At 2,642 meters, Mt. Katherina is the highest peak in Egypt and, like Mt. Sinai, is one of the peninsula’s most holy mountaintops. It takes its name from St. Katherine, the young Christian convert executed by the Romans in Alexandria during the fourth century CE. Legend relates that angels carried her body to the Sinai region after her execution, laying her to rest atop this mountain. Local monks say the exact whereabouts of her remains were only revealed to one of their number in a dream during the ninth century. The next day, a group climbed the mountain to retrieve her body and to bring it back down to the monastery, which was subsequently renamed the Monastery of St. Katherine in her honor. Her remains, including a venerated withered hand, have been kept in the monastery ever since and remain one of its most closely guarded treasures.

A small chapel stands on the top of one of Mt. Katherina’s peaks today, marking the spot where her remains were found. If you look closely, you’ll see nearby rocks covered with the graffiti of pilgrims.

Just south of the peak bearing this chapel is another peak with two red and white masts on top. This is the higher of the two summits of Mt. Katherina and is sometimes also called Mt. Zebir. Whichever peak you ascend, you’ll enjoy one of the most iconic views in the Sinai. On a good day you can gaze out over the sea to both Africa and Asia and look back to the deserts crossed by earlier sections of the Abraham Path.

Along the Abraham Path in the:

MT. SINAI REGION


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Sites in the Mt. Sinai Region:

Ancient Leopard Traps

See the old leopard traps of the Sinai: on windswept mountain passes, hunters used these to trap leopards until the great animals’ disappearance in the 1950s.

Blue Desert

Discover a desert mountain where the rocks are painted blue. One of the Sinai’s most surreal landscapes, it commemorates Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel.

Ein Hudera

Visit one of the Sinai’s most beautiful oases, a watering point on the old pilgrim route between Jerusalem and Mount Sinai and – according to some – the biblical Hazeroth.

Hajar al-Maktub

Examine a rock etched with graffiti by millennia of pilgrims as they passed between Jerusalem and the peak of Mount Sinai.

St. Katherine’s Monastery

Visit the Byzantine Monastery of St. Katherine, probably the oldest functioning Christian monastery in the world and certainly one of the most iconic.

Mt. Sinai

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Wander the little-trodden corners of one of the holiest mountain peaks in the world, discovering chapels, mosques, and other remnants of past centuries of veneration.

Nawamis Tombs

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Explore the Sinai’s prehistoric nawamis tombs, burial chambers built by the early peoples of the peninsula with doorways facing the setting sun.

Orchards of St. Katherine

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Discover a unique part of Bedouin culture in the high mountain orchards of Saint Katherine – colorful islands of green in a rocky landscape of red mountains.