Egyption History & Travel - 2010

The Great Sphinx

Much more famous than his tomb pyramid is Chephren's other structure—the Great Sphinx of Giza. It is said that while his workmen were building a causeway to connect the pyramid with its surrounding temples including the mortuary temple and the valley temple they encountered an enormous monolith in the intended pathway. Rather than attempt to remove it, Chephren ordered his workman to carve the Sphinx. Traditionally sphinxes have the haunches of a lion, the wings of an enormous bird and the face of a woman. In many cultures (such as that of ancient Greece), Sphinxes were considered evil, but in Egyptian tradition, the creature was benevolent and most often wore the face of a male figure. This Pharaoh requested that his Sphinx wear his own face as well as the ceremonial pharaonic beard.

Of course, through the centuries both the Sphinx's nose and his beard have been lost. But modern Egyptologists have exonerated Napoleon and his men of this dastardly deed. Most believed that the Sphinx was defaced by Turks in the 1700s well before Napoleon hove on the scene. Chephren's Sphinx is the largest monolithic stature in the world at 241 ft in length, 20 ft. in width, and 66 feet in height The Menkaure Pyramid The third Pharaoh to build his pyramid at Giza was Chephren's son, Menkaure (remember, he was also Khufu's grandson). This is the smallest of the three major pyramids at Giza. It originally stood 218 ft but has eroded down to 204 ft in the present day. It has a base of 366 ft. The angle of include is about 51 degrees. This pyramid is somewhat different in that its lowest section was made of granite while the upper sections were of the typical limestone.


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