Despite the reported disturbances in the Egyptian capitol Cairo, which can’t be ignored, the tourist facilities along the Red Sea remain calm and accessible.
There is a great deal more to discover in the land of Egypt than the pyramids and the Valley of the Kings!
From the discovery of the Nag Hammadi Texts and the Dead Sea Scrolls, to the Sacred Monastery of St. Catharine’s where today is housed the largest collection of scared documents and religious icons in the world!
As an archaeologist involved with the investigative study of the world’s most sacred and unexplained artifact – the sacred Shroud of Turin -it was to this magical outpost of Christendom that I headed in 2008.
The Monastery of St.Catherines is the smallest dioceses in the world and the oldest Christian Monastery in the world – it houses the largest collection of precious manuscripts and the richest collection of Icons.
Helena – the mother of Emperor Constantine in the year 330, founded it. Originally just a small chapel situated on the spot where the biblical account said Moses spoke to god in the burning bush. Raids and murders plagued the small chapel throughout the 6th century until Emperor Justinina in 530 ordered the construction of the fortress that exists today.
Originally the only entrance was by way of a ‘lift’ seen situated above the present entrance by which visitors can enter today.
There are over 6000 manuscripts in more than 10 languages and over 2000 ancient Icons dating to before the 5th century.
Our starting point was the Marriott Taba Heights Resort. Located on the shores of the Red Sea in what has literally become the Egyptian Riviera. This magnificent resort offers security and all the facilities one expects from a 5 star Marriott property.
Our beach front apartment offered all the comforts of home and the all inclusive buffet breakfast and dinner was outstanding. Our air-conditioned coach drove us to a short walking distance from the monastery, which is located right in the heart of the Sinai Desert.
On our return we gave the buffet a miss and enjoyed a cabaret dinner show “Bedouin Night” complete with supplied Bedouin outfits provided by the Hotel in their Grotto Restaurant located beneath a giant rock located beside the swimming pool. Dancers from across Egypt and a Roasted Lamb served and cooked on the dance floor were the highlights of the evening.
As with most international destinations it is advisable to check with the governments on- line warning travel advisory before you book anything! Tourism remains the life blood of the Egyptian economy and your safety is paramont to insuring the flow of tourist dollars.
Dr. Peter J. Shield PhD (http://pjshield.com )