sphinx-pyramid-egyptEgypt will soon re-open to tourists the courtyard in front of the Sphinx, the colossal monument which has been under restoration for nearly four years.

Carved from a single ridge of stone, the Sphinx is one of the most visited monuments in the world, and has been regularly restored following from air pollution and underground water damage. The restoration includes replacing some slabs on the left side of the statue “where there were cracks”, and refurbishing the chest and neck of the monument with a new coating to prevent further erosion

The limestone half-man half-lion sits in a quarry below the level of the plateau where the pyramids of Giza stand on the outskirts of Cairo.

The Sphinx was built in the 4th dynasty by the pharaoh Khafre, known as Chephren by the Greeks. Archaeologists are still puzzled over its exact purpose, with most believing it was constructed for religious and astronomical reasons.

In addition to the Sphinx, a small temple built next to the Sphinx by pharaoh Amenhotep II of the 18th dynasty will also be opened to the public for the first time.