Surveying the sands of Giza, the great Sphinx has stood guard since about 2500 B.C. The greatest monumental sculpture in the ancient world, the Sphinx is carved out of a single ridge of stone 240 feet (73 meters) long and 66 feet (20 meters) high. It represent the body of a lion with the head of a king or a god.
The Great Sphinx is located in Egypt on the Giza plateau, situated about six miles west of Cairo. This area is part of the necropolis of ancient Memphis, the seat of power for the pharaohs.
Badly eroded, it has undergone numerous restorations over the millennia, beginning with one conducted about 1400 B.C. by the pharaoh Tuthmosis IV, who dreamt that the Sphinx asked him to clear the sand around it in return for the crown of Upper and Lower Egypt. The Sphinx has recently undergone a major modern restoration.