Mount Sinai is one of the most important sites in the world for Jews, Christians, and Muslims to visit. The mountain sits in the southern part of the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt, and its tallest peak is 2,285 m (7,497 ft). You may have heard the name Mount Sinai, but there’s a lot you probably don’t know about it, some of the main questions being, “What is Mount Sinai?”, “Where is Mount Sinai?”, or “How tall is Mount Sinai?” While it’s easy to answer basic questions, there’s still so much more to learn about this famous mountain, and some things you can only discover by going there yourself. In this article, we’ll explore the history of Mount Sinai, how to get there, and what to do when you’re there.
So, what happened on Mount Sinai to make it a historic and holy place? Many believe this mountain is the actual spot where Moses received the Ten Commandments from God, making it one of the most important places for Bible believers in the world! It has been a pilgrimage site for Jews, Christians and Muslims since ancient times. It is also known as Mount Horeb or Jabal Musa in Arabic.
The mountain was first mentioned in the Bible when God appeared to Moses in the form of a burning bush and told him to take off his sandals because he was standing on holy ground. If you were wondering where Mount Sinai is in the Bible exactly, it can be found in Exodus 3:1-2.
The earliest archaeological evidence of Jewish presence at Mount Sinai dates back to the 12th century BC, with numerous artefacts discovered around its base. In 333 BC, the Greek historian Ptolemy mentioned Mount Sinai in his writings. Monks from the Orthodox Church of Jerusalem visited Sinai later and it became a significant pilgrimage site for Christians.
In 637 AD, Islamic Caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab captured the mountain and it has been an important pilgrimage site for Muslims ever since. Mount Sinai is important because it is a holy site for Jews, Christians, and Muslims alike. Because of its religious significance, it unifies these faiths that often have conflicting beliefs.
How to Visit Mount Sinai
The best way to visit Mount Sinai is undoubtably with a tour group. Tours to Mount Sinai vary in duration and what is offered, perfect for whatever adventure you’re looking for. Most of our Mount Sinai tours offer pick-up and drop-off from Egypt’s most popular places to stay like Nuweiba, Sharm el Sheikh and Cairo.
One of the most beautiful and exciting ways to see Mount Sinai is through a sunrise tour, where you can climb the mountain at daybreak, and then see beautiful religious sites like St. Catherine’s Monastery and the site of the burning bush before swimming in the Red Sea.
If you’re interested in really immersing yourself in ancient history, opt for a camel ride to the famous mount! This camel riding and desert camping tour lasting two days allows you to explore some of the most mysterious parts of the desert. If you’d like the journey to last longer, though, there is a four-day camel riding tour that leaves from Cairo and features many of the sites and experiences already listed, like desert camping, St. Catherine, and a stunning view of the sunrise.
If you would like to see more of Cairo, there is a tour that pairs Cairo and Sinai together, lasting just three days and allowing you to see the best of Sinai plus the Nile, the pyramids, and the Egyptian Museum.
And if you’re not the group tour type, there is a private tour to Mount Sinai and St. Catherine that features fantastic sites, an authentic meal, and snorkelling, all in just one day.
Around the Mountain
While Mount Sinai has plenty to offer, there is also plenty to do in the area, as mentioned in the tours described above. Here’s a list of some of the best things to do while you’re in this special area:
- Visit St. Catherine’s Monastery: One of the oldest monasteries in the world, located at the foot of Mount Sinai
- See the Burning Bush: This is where it says God revealed himself to Moses
- Swim in the Red Sea: Enjoy some much-needed relaxation after your climb up the mount
- Explore Cairo: See the pyramids, the Sphinx, the Nile, and many fascinating museums
- Snorkel at Ras Mohamed National Park: Experience the wonders of underwater life in this national park
While camping near or in Sinai is an exciting part of journeying there, you will still likely need to find someplace to stay nearby. One popular option is to stay in one of the many Bedouin camps. These are located all around Sinai and offer a unique cultural experience and breathtaking views of the desert landscape.
You could also opt for a luxury hotel or local resort. Though these tend to be more expensive than the Bedouin camp stays, by Western standards they are still affordable. There are also quite a few hostels available in nearby cities like Sharm el Sheikh, Dahab, and Nuweiba that provide basic amenities at affordable prices.
If you would like more specific ideas of where to stay, this comprehensive guide will help you decide what accommodations are best for you.
A Mountain of Activities
Is Mount Sinai worth visiting? The answer is a resounding “yes”. Mount Sinai is an incredible place that has been a pilgrimage site for millennia. There are many ways to get there and plenty to do when you’re there, making it one of the best places in Egypt for adventure and spiritual exploration. No matter how you choose to experience this iconic mountain, it will leave you with memories that last a lifetime.
For unforgettable experiences in the Sinai Peninsula and the surrounding area, check out our tours to the famous mountain. We have tours that suit anyone and everyone at affordable prices and are sure to make your trip to Egypt the best you’ve ever had.