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mt sinai area at dusk
The St. Catherine Natural Protectorate, established in 1995, is administered by the government of Egypt. It was set up to work towards the preservation and conservation of the legendary St Catherine's area.
The protectorate covers 4,300km square and supports a startling rich assortment of desert wildlife—ibex, hyena, endangered North African wolves.
artwork inside monastery building
St. Catherine's Monastery, was constructed by order of the Emperor Justinian between 527 and 565. It is built around what is thought to be Moses' Burning Bush, which has a chapel built atop it. It is a spectacular natural setting for priceless works of art, including Arab mosaics, Greek and Russian icons, Western oil paintings, paintings on wax, fine sacerdotal ornaments, marbles, enamels, chalices, reliquaries, including one donated by Czar Alexander II in the 19th century, and another by Empress Catherine of Russia in the 17th century. But of perhaps even greater significance is that it is the second largest collection of illuminated manuscripts (The Vatican has the largest). The collection consists of some 3,500 volumes in Greek, Coptic, Arabic, Armenian, Hebrew, Slavic, Syriac, Georgian and other languages. Around the year 1850, the fourth century Codex Sinaiticus, which is now in the British Museum in London, was discovered here.
Address: St Catherine's Protectorate
dome of mosque
The Monastery even has a small 10th or 11th century mosque which was probably built to appease the Islamic authorities of the time.
Chapel of St. Triphone
The Chapel of St. Triphone, (also known as the Skull House) houses the skulls of deceased monks of St Catherine's Monastery.
Address: St Catherine's Monastery
st catherine's monastery
Saint Catherine's monastery was built 1400 years ago by Emperor Justinian, encompassing the great church built by St. Helena, the mother of St.Constantine in 330 AD.
Saint Catherine was born in Alexandria in 294 AD, and educated in a pagan school. Born to a wealthy family, she rejected their ways and was taught of Jesus Christ by a Syrian monk, and she converted to the Christian faith.
Later in the 4th century, during the persecution of the Christians, she held her faith and confessed her beliefs. Many wise men tried to dissuade her, but she, on the contrary, persuaded them to believe in Jesus. Under torture, she again managed to persuade members of the Emperors family and members of the Roman aristocracy to convert to the Christian faith.
After her execution, her body vanished, and according to tradition, angels transported it to the peaks of the highest Mountain in Sinai, which now bears her name. This tradition is supported by the fact that monks from the monastery were guided by a dream 3 centuries later to the peak of Saint Catherine’s Mount where they found her body. Saint Catherine's martyrdom was carried to Europe by the Crusaders, and she became accepted as a major saint.
Saint Catherine's Monastery is open to the public to this day, and governed by Greek Orthodox monks, it continues to be an attraction for people of all faiths and cultures.
Address: St Catherine's Protectorate
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