Sinai Desert

Overview

Introduction

The Sinai Peninsula is east of the Suez Canal, with coasts along the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea (the Gulf of Aqaba and the Gulf of Suez). Air and land tours can be arranged from Cairo, and overland trips leave also from the Israeli resort town of Eilat.

The coastline along the Gulf of Aqaba draws the most visitors. In addition to Sharm el-Sheikh and Dahab, there's Taba (a resort near the Israeli border) and Nuweiba (a relaxing resort with air-conditioned bungalows, superb sand beaches and watersports, between Taba and Dahab).

The peninsula's rugged, rocky interior also has sites worth visiting. Mount Horeb, believed to be Mount Sinai, where Moses was said to have received the Ten Commandments, is in the southern part of the peninsula. Visitors should make the effort to climb the 3,000 Steps of Repentance to the summit, especially early in the morning to see an incredible sunrise.

The nearby sixth-century St. Catherine's Monastery, built on the supposed site of Moses' burning bush, houses a fascinating collection of early Christian manuscripts, icons and relics. Several monks still live in the monastery. Accommodations at St. Catherine's Tourist Village in Wadi Raha (near the monastery) are more than adequate. We suggest at least a one-night stay in the Sinai.

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