st. catherine monastery

St. Catherine Monastery

02Jul

St. Catherine Monastery

The Orthodox Monastery of St Catherine stands at the foot of Mount Horeb where, the Old Testament records, Moses received the Tablets of the Law. The mountain is known and revered by Muslims as Jebel Musa. The entire area is sacred to three world religions: Christianity, Islam, and Judaism.

The Monastery, founded in the 6th century, is the oldest Christian monastery still in use for its initial function. Its walls and buildings of great significance to studies of Byzantine architecture and the Monastery houses outstanding collections of early Christian manuscripts and icons.

The rugged mountainous landscape, containing numerous archaeological and religious sites and monuments, forms a perfect backdrop to the Monastery.

pharaoh's-island

Pharaoh’s Island

02Jul

Pharaoh’s Island

Popular sightseeing attraction among tourists, due to its coral reef and purported universal cultural value; as it was added onto the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List on July 28th, 2003.s

Its history refers to the period where Crusaders defending the route between Cairo and Damascus controlled by the nearby city of Aqaba, in Jordan, built a citadel on the small island, which they called Ile de Graye, referred to asAyla or Aila in Arabic chronicles of the era, which also referred to a town of the same name on an island on the opposite side of the gulf. By the winter of 1116, the island was almost deserted.

In December 1170, Saladin conquered the island and reconstructed the citadel and left a garrison of men there. In November 1181, Raynald of Châtillon raided the Arab-held Aila and attempted to set up a naval blockade against the Muslim troops there during the winter of 1182 to 1183.

The blockade consisted of only two ships and was not successful. By the time of the 13th century, when the pilgrim Thietmar passed the island in 1217, the entire place was inhabited by a fishing village and populated by Muslims and captive Franks. The Mamluk governor of the city of Aqaba lived in the citadel until some time in the 14th century, around 1320, when the seat of governorship was moved into the city itself.

colored-canyoun

Colored Canyon

27Jun

Colored Canyon

The Coloured Canyon presents one of the most magnificent rock formations in the world. Driving through the Watir Valley to reach the canyon, the rock formations are an incomparable attraction: they vary from sandstone to limestone, granite and veins of basalt dominate the scenery through the entire hike.

It’s a maze of sandstone rocks in hues of yellow, purple, red, magenta and gold reaching up in some places a height of 40 meters. The uneven forms and height of the rocks sometimes make climbing necessary, so be prepared and try to get there as early as possible, not only because of the weather, but also to avoid the crowds. Although you might agree that the magic of the place is best enjoyed when you’re on your own, you will have to take a guided tour. Our team will be happy to assist you organizing your trip and if you wish you can have your guide booked through the Front Office.

Castle Zaman

Castle Zaman

27Jun

 

Castle Zaman

East of the Sinai Peninsula, overlooking the Gulf of Aqaba, this impressive monument commands a dramatic, mountainous view of four countries: Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt. Zaman Castle is centrally located 40km south of Eilat, Israel, and only 50km away from Naqb airport in Taba. The exact site signifies a landmark on the ancient road connecting St. Catherine’s Monastery with Jerusalem.

Strict adherence has been given to ancient construction techniques, which were revived specifically for the project. Environmental awareness at Castle Zaman Taba Every single stone has been handpicked from nearby mountains. Neither metal nor concrete were used in the castle’s construction.  To maintain authenticity, and to accord with historically accurate architectural design, only local materials were used in the construction.A true architectural achievement, the castle revives ancient techniques of building stone vaults and cross vaults.

abu-galum-national-park

Abo Galum National Park

27Jun

Abo Galum National Park

Wildlife reserve established in 1992; among the most picturesque Protected areas in Egypt. Its spectacular granite mountains ending abruptly on a narrow coastal plain, fronted by rich coral reefs. The area also encloses narrow sinuous valleys, fresh water springs, coastal sand dunes, gravel alluvial fans, raised fossil reefs and low-lying semi sabkha. Contains varied ecosystems and habitat types. Management of these areas is based on the premise that all contained habitats are linked by physical and biological processes. High altitude deserts and connecting wadi systems form catchment watersheds, providing fresh water to habitats at lower elevations. The highlands provide for a multitude of micro-habitats supporting flora and fauna that are well adapted to this environment.

During infrequent winter rains, flash floods will wash through wadis transporting seeds and organic materials to lowland areas. Gravels and sands are also transported. These will be deposited in downstream areas often establishing new areas for plant growth. Small, shaded indentations on hillsides will retain water for extended periods and serve as water reservoirs for local fauna. When water and forage is scarce these animals move to lowland areas

It houses 167 plant species, 44 of these species are seen only in this area. It is a floristic frontier falling under the influence of a tropical climate but having predominantly Mediterranean conditions. Abu Galum contains the largest number of Nubian Ibex, Hyrax, Red Fox and Striped Hyena. Ten species of lizards and snakes have been identified in the area where three of them are very dangerous namely the Black Cobra, the Horned Viper and Burton’s Carpet Viper. Fringe reef is near the coast.

The Abu Galum Protected Area is managed to ensure that its natural resources are safeguarded from all destructive activities. As a result, diving sites and shore access points are being prepared, nature trails through mountain areas have been identified, the area is being kept clean, Bedouin fishing activities are regulated, and a visitor center is under construction.

moses-mountain

Moses Mountain

27Jun

Moses Mountain

This is the mountain where God spoke to Moses. That, at least, is the overwhelming belief, and the belief itself has drawn pilgrims for over a thousand years. Although no archaeological evidence of Moses’ presence on the mountain exists, there are abundant relics of faith throughout the eons.

Ancient chapels and structures honoring saints and the Virgin Mary appear all along the main route, called Sikket Saydna Musa (“The Path of Moses”), including a stone-hewn arch where, long ago, a monk once sat and heard confession from the pilgrims.

Nearing the summit, one encounters the natural amphitheater where the 70 wise men waited while God spoke with Moses, then finally a small chapel and mosque at the top.