Sharm El Sheikh was initially developed as a holiday resort for the Israelis during the Israeli occupation. When this area was returned to Egypt it was further developed and is now a popular beach side holiday resort.
We were not particularly interested in visiting a holiday hotel or sitting on the beach as the weather is still very cool. We opted instead for a trip to St Catherine’s Monastry at Mt Sinai. A place of significant religious significance and one Trish wanted to go and visit.
We boarded an organised tour bus for the 280k trip through the desert from the port to Mt Sinai.
On the way we passed through several military checkpoints something quite different to traveling in Australia!
After 3 hours or so we reached the Monastery which only left about 90min on site before we had to return to the ship. At St Catherine’s Monastery the most sanctified building is the church with the chapel of the Burning Bush from which God spoke to Moses. The burning bush is still there and is the bush behind Trish in the picture. Also note the fire extinguisher located just under the burning bush!!
We visited the chapel which is dedicated to St Catherine, the legendary martyr of Alexandria, who was tortured for her Christianity. Her body disappeared and, according to legend, was transported by angels to the highest mountain peak in the Sinai. Three centuries later some monks of the Monastery, following a dream, found her body and placed it in a gold-plated sarcophagus, which now stands in the Basilica Choir.
The monastery holds some of the world’s best preserved and priceless ancient manuscripts and icons, some of which are actually on display in the small museum within the monastery. We found the museum fascinating with paintings and religious artefacts on display and was well worth viewing.
The return trip included a lunch at a deluxe beach resort on the shores of the Gulf of Aqaba near Dahab.
We were the last back onto the ship which departed for Muscat just after we were on board.