Editors' Picks

The Sphinx

Giza Governorate, Egypt

Situated adjacent to the Pyramids, the Great Sphinx is not only the most recognized Egyptian monument, but one of the best known monuments in the world. The massive lion body with the head of a pharaoh most likely dates back to the reign of King Khafre (2558-2532 BC), though some argue that it was created earlier by his brother (and others argue even earlier). The Sphinx was the largest sculpture on earth for much of its existence, measuring 240 feet long and 66 feet high. The grand creature has mesmerized kings, generals, artists and poets for centuries; but to this day it is surrounded by mystery with no one definitively knowing how, why or by whom it was built. Many legends surround it, the most famous of which is carved on the Dream Stele in pink granite in front of the Sphinx. It tells the story of how Thutmose IV had a dream one night when he slept in front of the Sphinx, during which the creature told him that he felt buried by the sands and if the prince would clear the sands and restore the statue, he would be the next pharaoh, which he did after doing as the Sphinx had asked.

Indagare Tip: Concerts have been performed in front of the Sphinx by many greats from Pavarotti to Sting, and if there is one occurring, it is worth buying tickets. Otherwise, consider the regular Sound and Light Show. Make sure to buy tickets in advance and to check the language of the slated hour. A few English shows are held daily, along with French, Italian, German and other languages. Contact Indagare to arrange a tour.

Written by Melissa Biggs Bradley

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