The Great Sphinx is located on Giza Plateau, situated on the west bank of the Nile River, near the Egyptian capital city of Cairo. It is near three of the largest ancient pyramids, including the Great Pyramid, which is the size of a mountain.
The Great Sphinx stands taller than a six-story building (about 65 feet) and is longer than an average city block (about 240 feet).
Most archaeologists agree that the Great Sphinx was carved between 2600 and 2400 BCE. Because it was carved out of stone, the monument cannot be carbon dated.
The Great Sphinx was carved out of limestone rock taken from the same quarry that supplied the great pyramids. It has the head of a man and the body of a lion and is typically interpreted as male. The statue has been gradually weathered away over time by wind and sand, and at one time had a beard that has since fallen away.
The Great Sphinx is typically thought of as a guardian, built to protect the temples of pharaohs in the nearby pyramids. For a long time, people believed that the Great Sphinx and the pyramids were constructed by slaves, but experts now agree that they were built by skilled artists and craftsmen.
One legend of the Great Sphinx states that there are secret underground passages housed underneath the monument. The Egyptian Antiquities Organization actually discovered three tunnels beneath the statue during an excavation: one in the tail, one under the head and one on the north side.