Sinaï Mountain

Sinai Mount is a 2285m high mountain that is located in the city of Saint Katherine in the region of Sinai. It is next to Mount St Catherine that is surrounded on all its sides with the higher peaks of the mountain ranges. The rocks of Mount Sinai were formed during the later stage of the Arabian Nubin Sgield’s evolution. This Mountain also displays a complex ring that primarily consists of alkaline natured granites that are successfully divided in many types of rocks that also include volcanic. The range of the granites differs in composition and they can be graded in the synenogranite and alkali feldspar granite types. The volcanic rocks that are available in the area are alkaline to the peralkaline rocks and they are also represented by the flows and the eruptions of the above.

There are many modern biblical scholars that have the common belief that many Israelites would have crossed the peak in a straight line and they did not detour the southern tip by crossing the eastern branch of the Red Sea. There are two principal routes to the sunnit and they have long and shallow routes. The first route is the Shiket El Bashait that takes about 2.5 hours to travel by foot. Camels can also be used for the purpose. There is another route and that is Siket Sayidna Musa that is a more steeper and direct route.

Sinai mount is located in the middle of the Sinai Peninsula and rises 2643 metres above sea level. This is the same place where Moses received the Ten Commandments from God. The Arabic name for Mount of Moses is Gebel Musameans. It is true that there is extremely little or no evidence for supporting this assertion, but then, the mountain is still a well known pilgrimage location and serves as home to the monastery of St. Catherine. To be more specific, this is a Greek monastery that was introduced in the sixth century, one amongst the longest running monasteries in the world. The Burning bush is also located out here. Al-minya is a small town that is located outside the entrance to the valley and has turned out to be a major tourist spot. You can travel by road to reach this place. Dahab is located at a distance of 150 km from here and you will have to devote as much as two hours to reach this place. Similarly, you will have to devote three hours so as to reach Sharm el-sheikh. There are innumerable visitors who arrive on tours which arrive at 1 am (approximately) at the foot of the mountain for travelers so as to climb the mountain overnight and take a look at the sunrise. You can count on any guesthouse and they will arrange the tour for you as well. There are also multiple Bedouin camps in St. Catherine which serves as accommodations for small groups of pilgrims. You have only two choices so as to get around and climb the mountain, i.e. by camel and by foot.

 

 

 

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Sinaï Mountain - Travel in Egypt

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You can visit the monastery of St. Catherine by foot. Believe it or not, but then, this is considered to be the easier of the two options. It looks more like a fortress and less like a church. The only way to get access to this church is through a huge iron gate that is kept shut during the night and opened during the morning. To be more specific, it stays open from 9am-12am. It is kept closed on Sunday and Friday. Another thing that needs to be noted is that the monastery observes Greek orthodox rites and is therefore also closed for Easter and Christmas are calculated by the Greek orthodox calendar.

Church of St. Catherine is said to be the prime church of the complex that was completed in the year 551. Basilica is known for a mosaic of the Transfiguration. Moses’ well is referred to as a spring which supplies water to the monastery and as per the legend, the location where moses met his wife for the first time.

The library is one amongst the greatest repositories of ancient manuscripts in the world housing more than 4500 rare volumes. There isn’t any access without special permission. Ossuary is a morbid charnel house that contains skulls that are as old as 1400 years.

Climbing the Sinai mount is believed to be the prime objective of almost all visitors.

You may have to take the help of a native guide so as to know more about the Sinai mount. There are two routes from where you can make a selection. the entrances are poorly signposted hence make sure to choose carefully particularly if you are climbing during the night. Both these paths lead to natural amphitheater referred to as the Seven elders of Israel or Elijah’s hollow. From here, you will have to take up an additional 750 steps so as to reach summit.

Steps of penitence is an appropriately named steep path which has been quite literally excavated of the rock by monks and with 3750 steps for climbing is the shorter however more challenging of the two. There isn’t any need of equipments that are needed for mountain climbing. The only things that are needed are strong thighs and the views back down into the valley are remarkable even in midnight. If the sky is clear then you will also enjoy watching the spellbound stars as there aren’t any major cities for miles and miles. The route may be climbed in as short as forty five minutes or as long as three hours based on your pace.

Camel path is a gentler and winding wide path which shakes its way up to the summit which can be completed by the traveler in two and a half hours. As the name suggests, you may also access this place by riding on the back of camel. In fact, the sawdust which appears to coat much of the length of the path is nothing but dried byproducts of the camel from the several trips before you. Make sure that you are a bit careful because the camel will bite you if it doesn’t like you. Hence, make sure to be nice to it. visiting the place on foot is said to be a faster option for almost all people. However, even if you go in a camel you will have to get down nearly a kilometer prior to reaching the top. To be more specific, you will have to cover as much as seven hundred steps on foot. Be careful as the surface through which you will be traveling is uneven.

Towards the top you will find a chapel that is devoted to the Holy trinity that was constructed in the year 1934 on the remains of an older sixteenth century church. It would be even better if you have timed your ascent right, you may see the sunrise over the rocky and parched expanse of the Sinai.

Keep in mind that it would be pretty cooler at the summit when compared to what on the coast. In fact, during winters, nights have been recorded to have subzero temperatures and also snow are not unknown.  Hence, make sure that you dress up warmly in layers and opt for a flashlight as well. Mattresses and blankets may be rented at the top for circa 10 Egyptian pounds per piece, but then how far they are clean is certainly a question.

The immense silence of the mountain and the spiritual history makes it all the more popular place for meditation and yoga groups. The native 'Gebeliya' Bedouin also run retreats for visitors and trekking trips. Native Bedouin women have set up beautiful shops in the village of St. Katherine’s. Fansina employs as much as 200 native tribeswomen for making conventional hand woven handicrafts which you will find no where other than in Sinai.

The hostel of the monastery serves breakfast but then charges as much as $1.75 for a slice of bread with fig jam, an egg, and a tea bag if you are not spending the night. El Milga is known for its hotels and guesthouses. However, there are many travelers who prefer opting for a day trip from Sharm el-sheikh or Dahab. Saint Cathrine’s is said to be a basic dormitory style accommodation. Bedouin guesthouse is the conventional style guesthouse that was owned as well as run by Bedouins. The only way through which you can move out from Mt. Sinai is back to the coast.

John Lloyd Stephens mentioned that “Amongst all the marvelous works of Nature, not a single place can be chosen more fitting for the exhibition of Almighty power”. Sinai mount is both the name of a collection of peaks, at times known as the Holy mountains as well as the biblical name of the peak where Moses received the ten commandments. It is true that a variety of other locations have been recommended as the biblical site of Sinai mount. This place is also known as Mount Horeb and is said to be the conventional location in the southern central Sinai Peninsula. This location together with the surrounding region is steeped in Biblical convention. All around the Sinai mount you will find sites and locations that have been related to biblical places that have been mentioned in the Exodus. You will also find a long oral convention of their authenticity out here. But then, there isn’t any proven archaeological evidence that this or may be any of the other recommended alternate locations of Mount Sinai, is the definite one referred to in the Bible. Believe it or not, but then the truth is that this mountain has attracted pilgrims for more than thousand years now and has made a special mark for it self in terms of the Holy mountain. As mentioned earlier, there are several routes through which you can climb the Mount Musa. The shortest of all routes is referred to as the Siket Syidna Musa. This is a steep comprising of 3750 steps referred to as the “ steps of penitence”.

There is another long but less steep track that is called the Siket El Bashait and it can be climbed in the night either with the help of the camel or by foot. The journey generally takes about two and a half hours when you are travelling by foot. There are a number of locations that are on the longer route and they are often referred to as the camel route. You can also find many vendors that sell food, water and other items. Both of these routes lead to a place called “ Seven Elders of Israel” and it was thought that wise men had waited when God spoke to Moses. It is here that one should ascend the remaining seven hundred and fifty steps on foot to reach the summit of the place.

Here you will also find the Chapel of the holy Trinity that was built in the year 1934 on the location of the original chapel that was built in the year 363 and again rebuilt by Justinian in 530. This chapel is situated on the summit but it is not open for public viewing. It is believed that this chapel encloses the rock from which God had made the tablets of the Ten Commandments. When you visit this place you will also find a small mosque and a cave where Moses is said to have waited to receive the tablets. The summit also provides you with a really beautiful view of the mountains and the valleys. You will find that there are a number of other monuments that are located on the mountains. The monuments that are famous are located on the peak of the popular MountMusa and they are well known in the area. There are many tourists that visit this region on a regular basis and you can also come across many historical sites that are located on the mountain and on the staircase leading to them. There are also other prominent peaks in the area and the most visited ones are Jebel Megafa and Jebel Moneiga.