Saint Catherine is a monastery located in the Sinai region of Egypt, close to the foot of Mount Sinai. It has been a place of pilgrimage for centuries due to its religious significance. This is because it is believed to be the site where Moses received the Ten Commandments from God. Saint Catherine is now recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
With its unique position at the base of Mount Sinai, Saint Catherine offers visitors incredible insight into both faith and history. This makes it well worth seeing if you’re visiting this stunning part of the world. In this guide, you’ll learn all there is to know about Saint Catherine and the surrounding Sinai region to prepare for your future travels.
Where is Saint Catherine?
Saint Catherine is located in the Sinai region of Egypt. It is close to the base of Mount Sinai, also known as Jabal Musa. It lies between two mountain ranges: the Red Sea Mountains and the Sinai Peninsula’s Eastern Desert Hills. The monastery is around 161 feet (260 km) from Cairo and can be reached by road or air.
Where is Mount Sinai in Relation to Saint Catherine?
Mount Sinai is located just over two miles away from the monastery of Saint Catherine, making it an easy day trip for travelers wishing to visit. The mountain itself stands at 7,497 feet (2,285 meters). It is considered to be one of the most important religious sites in Judaism, Christianity and Islam. As such, tourists flock to its summit every year. You can take part in religious ceremonies held on top of the mountain or you can take our breathtaking sunrise tour to combine spirituality with nature in one unforgettable adventure.
History of Saint Catherine
Saint Catherine was built by the Byzantine emperor Justinian I in 527 AD. This makes it one of the oldest Christian monasteries in existence. It is situated close to the peak of Mount Sinai – believed by many to be where Moses received God’s Ten Commandments.
The monastery was originally named after Saint Catherine of Alexandria. She was a 4th-century martyr who was killed for her faith. Over time, it has become renowned for its incredible collection of Greek Orthodox icons and manuscripts from as far back as the 4th century CE. Despite facing attacks over the years – namely by the Ottomans – it has remained a place of pilgrimage for many centuries and is now home to over 20 monks.
How to Visit Saint Catherine
There are many options for how you can explore this incredible site. However, the best way to see Saint Catherine is by tour. Our Saint Catherine tours typically include a visit to the main monastery as well as the surrounding small churches and chapels in the complex.
It may also be a good idea to tour Sinai and the mountain’s beautiful peaks and valleys. Many tours offer guided hikes, camel rides, and even overnight camping trips. This is the perfect way to experience the full beauty of this area. And you can even see both Saint Catherine and Sinai on the same tour.
If you’re arriving via car or bus, there are plenty of places to visit along the way. You can even add Mount Sinai to your itinerary using our handy Sinai guide to create an unforgettable trip.
What to Do in Saint Catherine
The main attraction in Saint Catherine is the monastery itself. It can be reached by car, but most visitors choose to climb up Mount Sinai and take in the spectacular views along the way. There are plenty of routes available to the monastery, depending on your fitness level and experience. Once at the top, you’ll find Saint Catherine’s Monastery as well as other impressive religious sites, such as Moses’ Well and Burning Bush. You can see many of these highlights and more with a Saint Catherine tour.
Visiting one of the surrounding Bedouin villages to experience their foods and hospitality is another great option. Here, you’ll learn about the traditional way of life and gain an insight into local culture.
What to Do in Sinai
The Sinai region offers a wealth of activities for visitors. Start with the obvious and take a hike up Mount Sinai, where you can enjoy the stunning views from its peak. You can also explore the nearby Red Sea coast, where you can go snorkeling to witness rare coral reefs and marine life.
The city of Sharm El-Sheikh is one of Egypt’s most popular beach resorts, offering plenty to do on land or sea. For those looking for something more adventurous, head south into the desert for an overnight Bedouin experience that includes camel rides and stargazing under a crystal clear night sky.
Staying in the Sinai Region
There are various accommodation options available for those traveling in the area. If you want to stay near Saint Catherine’s Monastery, there are campsites and hotels within walking distance. However, for those wanting more luxurious options – with breathtaking views of Mount Sinai and all its glory – browse our incredible Sinai hotel list.
Enjoy Saint Catherine & Sinai with Tourist Egypt!
The Sinai region is one of the most beautiful and historic places in Egypt. It’s no wonder that it attracts visitors from all around the world. Saint Catherine, Sinai is a key part of this area’s appeal. There are few better ways to make the most of your visit than by taking a tour with Tourist Egypt. You can also take advantage of our helpful Egypt travel guides to create your own unforgettable journey.