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Saint Catherine's Monastery


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Saint Catherine's Monastery, set beneath the mountain where Moses is said to have received the Ten Commandments, was built by command of the Emperor Justinian in about CE 520 to house the bones of St. Catherine of Alexandria. The Monastery has been one of the world's great centers of religious pilgrimage for over fifteen centuries. Within its imposing walls rests a citadel like no other, incredibly rich in important religious and historical structures. Among its treasures is a library of ancient manuscripts and icons second only to the Vatican's itself, and a 6th century church reputed to lie directly on the site of the Burning Bush.

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Saint Catherine's MonasterySaint Catherine's Monastery sits dramatically among the mountains of Sinai.

Mt. SinaiBehind the monastery soars The Mountain of Moses, the Mount Sinai of the Bible, where Moses is said to have received the Ten Commandments. Many visitors are tempted to climb the steps which have been cut by the monks -- all 3,750 of them! At 3 AM! In the freezing cold! It takes about 3 hours to climb the 7,498-foot peak following the Path of Moses. We were insane. I'm smiling here because we're on the way down.

Woman and goatsA Bedouin woman tends to her family's goats. This picture was taken on the way back from St. Catherine's Monastery.

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All pictures are Copyright 1998 - 2001 Grisel Gonzalez

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