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A photographic journey through Wadi Rum, Jordan. More images here

If you enjoyed this have a look at Western Desert Journey, Egypt which was chosen as one of WordPress.com Editors’ Picks of the Year 2013

Thanks to Sam McConnell, James Dyer, Haitham Dahlan & Eid Sabah El. Zalabeya

Saint Catherine's Monastery below Mount Sinai

Saint Catherine’s Monastery below Mount Sinai

Mighty granite walls protect the monastery

Mighty granite walls protect the monastery

Much of the walls have stood for 14 centuries

Much of the walls have stood for fourteen centuries

Cross carved in the granite walls

Cross carved in the granite walls

At one point in history all of the doors were sealed up, and entrance was made through a lift, which was also used to haul up supplies.

At one point in history all of the doors were sealed up, and entrance was made through a lift, which was also used to haul up supplies.

Saint Catherine's Monastery, Mount Sinai, Egypt

The building sits in the wildest imaginable location

Saint Catherine's Monastery, Mount Sinai, Egypt

Detail of window in the corner buttress

Saint Catherine's Monastery, Mount Sinai, Egypt

The route to Mount Sinai starts at the left of the monastery

Lift structure and modern entrance.

Lift structure and modern entrance.

Bell tower (left) & Mosque Minaret (right) inside courtyard

Bell tower (left) & Mosque Minaret (right) inside courtyard

Bell tower, Built in 1871

Bell tower, Built in 1871

Cross carved in the granite walls

Cross carved in the granite walls

The monastery contains the Katholikon, various chapels, a amosque , library and cells for the monks.

The monastery contains the Katholikon, various chapels, a amosque , library and cells for the monks.

Bell tower (left) & Mosque Minaret (right)

Bell tower (left) & Mosque Minaret (right)

Saint Catherine's Monastery below Mount Sinai

Saint Catherine’s Monastery below Mount Sinai

The monastery of St. Catherine in Sinai, Egypt, is the oldest active Christian monastery in the world. It is the site where Moses is supposed to have seen the burning bush.

The monastery’s library holds a unique collection of Byzantine manuscripts second only to the vatican in scale. The site is sacred to both Christianity and Islam. A mosque was built within the walls of the monastery, but it has never been used since it is not correctly oriented towards Mecca.

Built between 548 and 565 the massive granite walls have stood for over fourteen centuries. The walls were repaired in 1801 during Napoleon’s Egyptian expedition. The bell tower was built in 1871 and contains nine bells of different sizes that were a gift of the Czars of Russia.

See more photos here >>

Footprints on a sand dune above camp near Bahariya Oasis, Western Desert, Egypt

Dune above camp near Bahariya Oasis, Western Desert, Egypt

Bedouin Tea, served extra sweet. Western Desert, Egypt

Bedouin Tea, served extra sweet

Early morning sunlight illuminates a sand dune Western Desert, Egypt

Early morning sunlight illuminates a sand dune, Western Desert

Landcruisers descend into a wadi in the Sahara Suda (Black Desert), Egypt

Landcruisers descend into a wadi in the Sahara Suda (Black Desert), Egypt

Sahara Suda (Black Desert) the moment after sunset, Egypt

Sahara Suda (Black Desert) the moment after sunset

A beduin guide, Mahmood contemplating the White Desert, Egypt

Our bedouin guide, Mahmood contemplating the White Desert

Trekking above a large sand dune in the White Desert), Egypt

Trekking above a sand dune in the White Desert, Egypt

Mahmood, a Bedouin guide, collecting fire wood in the White Dese

Mahmood collecting fire wood in the White Desert

Mahmood, A Bedouin guide, guides us across the White Desert

Mahmood guides us across the White Desert

Sam McConnell prepares for a night under the stars, White Desert

Sam McConnell prepares for a night under the stars, White Desert

Sand ripples at the edge of the Sahara Beida (White Desert), Egypt

Sand ripples at the edge of the Sahara Beida (White Desert)

4X4 tracks in the sand and camp in the Western Desert, Egypt

4X4 tracks at camp in the Western Desert

Khaled ties camping equipment to the top of the Landcruiser. Western Desert, Egypt

Khaled ties camping equipment to the top of the Landcruiser

Monoliths (inselbergs) of the White Desert at sunset, Egypt

Monoliths (inselbergs) of the White Desert at sunset

4x4 Landcruiser stuck in the sand in the Western Desert, Egypt

Landcruiser stuck in the sand in the Western Desert

Sam McConnell walks amongst the chalk rock formations of the Sahara Beida (White Desert), Egypt

Sam McConnell walks amongst the chalk rock formations of the White Desert

Moments before sunset at El-Khiyam "The Tents",  Sahara Beida (White Desert), Egypt

Moments before sunset at El-Khiyam “The Tents”, White Desert

4X4 Camp amongst El-Khiyam "The Tents",  Sahara Beida (White Des

4X4 Camp amongst El-Khiyam “The Tents”, White Desert

Mahmood & Khaled rest after trekking amongst El-Khiyam "The Tent

Mahmood & Khaled rest after trekking amongst The Tents, White Desert

Sunset abovet El-Khiyam "The Tents",  Sahara Beida (White Desert), Egypt

Sunset abovet El-Khiyam “The Tents”, Sahara Beida (White Desert)

Khaled, deep in thought with a glass of sweet tea. Western Deser

Khaled, deep in thought with a glass of sweet tea. Western Desert

Wind sculpted chalk waves and sand in the Sahara Beida (White De

Wind sculpted chalk waves and sand in the White Desert

Moonlit Camp in the White Desert, Egypt

Moonlit Camp in the White Desert

Chalk sculptures catch the setting sunlight in the White Desert, Egypt

Chalk sculptures catch the setting sunlight in the White Desert

Sunset above the the chalk rock formations of the Sahara Beida (White Desert) near Farafra, Egypt

Sunset above the the chalk rock formations of the White Desert near Farafra

Aish el-Ghorab "The Mushrooms", chalk sculptures, Sahara Beida (White Desert), Egypt

Aish el-Ghorab “The Mushrooms”, chalk sculptures, White Desert, Egypt

Aish el-Ghorab "The Mushrooms", chalk sculptures, Sahara Beida (White Desert), Egypt

The Mushrooms, chalk sculptures, White Desert

Orange sunset in the White Desert, Egypt

Sunset in the White Desert, Egypt

These photographs document a trekking and 4×4 journey through the Western Desert of Egypt. Starting at Bahariya Oasis we travelled through the Sahara Suda (Black Desert) and Sahara Beida (White Desert) ending up near Farafra. As a compliment to these images I produced a second, more abstract series of photographs entitled “Sahara Sands” from the same trip.

The journey was undertaken with desert explorer Sam McConnell who runs highly recommended adventure travel expeditions to the region in collaboration with Abou Anis of Sub Sinai, off-road driver Khaled, and the bedouin of Bahariya Oasis

Signed limited edition prints of this series are available at £195 each (60x40cm). To purchase please contact me. Larger sizes also available

Edit: I’m delighted that this post is featured in Freshly Pressed. Check out “Glimpses Of Iran” which was Freshly Pressed last year. Thanks for all your likes and comments and follow my Facebook Page to see my latest work

Edit 2! I’m even more chuffed this post has been featured in Editors’ Picks of the Year: The Best of WordPress.com in 2013 thanks guys!

Edit 3! If you enjoyed this have a look at Wadi Rum Journey which was the follow up to this project

Sahara Sands I (Western Desert, Egypt)

Sahara Sands I (Western Desert, Egypt)

Sahara Sands II (Western Desert, Egypt)

Sahara Sands II (Western Desert, Egypt)

Sahara Sands III (Western Desert, Egypt)

Sahara Sands III (Western Desert, Egypt)

Sahara Sands IV (Western Desert, Egypt)

Sahara Sands IV (Western Desert, Egypt)

Sahara Sands V (Western Desert, Egypt)

Sahara Sands V (Western Desert, Egypt)

Sahara Sands VI (Western Desert, Egypt)

Sahara Sands VI (Western Desert, Egypt)

Sahara Sands VII (Western Desert, Egypt)

Sahara Sands VII (Western Desert, Egypt)

Sahara Sands VIII (Western Desert, Egypt)

Sahara Sands VIII (Western Desert, Egypt)

Sahara Sands IX (Western Desert, Egypt)

Sahara Sands IX (Western Desert, Egypt)

Sahara Sands X (Western Desert, Egypt)

Sahara Sands X (Western Desert, Egypt)

Sahara Sands XI (Western Desert, Egypt)

Sahara Sands XI (Western Desert, Egypt)

Sahara Sands XII (Western Desert, Egypt)

Sahara Sands XII (Western Desert, Egypt)

Sahara Sands XIII (Western Desert, Egypt)

Sahara Sands XIII (Western Desert, Egypt)

Sahara Sands XIV (Western Desert, Egypt)

Sahara Sands XIV (Western Desert, Egypt)

Photographs of Egypt’s Western Desert made during a 10 day trek and 4×4 expedition with desert explorer Sam McConnell. The approach to this work is in part inspired by my earlier abstractions of the River Thames

I have always loved the desert. One sits down on a desert sand dune, sees nothing, hears nothing. Yet through the silence something throbs, and gleams…
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Signed limited edition prints available at £195 each (40x40cm). To purchase please contact me. Larger sizes also available

Interior of Octagonal Pavilion Tomb of the Sheikh Abdolsamad, Natanz, Iran.

Dome of the main sanctuary. Imam Mosque (Masjed-e Imam), is a mosque in Isfahan, Iran standing in south side of Naghsh-i Jahan Square. Built 1611 – 1629. Architect: Shaykh Bahai

Detail view of khanqah portal; muqarnas semi-dome, Shaykh ‘Abd al-Samad Mosque, Natanz, Iran.

Ceramic tiles ceiling decorating a vault at Nasir al-Mulk Mosque, (aka the Pink Mosque) Shiraz, Iran. Built 1876 -1888. Architects: Muhammad Hasan-e-Memar and Muhammad Reza Kashi Paz-e-Shirazi.

Mirrored muqarnas (decorative corbel) in the Hall of Diamonds (Talar-e Almas) in the Golestan Palace, Tehran. It is called Hall of Diamonds because of the exceptional mirror work inside the building. The construction of this hall dates to the time of Fath Ali Shah (circa1806). Tehran, Iran

South Iwan, entrance to main sanctuary. Imam Mosque (Masjed-e Imam), is a mosque in Isfahan, Iran standing in south side of Naghsh-i Jahan Square. Built 1611 – 1629. Architect: Shaykh Bahai

Muqarnas (decorative corbel) Jameh Mosque aka The Congregational Mosque of Isfahan built from 771 to the end of the 20th century. Isfahan, Iran

North iwan coverd in polychromatic tiles. Imam Mosque (Masjed-e Imam), is a mosque in Isfahan, Iran standing in south side of Naghsh-i Jahan Square. Built 1611 – 1629. Architect: Shaykh Bahai

Interior of Dome of Sheikh Lotf Allah Mosque, Naghsh-i Jahan Square, Isfahan, Iran. Built 1603 -1618. Architect: Shaykh Bahai

Ceramic tiles ceiling decorating a vault at Nasir al-Mulk Mosque, (aka the Pink Mosque) Shiraz, Iran. Built 1876 -1888. Architects: Muhammad Hasan-e-Memar and Muhammad Reza Kashi Paz-e-Shirazi.

An Iranian girl looks out from the trunk of Sarv-e Abar-Kuh “cypress of Abar-Kuh”, also called the Zoroastrian Sarv, is a Cupressus sempervirens tree in Abarkuh, Yazd Iran. It is estimated to be over four thousand years old and may be the oldest living thing in Asia.

A lady wearing a chador posing for a photo at Persepolis. Persepolis was the ceremonial capital of the Persian Empire (550-330 BC) during the Achaemenid dynasty. Persepolis, Iran

A girl at the window of The Arg (Citadel) of Karim Khan, Shiraz, Iran

A woman wearing a chador walks past the blue tile work of the the Jameh Mosque of Yazd, Iran

Baker taking bread out of his tandoor oven at his bakery in Yazd, Iran

A woman passes in front of a  badgir, the Iranian term for wind tower. These chimney-like structures, which project above the roof, expel warm air during the day and trap cooler breezes at night. Yazd.

Edit: I’m honoured and delighted that this post is featured in Freshly Pressed. Thanks for all your likes and comments and follow my Facebook Page to see my latest work and keep in touch!

Interior Dome of Sheikh Lotf Allah Mosque, Naghsh-i Jahan Square, Isfahan, Iran.

Sheikh Lotfallah Mosque was completed in 1619 after nearly 20 years of construction by Architect Shaykh Bahai. Today, the mosque stands as a magnificent and detailed public work. However, when it was originally built it was a private and luxurious place of worship for Shah Abbas I and the women of his court.

North Iwan at Nasir al-Mulk Mosque, (aka the Pink Mosque) Shiraz, Iran

Ceramic tiles ceiling decorating a muqarnas vault at Nasir al-Mulk Mosque,

Glazed tile Inscription dating from the 19th century in the northern iwan (semiopen.space on the edge of a courtyard wall), Nasir-al-Mulk Mosque. Flexible timber, visible poking out of the wall at the top of the image, is used for earthquake resistance. The text is from Al Imran, the 3rd chapter of the Koran

Ceramic tiles ceiling decorating a vault at Nasir al-Mulk Mosque

Detail of muqarnas at  Nasir al-Mulk Mosque, (aka the Pink Mosque) Shiraz, Iran.

Decorated tiled islamic inscription at Nasir al-Mulk Mosque

Nasir al-Mulk Mosque, (aka the Pink Mosque) Shiraz, Iran

Nasir al-Mulk Mosque, (aka the Pink Mosque) Shiraz, Iran is unique and delightful for the widespread use of pink tiling in the decoration. Built 1876 -1888. Architects: Muhammad Hasan-e-Memar and Muhammad Reza Kashi Paz-e-Shirazi.

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