Named for the rocky crag it perches upon, the Jungfraujoch Sphinx Observatory (Sphinx-Observatorium) was built in 1937 and stands 384 ft (117 m) above the Jungfraujoch–Top of Europe railway station. Starring on the silver screen, the Sphinx is a futuristic hub made of steel and glass, containing a weather observation station, laboratories and a vast telescope. Thanks to the clarity of the air up at 11,716 ft (3,571 m), top names in science and meteorology are attracted to work there and their living quarters are also in the building. Although the observatory is closed to visitors, its panoramic terraces were opened to the public in 1996 and are reached by foot tunnel and high-speed elevator from Top of Europe.
The 360° views from the Sphinx open out onto a year-round winter wonderland of snow-clad Swiss Alps spanning the Eiger and peaks in France, Germany and Italy. The summit of the Jungfrau stretches up behind the observatory and the UNESCO World Heritage Site-listed Aletsch Glacier, which is the longest in the Alps at 13.75 miles (22 km), lies at its foot, icy blue and glittering in the sun.
There are few visitor facilities at the Sphinx, but a choice of restaurants and the Eispalast (Ice Palace) at Top of Europe. Also it gets cold up there, so take gloves, hat, warm clothes and sturdy footwear.