Near the pyramids of Giza sits one of Egypt’s most famous monuments, the great sphinx. The statue is carved out of the natural bedrock and added limestone, this enormous statue of a recumbent lion with a human head is the largest surviving sculpture from the ancient world. It is also the earliest colossal sculpture the Egyptians erected, so old in fact that many of the Egyptian pharaohs themselves knew not where it came from and worshiped it as a god.Many archaeologists speculate that the sphinx was built by Pharaoh Khafre(c. 2575—2465BC) during the age the great pyramids where built but, some think it’s much older possibly as old a 3100 BC. This would mean that it was built before the unification of Upper and lower Egypt, and that the Great Pyramids were built around it. If this is the case this would make it among the most ancient monuments from antiquity that has survived into modern time even older than Stonehenge.
No one know for sure what the purpose of the sphinx was for. Archaeologists think it may have been built to symbolically guard over the Giza plateau, and it may have been a portait of Pharaoh Kafre. It’s face seems to bear a resemblance to Khafre’s, and the royal headdress that it wear is particular to pharaohs.
There are many stories of how the sphinx lost it’s nose; one is that it fell off when Napoleon’s archaeologists were investigating the stature; another is that the Mameluke army used the sphinx for target practice with there artillery. Both of these stories are false, scholars today think that the nose was removed in the 8th century AD by a Sufi who considered the sphinx a blasphemous idol, this is based on tool marks that remain showing that it was deliberately pried off with chisels. Also studies today on the erosion of the sphinx suggest that it erosion seen today was cause buy water and not that of wind and sand. Strange considering the sphinx is located in one of the most driest places on earth. What ever the case maybe the sphinx still stands today after the last past five millennia, watching over the pyramids, and hopefully for many more.