Saint Catherine’s Monastery
Saint Catherine’s Monastery; To combat the negative consequences of fast expanding tourism on St Catherine’s Monastery and Mt Sinai, the 4350 sq km St Catherine Protectorate was established in 1996
There are also holy locations for the world’s three major monotheistic faiths, and the monastery itself is a Unesco World Heritage Site.
A visit to the St Catherine Protectorate is not to be missed, even if the beaches of Sinai are calling.
High above the monastery, at 2285m, Mt Sinai rises from the desert. The historic St Catherine’s Monastery is nestled in a bleak valley at the foot of Mt Sinai. In around 3.5km, the Jabaliyya Bedouin call Al-Milga, also known as Katreen, ‘The Meeting Place.’
A guide to Mt Sinai is also available here. On each path, there is a pamphlet that describes the vegetation, animals, historic, and religious locations.
Visitors are also encouraged to engage a Bedouin guide to help the local community profit from tourism. It’s the greatest location to ask about local guides if you aren’t on an organised trip.
Saint Catherine’s Monastery is located at the foot of Mount Sinai in Egypt’s South Sinai Governorate. The monastery is one of the oldest working monasteries in the world, with a history dating back to the 6th century CE.
It was built by order of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I to house the monks who had been living in the Sinai Peninsula since the 4th century CE. The monastery is also known as the Sacred Monastery of the God-Trodden Mount Sinai.
The monastery is built in the traditional Byzantine style with thick gray granite walls that have remained largely unchanged since they were first constructed.
The walls enclose an area of about 280 by 250 feet and contain many buildings, including the church dedicated to the Virgin Mary, which was built at the same time as the monastery.
The church is decorated with beautiful frescoes and icons.
The monastery is also famous for its library, which contains some of the oldest and most important manuscripts and books in the world. The library has a collection of over 4,000 manuscripts, including the Codex Sinaiticus, which is one of the oldest known copies of the Bible. The Codex Sinaiticus was discovered at the monastery in the mid-19th century and is now housed in the British Library in London.
Saint Catherine’s Monastery is also a popular pilgrimage site, and many visitors come to see the Burning Bush, which is said to be the location where God spoke to Moses in the Book of Exodus. The bush is located in a walled garden inside the monastery complex and is said to be more than 3,500 years old.
Overall, Saint Catherine’s Monastery is an important historical and religious site, known for its beautiful architecture, ancient manuscripts, and rich history.
Activities you can do in Saint Catherine’s Monastery
As Saint Catherine’s Monastery is a religious site, there are certain activities that visitors are expected to engage in while they are there. Here are some things you can do while visiting the monastery:
Visit the Monastery:
The monastery is open to visitors and is a great place to explore. Visitors can wander through the complex and view the beautiful architecture, frescoes, and icons of the church. Visitors can also visit the library and see some of the oldest manuscripts and books in the world.
Attend a Service:
Saint Catherine’s Monastery is an active religious site, so visitors are welcome to attend services. The monastery holds daily services, which visitors can attend to experience the rich and ancient religious traditions of the site.
Hike Mount Sinai:
The monastery is located at the foot of Mount Sinai, an important religious site in its own right. The mountain is said to be the location where Moses received the Ten Commandments, and many visitors choose to hike to the summit to enjoy the stunning views and feel a sense of spiritual connection.
Visit the Burning Bush:
The monastery is also home to the Burning Bush, which is said to be the location where God spoke to Moses in the Book of Exodus. Visitors can visit the walled garden where the bush is located and reflect on the religious significance of the site.
Explore the Surrounding Area:
The Sinai Peninsula is a beautiful and unique region of Egypt, with many natural wonders to explore. Visitors can take a camel ride through the desert, visit nearby Bedouin villages, or explore the Red Sea coast.
It is roughly 3.5km from the monastery in Al-Milga (Katreen). Stay in Dahab or Nuweiba and take an affordable excursion to St Catherine’s and Mt Sinai.
Also in Al-Milga are various stores and a bakery, ideal for pre-trail supplies. Few eateries surround the bakery, but most travelers self-cater or eat in their hotels.
The famous Bedouin-owned Katrien Rest House with a porch or inside provides hearty chicken, rice, and veggie dishes.
Café Ikhlas provides substantial breakfasts and lunches with chicken, rice and vegetables.