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.

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