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“A welcome respite”

St. Catherine's Monastery
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Private Tour: St Catherine's Monastery
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Owner description: This is the 6th century formidable fortification and still working Christian monastery. It has the second largest collection of illuminated manuscripts.
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
98 reviews
35 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
“A welcome respite”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 September 2013

Sinai does not have much to offer the tourist looking for historical sites. St. Catherines is the only one currently available and is well worth the trip. Close to Mount Sinai, which we had climbed on a previous visit- an exhilarating and exhausting challenge. On that occasion the monastery was closed to visitors - take care when you arrange your trip to St. Catherines- it is often closed. We were glad we made the return trip this summer. The monastery is different and a very welcome diversion from the sun , sand and sea of the coast, There are relics, architecture and art covering the 1000 + years or so of the monastery's history

Organised by our excellent tour operator, Memphis Tours of Cairo, and guided by Ahmed their very knowledgeable and friendly local representative, we combined our trip to St. Catherines with a walk along the Coloured Canyon - an interesting clamber up and down gullies that displayed unusual rock formations, some multi-coloured and sculptured by wind and water over the years, with a welcome cup of tea with our bedouin guide.

A very good day out

Visited July 2013
Thank JohnGP
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Beijing, China
Level Contributor
13 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“The Holy Monastery of the God-trodden Mount Sinai, Saint Catherine’s Monastery”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 September 2013

The Greek Orthodox monastery of the God-trodden Mount Sinai is located at the very place where God appeared to Moses in the Burning Bush, beneath the Mount of the Decalogue. In the providence of God, it is at this site also that the holy relics of Saint Catherine are enshrined. This is the oldest continuously inhabited Christian monastery, with a history that can be traced back over seventeen centuries. The monastery predates the divisions of the Christian world, its origins extending to late antiquity.

The monastery has never been destroyed in all its history, and thus it can be said to have preserved intact the distinctive qualities of its Greek and Roman heritage. Members of other Christian confessions have honoured the monastery, coming as pilgrims to this holy place. But from its beginnings, the Christian inhabitants of Sinai belonged to the Greek speaking world, and it has remained so to this day.

The earliest description refers to the Monastery of the Holy Virgin, for the revelation of God at the Burning Bush was seen as a type of the Virgin Mary and the Incarnation. The monastery is also especially dedicated to the holy prophets Moses and Elias, who both came to this mountain, and who both spoke with Christ at the Transfiguration. More recently, it has been known as Saint Catherine’s Monastery. This remains its name today, though the monastery has not lost its earlier dedications.

More than one hundred and seventy Sinai saints are honoured by the Church. In addition to Saint Catherine, these include Saint John Climacus, abbot of Sinai and author of The Ladder of Divine Ascent. They also include the ascetic fathers Hesychios and Philotheus, two saints with the name of Anastasius, Gregory of Sinai (who transplanted the Hesychast traditions to the Slavic peoples), and Symeon Pentaglossos (who translated relics of Saint Catherine to Rouen, and thereby helped establish the veneration of Saint Catherine in the West).

The monastery can be thought of as a veritable Ark for its spiritual treasures. These include the manuscripts and early printed books preserved in the Sinai library, which is celebrated throughout the world for the antiquity and importance of its volumes. It also includes the monastery icons, which include the most important collection of pre-iconoclastic panel icons, and icons of the greatest beauty and significance dating from the time of the Comnene dynasty.

The monastery has been honoured by rulers throughout its history. These include the Empress Helena, the Emperor Justinian, Mohammed the Founder of Islam, Sultan Selim I, the Empress Catherine of Russia, and Napoleon Bonaparte. Contemporary heads of state have continued to show their interest in the monastery. The Holy Monastery of Sinai has been celebrated throughout the world for its spiritual and cultural radiance. It has been revered not only by Christians, but also by Moslems and Jews. It has recently been listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, both for its cultural and for its scenic significance.

The monks of Sinai, from earliest times until the present day, maintain a dedication both to prayer and to the support of pilgrims and visitors. They live at peace with the native Bedouin. They maintain the ancient spiritual heritage of Sinai, a heritage that extends from the giving of the Law, through the whole of the Old and New Testaments, to the multitude of saints whose memory has been enshrined at Sinai – above all, to the All-holy Theotokos, to the holy prophets Moses and Elias, and to Saint Catherine.

Visited April 2013
2 Thank chanyang
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Salisbury, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
298 reviews
114 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 328 helpful votes
“An amazing day trip”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 August 2013

We visited St Catherine's Monastery while staying at The Iberotel Palace (Sharm el Maya Bay) and used Sharm Club as our guide (sales@sharm-club.com). This tour can be booked as part of a group however, we were a party of 4 and so they offered us a private tour for £35p.p. and bearing in mind that this is a 300 mile round trip, it includes entry into the Monastery, the service of a very informative and friendly guide and lunch at Dahab - we thought this was a bargain!

We were collected from our Hotel at 6.30am and got to the Monastery at about 8.30-9am. Upon arrival there are several people that will try and sell you things and if you have bought a Hotel Breakfast Box, there are children there who will happily take whatever you haven't eaten!

From the drop-off point it's a short walk up a slight incline to the Monastery itself. The views are amazing (and you will have noticed en-route to the Monastery that your ears will pop due to the high altitude) but as a result there are loads of photo opportunities but please ensure that you bring water, a hat, sunglasses and sun cream as the area doesn't offer much shade and there aren't many places to buy refreshments. There is a shop in the Monastery that sells products that the Monks have made and you can 'haggle' for a guide book from the people who will wait at the entrance to the Monastery - we paid approximately £2.50/£3 for our book.

We stayed there for a good couple of hours and then headed to Dahab for some shopping and then lunch overlooking the sea. The inclusive lunch was a set menu with a choice of chicken, fish, vegetarian or kofta meat (you could order from the main menu but that would be chargeable). The set menu was served with a wonderful serving of fresh bread, salad, dips and rice. You could pay extra if you wanted chips - one serving would easily be enough for 2 people and drinks were bought at an additional cost. We left Dahab after being there for a couple of hours and then headed back to our Hotel.

I would thoroughly recommend this day trip and especially if it is booked through Sharm Club, they are extremely knowledgeable and really enhanced what was already an amazing day.

The views were fantastic, the History was awe-inspiring and the experience itself was unforgettable.

Visited August 2013
3 Thank KMAnonymous
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Jakarta, Jakarta Raya, Indonesia
Level Contributor
302 reviews
194 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 197 helpful votes
“Small, impressive monastery on the top of Mt. Sinai”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 August 2013

This small, but impressive monastery is the end point of the climbing to the top of Mt. Sinai. After an exhausted climb early in the morning, at least you can rest and admire the panorama from the top of Mt. Sinai. Since it is very cold on the top, undoubtedly you will need the toilets the monastery has then :-)

Visited September 2012
2 Thank Octovianus G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Alexandria, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“St Catherine's monastery”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 July 2013

The bus journey was pleasant but long, however it was worth it , really enjoy the trip around the monastery , take plenty of water as the temperature was well over 30o c.

Visited October 2012
1 Thank Mogwai1616
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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