The Sinai Desert

Private trips can be organised to these remote and little-visited sites:

The Sinai desert is the natural land bridge between Africa and Asia and, with its unique dramatic landscape and the fascinating culture of the Bedouins, is one of the most impressive areas of the world. With high mountains and steep wadis (dried out river valleys), fertile oasis and coloured rock formations, the Sinai is one of the most beautiful desert regions. You can experience the amazing contrasts of the desert from deep red sand to unspoilt white sand dunes and the lush green oasis of Ein Khodra.

More than just a beautiful place, Ein Khodra is also of historical significant as it acted as an important stopover for pilgrims travelling the St Katherine-Jerusalem route. Ancient writings and drawings on the nearby Rock of Inscriptions testify that Nabateans, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines and Christians of the Crusader period passed through here.

The Temple at Serabit-El-Khadem
This remote temple is one of the Sinai’s most important archaeological sites and the only Pharonic monument outside the mainland. Pharaohs of the 3rd Dynasty (2670-2570 BC) began mining turquoise here as this semi-precious stone was used to make ornaments such as scarabs or, in powder form, as a colouring material. Mining continued into the 12th Dynasty (1991 -1783 BC) when a temple dedicated to the goddess Hathor - the Mistress of Turquoise - was built. On a plateau 850 meters above sea level you can see the ruins of Hathor’s chapel and a large number of carved slabs with ancient inscriptions along side the abandoned mining shafts.

The bronze-age tombs known as Nawamis are found only in southern and eastern Sinai. These mysterious, prehistoric circular structures are between 2 - 2.5 meters high and 3 - 6 meters in diameter and constructed using sandstone slabs, each with a small opening facing west. Inside, archaeologists have unearthed many items such as shell bracelets, bone and copper tools and small jugs which were probably funeral offerings as it is thought that the Nawamis were ancient burial chambers, although the identity of the people buried here is still a mystery. Many have been dated as far back as the Chalcolithic (Copper Stone Age) period (4000 - 3150 BC).

Feiran Oasis
Halfway between the Monastery of St Katherine and the Gulf of Suez, Sinai’s largest wadi is also one of the earliest Christian centres. According to convention it was here at Feiran Oasis that Moses converted a rock into a spring so his people could drink. The ruins of many ancient churches testify to the importance of this oasis as a religious centre throughout the centuries from as early as the 2nd century. Walk amongst the 30,000 palm trees, wild flowers and orange and lemon trees to see the 4th Century ruins of The Seven Girls Monastery and then follow the trail of Byzantine churches to the mountain summit to see the spectacular views.

Hammam Moussa Oasis
Situated on the outskirts of El Tur, the capital of the Sinai is the Oasis of Hammam Moussa, or Moses Baths, which is a natural thermal spa. With 5 springs at 37 degrees, its waters are said by many to have the ability to cure skin diseases and arthritis due their high percentage of magnesium, sodium and sulphur.
Hammam Moussa is surrounded by palm trees in a beautiful desert location and has recently been developed into an intricate complex of pools and gardens with changing rooms and restaurants. Legend states that the Israelites rested at the Moses Baths on their way to the Promised Land.

Blue Desert
The Blue Desert owes its name to the numerous blue rocks scattered across an area of nearly 10 square miles. Painted in 1980 by the Belgian artist Jean Verame, with the permission of the then President Anwar Sadat and a grant of ten tons of paint from the UN, it was done to commemorate the end of the conflict between Egypt and Israel. Massive granite sculptures and painted rocks contrast vividly with the reds, browns, and yellows of the desert against the backdrop of the blue Sinai sky.



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