphinx of Giza is located on the same plateau as the pyramids, 18 km from the site. Cairo. All tours, vans, buses and minibuses, cabs or private cars depart from the Egyptian capital. It is best to hire a tour that will pick you up at the hotel, including a guided tour around the pyramids (once there you can hire the extras you want) and, at the end, leave you back at your hotel.


The entrance to the Giza site is from 7:00 to 19:30.

Visit prices

Entrance to the enclosure: 160 EGP the normal adult ticket, 80 EGP for accredited students. It is the same ticket of the enclosure of the Pyramids of Giza, no need to buy another one.

Photos of the Sphinx of Giza

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