The great Sphinx sits in the desert of Egypt, about 12 km from Cairo, guarding the three large pyramids of Giza. It was once a hill rock left over from the building of Great Pyramid. Later it was carved into huge lion with the head of a man. The statue has mysterious eyes and enigmatic expression. It gazes over the desert with a kind of Mystical superiority.
The Great Sphinx is about 20 m in height and 70 m in length. According to the popular belief it was made some 5000 years ago. It was probably carved to resemble the face of Chephren, a king of the fourth Egyptian dynasty.
The main question that arises in mind is why this Sphinx was built?
In fact, sphinx was a monster, common in the myths of ancient peoples. The Greek thought of it as having the head of woman and body of a lion with wings. The Egyptians thought of it as a wingless lion with the head of woman and breast of man. It is believed that sphinx was to wards off all evils from the cemetery around the pyramids.
Apart from the great Sphinx of Giza, there are many other sphinxes in Egypt. Their heads represent different Kings. In ancient Egypt the kings were considered to be descended from the Sun God, called Ra. When a king died, he himself was supposed to become the Sun God. Kings were believed to have strength of various beasts. So the Egyptians sculptured their Gods and kings in the shape of half human and half beast.
There is another Sphinx with woman’s face. It was made after the Queen Hatshepsut, who had seized the throne and ruled the country.
This Sphinx had a beard, which represents Queen Hatsphepsut’s masculine powers.