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According to Egyptian legend, the Sphinx appeared to a young prince in a dream. It promised to make him king if he cleared away the sand covering its body. The young prince uncovered the Sphinx and restored it to its former glory – he was rewarded by becoming Thutmosis IV.

One only has to glance at the Sphinx to understand how one can become entranced by it. There is a certain serenity and eternity about the great lion that somehow make the world seem insignificant.

The Sphinx shares the desert with the three Pyramids at Giza and their surrounding temples. No wonder then that the controversy surrounding the pyramids has also extended to include this timeless statue.

The official history of the Sphinx states that Chepren, the pharaoh who also built the second pyramid at Giza, constructed the lion to represent himself. Modern day scholars such a Graham Hancock and Robert Beauval challenged these old ideas, assigning a greater and more mysterious power to the Sphinx, linking it to the movement of the heavens.

It is really worthwhile to visit your local library or search the Internet for more information on the Sphinx. There is a myriad of theories and suppositions that will entrance you almost as much as the Sphinx itself.
As the Pyramids and the Sphinx are geographically and spiritually linked, spending a couple of days in Cairo will give you ample opportunity to experience these majestic monuments at your leisure. While you are there, take the opportunity to explore the other pleasures of Cairo. There are many other ancient monuments in the city and surrounds that are well worth visiting. Also, the shopping in Cairo’s bazaars is an intoxicating experience not to be missed.

Another place to put on your “must see” list is the Egyptian Museum. It is literally crammed full of ancient Egyptian relics and gigantic statues (and of course, mummies) and can easily keep you entranced for an entire day.

By far the easiest and most cost-effective way to experience the wonders of Egypt for the first time is to book a package tour through a reliable travel agent. These packages generally include a couple of days in Cairo plus sightseeing and a Nile cruise. Although it is a very tourist-friendly nation, it is difficult to find your way alone as an outsider. Do the tourist thing the first time and return (which you will want to do) to re-visit your favourite places.