Mount Sinai is located in the Sinai region near the city of Saint Catherine in Egypt. Mount Sinai is 7,497 ft tall and has significant biblical significance. Mount Sinai also known as Mount Horeb or Gabal Musa is mentioned many times in the Bible, Quran, and Torah. The Abrahamic religions (Christianity, Islam, and Judaism) recognize Mount Sinai as the site where the prophet Moses was given the Ten Commandments from God. In Exodus, God told Moses to come up the mountain to him, wait there, and he promised to give him two stone tablets with the teachings and commands God wrote to instruct people. Near Mount Sinai is the place where forty years later an angel appeared to Moses in the flames of a burning bush as he was in the desert. God then told Moses to take off his sandals, because he was standing on holy ground.
If you have the absolute pleasure like my husband and I to climb Mount Sinai, I highly recommend you do so. The best time to climb is either before sunrise (2am -3am) or before sunset (5pm – 6pm) to take in the full effect of the scenery. My husband and I opted to ride camels three-quarters of the way up the mountain and walk the final 750 stairs up the mountain (you can also opt to ride a donkey up the 750 stairs) to the top.
Prepare yourself for the trek up the mountain by wearing layers, especially in the early morning as it may be cool. Wear comfortable shoes for rocky terrain, which may be sharp, slick, and increases with elevation from the base of the mountain to the top. The most challenging part is climbing the 750 stairs, because they are not normal stairs, but rather huge boulders (which may tire you out if not in shape). My two best pieces of advice are when climbing the stairs DO NOT COUNT THEM and relieve yourself prior to the climb (there is only one outhouse on the mountain).
Once you arrive to the top of the mountain, you will see majestic 360-degree views of the Sinai Mountains and neighboring countries. You will also see a church and a mosque at the top of the mountain, so don’t be surprised if you find people praying. Many people every year hike the mountain as a religious pilgrimage since Christians, Muslims, and Jews alike recognize Mount Sinai as a holy site.
At the mouth of a gorge at the foot of Mount Sinai is Saint Catherine’s Monastery built between 548 and 565 and considered one of the oldest working Christian monasteries in the world. The monastery has an impressive library that includes one of a kind books such as the Syrian Gospel, the Prophetic Document, famous books by prophets, and features 5,000 early printed books, 3,500 manuscripts, and 2,000 scrolls. If you find yourself wanting to spend time at the monastery overnight, there is a guest house just below the monastery that offers single and double occupancy rooms with a few rooms with higher occupancy. All rooms have private facilities, and the cost of the room includes dinner and breakfast. Arrangements can also be made for lunch. Outside of mealtimes, there is a spacious courtyard with an adjoining snack bar where one can order coffee, tea, soft drinks, and other refreshments.
After visiting Mount Sinai and Saint Catherine’s Monastery, visit neighboring Sharm El-Sheikh a resort town near the Red Sea. It boasts beautiful beaches, clear water, and coral reefs and is ideal for snorkeling. In town there is ample shopping and seaside restaurants, such as Ali Baba serving an array of entrees. Sit down, eat a meal, and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.
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