About 350 meatres from Cheops's pyramids stands the Great Sphinx kmow in Arabic as Abu El-Hol which means "father of terror".
Seventy three metres long, this colossal statue represents a lion with a human head which some belive to be a likeness of Chephren standing guard over his tomb. Originally the Sphinx was called Hor-em-Akhet, which means "Horus who is on the horizon", from which the Greeks derived the name Harmakis. Many times during the course of the centuries the body of the sphinx has been completely covered by the sand leaving only its enigmatic features (5 metres hight) uncovered.
Many times too men dug it out of the sand. The most renowned restoration was that of Tutmose IV who was ordered in a deram by Harmakis to uncover the Sphinx.
The defacement of this mythical man animal which is evident today is due in part to erosion by the wind and in part to the cannon of the Mameluks who used it for target practice.