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Great Sphinx of Giza (Abu al-Haul)

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The Great Sphinx (أبو الهول‎) of Giza, commonly referred to as the Sphinx, is a limestone statue of a reclining or couchant sphinx that stands on the Giza Plateau on the west bank of the Nile in Giza, Egypt.

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Overview

The Great Sphinx, statue of a reclining sphinx, a mythical creature with the body of a lion and the head of a human, is one of the world's largest and oldest statues. The basic facts about it are still subject to debate, such as when it was built, by whom and for what purpose. Cut from the bedrock, the original shape of the Sphinx has been restored with layers of blocks.

It measures 73 metres (240 ft) long from paw to tail, 20.21 meters (66.31 ft) high from the base to the top of the head and 19 metres (62 ft) wide at its rear haunches. It is the oldest known monumental sculpture in Egypt and is commonly believed to have been designed, sculpted, and constructed by ancient Egyptians of the Old Kingdom during the reign of the pharaoh Khafre (c. 2558–2532 BCE).

Dream Stela

circa 2500 BCE

The Dream Stele, is an epigraphic stele erected between the front paws of the Great Sphinx of Giza by the Ancient Egyptian Pharaoh Thutmose IV in the first year of the king's reign, 1401 BC, during the 18th dynasty. As was common with other New Kingdom rulers, the epigraph makes claim to a divine legitimisation to pharaohship. At least two temples are known to have been associated with the Sphinx, one form the Old Kingdom and one from the New Kingdom of Egypt.

circa 2500 BCE

At some unknown time the Giza Necropolis was abandoned, and the Sphinx was eventually buried up to its shoulders in sand. The first documented attempt at an excavation dates to c. 1400 BC, when the young Thutmose IV (1401–1391 or 1397–1388 BC) gathered a team and, after much effort, managed to dig out the front paws, between which he placed a granite slab, known as the Dream Stele.

Tunnels and Shafts

circa 2500 BCE

A number of shafts or tunnels are known to exist within or below the body of Great Sphinx at Giza. Zahi Hawass (pictured here) approaches a small square lid of a shaft, believed to have been dug by treasure hunters at some point in antiquity. At least three other shafts, one at the top of the Sphinx's head and two on it's flanks are known to exist.

Hall of Records

circa 2500 BCE

Hall of Records is an ancient library claimed by Edgar Cayce to lie under the Great Sphinx of Giza, which is in the Giza pyramid complex. The story of the Hall of Records is popular among those who hold alternative theories of Ancient Egypt. The phrase "Hall of Records" originated with Edgar Cayce, an American clairvoyant, although Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince say that the idea of the existence of lost Egyptian records "has a long pedigree". There is no evidence to indicate that the Hall of Records ever existed.

Sphinx Temples

circa 2500 BCE

Apart from the Causeway, the Pyramid and the Sphinx, the complex also includes the Great Sphinx Temple, from the Old Kingdom and Khafre's Valley Temple, both of which display similar design of their inner courts. The Sphinx Temple was built using blocks cut from the Sphinx enclosure, while those of the Valley Temple were quarried from the plateau, some of the largest weighing upwards of 100 tons. The complex also includes a Smaller Temple of Sphinx from the New Kingdom, built by Amenhotep II.

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