St. Katherine Region, Sinai Desert

St Katherine's Monastery, Sinai and Red Sea Coast, Egypt

Not many people know that South Sinai is much more than just sun, sea and Bedouins. It is also a cultural, spiritual and historical center. The proof for that can be easily found in St. Catherine Protectorate. The St. Katherine Protectorate is an area of great biological interest and includes the highest mountains in Egypt, such like the Mount Sinai and the Mount St. Catherine. This high altitude ecosystem supports a surprising diversity of wild species; some of which are found nowhere else in the world.

The monastery was built by order of Emperor Justinian I between 527 and 565, enclosing the Chapel of the Burning Bush ordered to be built by Helena, the mother of Constantine I, at the site where Moses is supposed to have seen the burning bush; the living bush on the grounds is purportedly the original. The site is sacred to Christianity and Islam.

On its territory one can find the second largest collection of early codices and manuscripts in the world, outnumbered only by the Vatican Library. Its strength lies in Greek, Coptic, Arabic, Armenian, Hebrew, Georgian, and Syriac texts. The famous Codex Sinaiticus, now in the British Library, left the monastery in the 19th century for Russia, in circumstances that are now disputed.

St. Catherine Monastary - Mount Moses is 150 Kms from Sharm El Sheikh. It is important to note that the library of the area contains ancient manuscripts and icons and is considered to be the second in its size after Vatican’s library. But the library is definitely not the only thing you can see there: the burning bush, the Chapel and many other attractions bring tourists all over the world to this unique place.

The only thing you have to remember though is to dress appropriately, exclude things provoking or distracting - respect the traditions of the place.
St. Katherine mountain Region, Sinai

Be prepared that there are no hotels in the area. Al Karm Ecolodge, for example, has no electricity, but it has solar heated showers, sanitary compost toilets, a kitchen and dining facilities. The six rooms can accommodate up to around 30 guests.

Last Updated on Friday 14th January 2011