The Great Sphinx of Giza belongs to the Giza necropolis west of Cairo.

 The site is a plateau containing the 3 great pyramids of Khufu, Khafra and Menkaura, together with the Sphinx and some smaller temples, pyramids and tombs.

The Giza structures were built by Pharaoh's of the 4th Dynasty when the Old kingdom was at the height of it's power. (2575-2150 BC)

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The statue of the Sphinx is 240 feet long and is in the form of a recumbent lion with a human head, which is crowned with the Nemes, the headdress of the Pharaohs.

 The head may have been carved from a natural outcrop of hard limestone rock on top of the plateau.  The body was excavated from below the surface of the plateau and consists of weaker limestone. A harder layer emerges along the base, rising a few meters toward the rear and descending toward the front. The three rock beds follow a natural dip from northeast to southwest with another transverse dip from northwest to southeast.

 

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The main body of the Sphinx sits along an East-West axis facing East. Large and small blocks of harder limestone, applied at different times in the past, form a protective  facing to the lower parts of the monument. Around the Sphinx is an open enclosure which narrows slightly at the rear.

 There is an unfinished shelf along the western back wall which is slightly elevated from the rest of the enclosure floor. 

 

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The Sphinx Temple lies directly east of the statue. Adjacent and south of the Sphinx Temple lies the Khafra Valley Temple. This is linked to a causeway that goes west to the Khafra Mortuary Temple just east of the second or Khafra Pyramid. The causeway runs above and along the south wall of the Sphinx enclosure. Originally, all three of the big pyramids at Giza (Khufu, Khafra, and Menkaura) had causeways, valley temples, and mortuary temples. These structures were originally faced with smoother and harder limestone or granite that was partly or entirely stripped in ancient and medieval times, leaving limestone core blocks that have weathered over the millennia.

 


Please follow the Sphinx to continue the story.


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