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Mount Sinai

Listed under Sacred Spaces in Egypt.

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Mt. Sinai, also called Mt. Horeb and Jebel Musa, the ‘Mountain of Moses’ is a much visited pilgrimage destination which includes the Monastery of St.Catherine, the Burning Bush and Elijah’s Plateau. Moses, the traditional founder of Judaism, was born in Egypt, the son of a Hebrew slave. Raised by the daughter of a pharaoh, he was later educated in the esoteric and magical traditions of the Egyptian mystery schools. At the age of forty, enraged at the Egyptian treatment of the Hebrews, he went into exile in the Sinai wilderness. Forty years later while grazing his flocks on Mt. Sinai, Moses came upon a burning bush and heard a voice commanding him to lead his people out of bondage in Egypt and return with them to the mountain. Following his bringing of the Hebrews from Egypt, Moses twice climbed the mountain to commune with god. During his second ascent, lasting 40 days and nights, Moses received two tablets upon which God had inscribed the Ten Commandments, as well as precise dimensions for the Arc of the Covenant, a portable box-like shrine that would contain the tablets. Soon thereafter, the Arc of the Covenant was constructed and Moses and his people departed from Mt. Sinai.

Early pilgrims to the mountain included Helena, the 4th century Byzantine Empress who constructed the first church, the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I who built a fortress around the church in 542 AD, and the Prophet Mohammed who gave his personal pledge of protection, thereby ensuring the continued existence of the church. St. Catherine's Monastery is named after the 4th century Christian martyr, Catherine of Alexandria. During the 12th - 14th centuries thousands of pilgrims came annually to Mt. Sinai and the journey from Cairo took eight days by foot and camel. Greek Orthodox monks tend the monastery and its collection of Byzantine art. Currently there is no archaeological evidence that the 7507 foot peak of Jebel Musa is the actual Mt. Sinai of the Old Testament and scholars have proposed alternative locations in the Sinai Peninsula.

Photo: St. Catherine's Monastery, Mt. Sinai

More about Mount Sinai from Sacred Sites.

Written by  Martin Gray.

Other expert and press reviews

“Mount Sinai for sunrise”

I must recommend book the climb up Mount Sinai – supposedly the sight where Moses received the Ten Commandments from God – in the evening to catch the sunrise – fantastic. It feels like D-Day – you’ve been looking forward t… Read more...

Written by  poppy E.

Comments, reviews and questions by other travellers

how to travel to st catherine's monastery

Hi there,

I am a 74 year old guy, and I live in London uk. My ambition is to travel to Mt. Sinai and visit the monastery of st. catherine. I do have some health problems concerning my legs, and I would like to know how i could easily reach the monastery regardless of cost.


2 Replies

You should contact Wind Sand and Stars - and speak to Emma Loveridge - they specialise in walking itineraries in the Sinai and I am sure could help you!

If you take the right tour bus, it will drive you all the way up to the door of St. Catherine's. Once you're inside the place, you'll have to walk. If you come in the morning, expect (VERY!) large crowds.

If you want random photos of my travels there in '07, check out

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