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Saint Catherine

Within a gorge of an extraordinary mountain range lays an extraordinary relic of the 5th century. A site of great religious significance, Saint Catherine’s monastery is one of the oldest working Christian monasteries in the world. The monastery is part of the wider Eastern Orthodox Church and has been dubbed a UNESCO World Heritage Site, or a place of substantial historical and cultural value, thus falling under the protection of international law. Located in South Sinai, Egypt, the monastery has become part of Saint Catherine City, a city that was literally built around the monastery, creating an amalgam between the old and the new. A collection of some of the earliest works of art in existence, the world’s oldest operational library, and the well where Moses first met his wife are a mere fragment of the astoundingly rich antiquities Saint Catherine’s has to offer. To crown the experience, you can witness, and even participate, in the mass held by some of the most devout monks in the country, surrounded by millennia-old artifacts in the Church of Transfiguration. Try to get a tour guide so you can take in as much as possible.

If the call to adventure beckons you, then perhaps you can take a day to climb the wondrous Mount Moses that lies adjacent to the city. Atop this stone behemoth is where many believe God spoke to Moses; a magnificent 2,000 foot-high view. There’s still so much to explore around the monastery too, so gear up, mount a stallion and trek through the desert with your own personal guide. Discover this spiritual beacon that withstood the erosive tests of time and human-kind.