Great Sphinx picture
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Key Info

Nazlet El-Semman

Details

Monuments and Memorials, Sightseeing Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
4.3scorecard
  • 2.5Value
  • 4.5Facilities
  • 4.5Atmosphere

One of Cairo's must-see attractions is the Great Sphinx, the world's oldest monumental sculpture. Situated by the Pyramids of Giza, the Great Sphinx impresses with its size – it measures 66 feet high and 234 feet long – and unique appearance. The monument depicts a part pharaoh, part lion being, but archeologists are not sure who the figure is modeled after or when it was built. Two temples, one from the Old Kingdom and another from the New Kingdom, sit next to the sphinx.

Past travelers said the best way to see the Great Sphinx is to sign up for a bus tour. Some prearranged tours – including those offered by Memphis Tours and Love Egypt Tours – will give you special access to select areas of the site, plus admissions fees are included in tour rates. You'll also gain more insight about the monument than you would without a guide. If you'd rather have a quintessential Egyptian experience, pay extra to explore the area by camel.

The Great Sphinx sits on the Giza Plateau (about 12 miles southwest of downtown Cairo), where you'll find the Pyramids of Giza and several tombs. Other archeological sites like Saqqara and Memphis are located less than 15 miles away. The easiest way to get to the monument is by car, taxi or bus tour. There is no fee for parking in the lot by the Giza Plateau entrance, but a parking ticket, which costs 5 Egyptian pounds (less than $1) per car, is required to park inside the site by the pyramids. You'll also need a Giza Plateau ticket. Adult tickets are 80 Egyptian pounds ($9) per person, while student tickets cost 40 Egyptian pounds (less than $5) each. All tickets include entrance into the Great Sphinx's temples, as well as access to the adjacent pyramids. Bring extra cash if you plan on purchasing items at the gift shop or using the restrooms by the free parking lot.

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More Best Things To Do in Cairo

Islamic Cairo
Coptic Cairo (Old City)
Type
Time to Spend
1 of 10
#1 Islamic Cairo

This sprawling neighborhood in eastern Cairo encompasses a labyrinth of twisting alleyways and a spattering of awe-inspiring architecture. The atmosphere here will take some getting used to: The streets are crowded, noisy and littered with animal droppings. But if you take the time to adjust to Islamic Cairo's chaotic environment, you won't regret making the trek.

You'll find a number of top attractions here, including Khan El-Khalili's bazaar and the Salah El-Din Citadel. According to past visitors, no matter where you wander in the area, you'll stumble upon archeological treasures and architectural gems. To see Islamic Cairo's sights, get out and walk or tag along on an organized bus tour. Bus tours – like those offered by Memphis Tours and Egypt Tailor Made Tours – include local guides, so if you want to learn more about the neighborhood's history, this is the best way to get around.

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