• 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.

The Sinai is famous for its beautiful, red rock mountains. Some even claim that these mountains, together with the mountains on the other side of the gulf in mainland Egypt, give the Red Sea its name. Just a few kilometers outside the town of St. Katherine, though, at the foot of these fabled red mountains, are rocks with a very different colour: a vivid shade of blue. Huge blue outcrops stand scattered across a vast, sloping plain once known as the Plain of Sened but often just called Jebel Millowin (the Colored Mountain) or the Blue Desert. They were painted blue by the Belgian artist Jean Verame in the 1980s to celebrate Egypt’s peace deal with Israel. Getting the go-ahead for the work was no easy task: Verame spent two years trying to get approval from authorities before President Mohammed Anwar Sadat intervened to give his personal permission.

With the Sadat’s seal of approval – plus 10 tons of paint supplied by the UN – Verame set out to make his dream of painting the Sinai blue a reality. He began the work in 1980 and finished the following year.

It’s one of several deserts that Verame has painted across the world.

Along the Abraham Path in the:

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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.

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.

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.