Seeing the sunrise from Mount Sinai is a wonderful activity for pilgrims and tourists, 3750 climbs "steps of repentance," which a monk was said to have carved as an act of remorse. The longest and least steep path can be climbed either on foot or by camel hired by the Bedouins for most of the road, with the last 750 "steps" on foot.
Mount Sinai is considered sacred by Jews, Christians, and Muslims, as the place where Prophet Moses received the tablets with the Ten Commandments. According to tradition, in the valley at its feet, God spoke to him for the first time at a place known now as the Burning Bush.
With its peak reaching 2285 m, Mount Sinai (in Arabic Gebel Musa, the mountain of Moses) dominates the monastery of Saint Catherine. Mount Sinai is believed to be Mount Horeb quoted from the Bibles, on which Moses spent 40 days and 40 nights before receiving the Ten Commandments. Some historians and archaeologists prove otherwise, placing Mount Horeb in Jordan or Saudi Arabia, but this does not discourage the crowd of pilgrims who come here year after year.
The trips to the summit are not only for religious, however, coming here after a visit to the monastery of Saint Catherine to admire the sun rising from the top of Mount Sinai is usually part of the trip.
There are two paths that lead to the top of the mountain. For those in a better fit, there are the 3750 of the Steps of Repentance which is the most direct route.
Steps of Repentance are a steeper path dotted with various dedicated places, including the Gate of Confession, where once a monk listened to the confessions of pilgrims and the well of Moses, which flows from a small cave.
Most tourists go up in the evening, to arrive at night and watch the sunrise. If you want to spend the night on the mountain, it is better to stop at Elijah's Basin, where you will also find field toilets and some small shops. It is cold even in summer, so it is better to dress well with a sleeping bag. At the top, there is a Chapel of the Holy Trinity built in 1934 on the ruins of a 4th-century church. The exceptional panoramic view embraces the Gulf of Aqaba and the Gulf of Suez, the mountains of Africa and those of Saudi Arabia.
In the year 530 A.D, the Monastery of Saint Catherine was built at the foot of the northern mountain. It is still inhabited by a few monks of the independent Orthodox Church in Mount Sinai, and it is one of the oldest monasteries in the history of Christianity in Egypt and in the world. Its library had ancient hereditary manuscripts, including the famous 4th-century Greek manuscript now housed in the British Museum.
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