Sinai is a holy land where many of the Biblical events are believed to have taken place. The Monastery of St. Catherine was built on the site of the Burning Bush, at the foot of Mt. Sinai – Mount Horeb in the Bible and locally known as Jebel Musa (Gebel Mousa) – where Moses received the Ten Commandments. Apart from the main monastery there are several other monasteries, chapels and Byzantine monastic ruins in the area.
St. Katherine Visitor Centre
Located at the roundabout before town, the Visitors Centre offers excellent displays on the Protectorate, natural history, archaeology, Bedouins and the Monastery.
The Golden Calf
In Wadi el Dir, the short valley leading to the Monastery, you can see a rock formation what locals believe is the mould which was used to make the Golden Calf.
The Monastery of St. Katherine
The Monastery of St. Katherine is the oldest continuously inhabited monastery in the World and its library has the largest religious collection after the Vatican. It was built by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian in the 6th century AD, although there was already a church at the site of the Burning Bush erected by the Empress Helena in 330 AD.
The Stairs of Repentance
Monks built a long path from the Monastery to the top of Mt. Sinai in a narrow gully with hundreds of rock steps. There is a longer but easier way to the peak, accessible by camels as well.
Mt. Sinai (Jebel Musa)
Mt. Sinai is revered by Jews, Christians and Muslims as a holy place, where a covenant between God and His people was established. Apart from the Old Testament it is alsomentioned in the Quran. Although its exact location has been disputed, for most people it is not the mountain but the message which is important.
Hajar Mousa (Rock of Moses)
The rock that is believed to be from which Moses fetched water. The twelve clefts on it, according to local tradition, represent the twelve springs described in the Quran.
Wadi el Arbain and the Monastery of the Forty Martyrs
Wadi el Arbain provides an alternative to head for Mt. Sinai from the town of St. Katherine, and is also on the route to Mt. Katharina, Egypt’s highest peak. It is also home to the Monastery of the Forty Martyrs and the Rock of Moses.
Wadi Talla and the Monastery of Cosmas and Damianos
There are beautiful gardens and anancient orthodox monastery in Wadi Talla, close to the town of St. Catherine. The Monastery of Cosmas andDamianos (DirRahab) is named after the martyred brothers who were doctors and treated local people free in the 3rd century AD.