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Saint Catherine's Monastery

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  The Monastery of St. Catherine was built by order of the Roman Emperor Justinian in the years between 527 and 565 AD. Its name derives from a martyr called Saint Katherine in the 3rd Century AD. Intention was to protect the monks and hermits living in this area. Belonging to the Greek Orthodox Church, it is the oldest Christian Monastery existing.
   
 

way indication to
the steps

It can be recommended to first climb the Mount Sinai at nights, while visiting the Monastery in the morning of the following day. Walking down the 3.700 steps in the morning gives a very nice view to the Monastery.

Still nowadays, the Monastery is a religious place for monks. Approximately only 10-20 monks are living in the Monastery. They are East Orthodox, being guided by the Archbishop of St. Catherine's. Therefore, we ask all visitors to respect this situation as a religious place. Although giving great hospitality, massive tourism is putting much pressure to this tradition. As a result, monks can not be seen much arround anymore and opening hours have been reduced to 3 hours in the morning (9-12 a.m.), except Friday, Sunday and Feast Days (closed).

 
Beduines offering
camel rides

Tourists waiting for the Monastery doors to open
 

View from the steps
to the Monastery

The Chappel from inside.
We ask you to respect the silence in this place.
with kind support of STK Parks
   
 

Beduines from the
tribe Gebeleya
The Beduin of the tribe Gebeleya have protected the Monastery every since. Therefore, emporer Justinian has sent 100 guards from Alexandria and another 100 guards from Rumania, Bosnia and Anatolia (Black Sea). Within the following centuries they intermarried with local Beduines and are now hardly to be distinguished from pure local Beduines.

The library of the Monastery is supposed to be one of the oldest and perhaps the second largest library in the world. Visitors are not permitted here.
However, visitors are allowed to enter the chapel, that bares some very old reference material for text, images, icons and paintings. Its value is believed to be uncomparable in the world.
   
 
The burning bush
The valley of the Monastery with view noth-east. Many people are waiting in front of the Monastery. 500 meter away, there are colonies of busses waiting to pick up the visitors again - going back to Sharm or Cairo. If you want to avoid mass tourism, you should ask the excursion agency or the Monastery itself for days that are less crowded.
Contacts:

Sun & Fun, Naama Bay, Sharm El Sheikh
Tel: +20.69.601 623, Fax: +20.69.600 602, email

G
uide Mahmoud from Sun&Fun

 


 

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