Al in Giza, Egyptby al tompkins
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The most popular and current theory of the builder of the Sphinx holds that it was commissioned by the 4th Dynasty King, Khafre (2558-2532 BCE). Khafre was one of the sons of Khufu (AKA Cheops). The Sphinx lines up with the Pyramid of Khafre at the foot of its causeway. As one rounds the northeast corner to the front of the Sphinx, the alignment of the two structures becomes more apparent.
Why is the head so small compared to the body of the Sphinx? Because of the changing desert terrain, the body of the Sphinx has been buried several times over the past several thousand years. Most recently in 1905, the sand has been cleared away to expose the magnitude and beauty of the entirety of the Sphinx. The paws themselves are 50 feet long (15m) while the entire length is 150 feet (45m). The head is 30 (10m) feet long and 14 feet (4m) wide. Because certain layers of the stone are softer than others, there is a high degree of erosion that has claimed the original detail of the carved figure.
The Great Pyramid comprises 2.3 million stone blocks, weighing an average of 2.5 to 15 tons each. The Great Pyramid was the centerpiece of an elaborate complex, which included several small pyramids, five boat pits, a mortuary temple, a causeway, a valley temple, and many flat-roofed tombs for officials and some members of the royal family. www.nationalgeographic.com Explore the pyramids of ancient Egypt through diagrams, photos, and facts; plus get related links, kids content, news stories, and more.
Learn more about Giza, Egypt from PBS's NOVA. www.pbs.org
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