Small, circular tombs known as nawamis are a signature feature of the Sinai landscape and are found scattered across the region in both the desert and mountainous areas. It’s thought that early mining settlers in the peninsula built these tombs around 6000 years ago, rendering them the oldest man-made structures in the Sinai. Wherever you find them – almost without exception – they’re built in a similar fashion: on sweeps of high ground with wide, commanding views over the landscape. Their doorways usually face west; no one is sure of the ancient significance of this orientation, but most archaeologists think it had some early religious meaning connected to death and the setting sun.

The word nawamis comes from namoos, Arabic for mosquito. The tombs inherited this name from an old Bedouin legend that Moses and the Israelites originally built the structures during their wanderings in the desert as shelter from a plague of biting insects.

Gazing out over a vast, panoramic sweep of desert surrounding Wadi Rum, the largest group of nawamis in the Sinai consists of 32 tombs clustered together. Just a short distance from this site is the small Bedouin village Nawamis, named after this nearby historical point of interest. The village is accessible by taxi or public minibus and serves as a good halfway point along the Abraham Path’s route through the region.

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.

Mt. Katherina

Gaze out over the distant Red Sea from the peak of Egypt’s highest mountain, where legends claim that St. Catherine’s remains were found many centuries ago.

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.

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.