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Flag of Egypt  ,
Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Red Sea, believed to have been parted by Moses during the Exodus to allow the Israelites to escape from the Egyptians, is one of the most beautiful places on Earth.

Located at the tip of the Sinai Peninsula is the town of Sharm el Sheikh which grew from virtually nothing in the eighties to the world class Las Vegas style resort it is today (minus the gambling of course). Known as the City of Peace due to all the international peace conferences it hosts, Sharm el Sheikh is where the Arab leaders hold their annual summit.

The Sinai Peninsula was captured by the Israelis during the Sinai conflict of 1956 then returned to Egypt in 1957. A United Nations peace-keeping force was stationed there until the 1967 Six Day War when it was again captured by Israel and returned to Egypt in 1979 under the Israeli-Egypt Peace Treaty.  

During your visit to this much disputed biblical place, be sure to go snorkeling at Ras Mohammed, smoke shisha at a Bedouin bar and climb Moses Mountain.

Ras Mohammed

         Ras Mohammed National Park is a marine reserve located on the southernmost tip of the Sinai Peninsula. The park boasts an incredible 1000 species of fish along with 150 types of coral making it a hot spot for both diving and snorkeling. 

                Israel initially established the area as a protectorate but when the Sinai Peninsula was returned to Egypt it was no longer protected and the fishing methods popular in the area (such as the use of dynamite) was harming the coral reef and fish populations.  Pressure was placed on the Egyptian government to protect the area so in 1983 the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency made it a marine reserve. Some believe the side of the cliff resembles the head of the prophet Mohammad, hence the name Ras Mohammed meaning Mohammed's head.

Smoke Shisha at a Bedouin Bar

                The Bedouins are a desert-dwelling nomadic group found throughout most of the Sahara and Arabian deserts

                A popular Bedouin saying is "I and my brothers against my cousins, I and my brother and my cousins against the world.  The main cobblestone street in Sharm is lined with Bedouin bars offering tourists a place to smoke shisha – a favourite Egyptian pastime.

Climb Moses Mountain

Moses Mountain is believed by some to be the biblical Mount Sinai where God appear to Moses in the form of a burning bush and told him climb to the top of the mountain to receive the Ten Commandments. 

St. Catherine's Monastery, one of the oldest Christian monasteries in the world, sit sat the foot of the mountain preserving the second largest collection of early manuscripts next to the Vatican Library.  In fact it even contains a document purportedly signed by the Prophet Muhammad called the Charter of Privileges promising the monastery Muhammad’s protection.

Founded in 527 by Emperor St. Justinian the Great, the monastery encloses the chapel founded by Helena, (the mother of Emperor Constantin) to house the actual burning bush that allegedly talked to Moses.

In order to get to the top of the mountain one must hike or ride a camel and then walk up the 3750 Steps of Repentance – a set of stone steps laid by some monks years ago as a form of personal penance. 

When you get to the summit there is a small church signifying the spot believed my some to be the place where Moses received God’s Ten Commandments.

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teresatraveler on

I'll do that, thanks

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