Emblematic of Egyptian civilization, the Great Sphinx statue was already considered ancient by most Egyptians during their 3,000-year history. It is widely believed that the Pharaoh Khafre (or Chephren) had the image constructed to guard his temple. Dating back to the Old Kingdom, the statue was likely built around 2500 BCE.
Situated northeast of Khafre’s valley temple, amid the many pyramids of the Giza plateau, it sits in an ancient quarry. The Great Sphinx statue faces due east and is thought to be emblematic of the sun god and thus, the pharaoh himself.
Likely carved as a warning to potential grave robbers, the Great Sphinx statue depicts a half-lion and half-human with the wings of an eagle. It is not known whether the statue was planned or was an afterthought after construction of the larger temple. A small temple between the paws was added 1,000 years later during the New Kingdom during the time of Thutmose IV. There is a myth about the prince Thutmose and the Sphinx.