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Great Sphinx of Giza

Carved from a single block of limestone, this iconic symbol of Egypt has braved harsh weather and vandalism.

Great Sphinx of Giza, image
Photo caption
The exact age of Egypt's Great Sphinx is unknown, but prevailing theory suggests it's more than 4,000 years old.

Who built the Sphinx, and when, is unknown. Prevailing theory holds that this sculpture, carved from a single block of limestone, is more than 4,000 years old. Its features have crumbled before wind-whipped desert sands and the hands of vandals (evidence suggests that its nose was pried off; historians finger the culprit as a religious fanatic in the 1300s upset that people were praying to the monument). For centuries, the Sphinx’s body lay buried under drifts, only its head exposed. Its excavation in 1905 wrote the latest chapter in one of history’s oldest tales. Here in the sands it seems as if the Sphinx will live forever.

AAA can arrange your vacation on the sand—be it desert or beach.

Photography courtesy of Barcex/Wikipedia

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This article was first published in September 2011. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information<