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Sphinx (The), Giza

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Of all Egypt's monuments, none is as majestic and haunting as the Great Sphinx. It was named as such by the Greeks, because of its physical similarity to a mythical creature with a lion's body and woman's head who devoured passers-by unable to answer her riddle. Arabs know it as Abu el-Hol (Father of Terror). Carved out of a limestone outcropping in front of the Giza Pyramids, the Sphinx is 50 x 20 meters (165 x 65 feet) high. Conventional archeologists attribute its construction to the IV Dynasty pharaoh Khafre (who built one of the three pyramids behind it), but others suggest it may be much older. The nose and beard were later shot off by Mameluke troops who used the Sphinx for target practice. Visitors cannot climb on the monument, but there is a viewing platform accessible through the granite mortuary temple to one side.