Masked in magic, mystery and magnificence, the Egyptian coastal city of Sharm el Sheikh embodies much more than its sun-kissed beaches splashed by the turquoise blue waters and the pulsating nightlife. In fact, the city that sits on the southern coasts of the Gulf of Aqaba is more frequented by tourists who wish to soak under the Egyptian sun and delve into the underwater world. But, go a little deeper and you will be able to savor the mystical connections that link this city to the Biblical phenomena. The treasure trove of marvelous monuments and scintillating sites conjure up the very enigma and enchantment of the events that took place thousands of years back.
St. Catherine’s Monastery
Dating back to the 4th Century, the St. Catherine’s Monastery is among the most ancient Christian monasteries in the whole of the world. The monastery protected by a fort comprises a chapel, some monastic edifices and the Church of Transfiguration. On your visit to the site, you can catch a glimpse of a descendent of the historic burning bush that Moses had beheld and which was witnessed at this place. The library is steeped with valuable manuscripts and repositories that have been kept intact as this place had never been laid ambush. The monastery is so named after the saint of the same name whose body was supposedly placed here by the angels and her sepulcher is found in this monastery.
Chapel of Burning Bush
Remember the illuminated bush that enlightened Moses when he first heard God’s voice? Forming the very spiritual crux of the monastery is the Chapel of the Burning Bush which embraces some remnants of St. Catherine as well as comprises the site of the iconic bush. The chapel was raised under the commands of the mother of Emperor Constantine, Empress Helen.
El-Arish, Sinai Heritage Museum
If you wish to get a taste of what the nomads of the country, the Bedouin’s lifestyle was like the Sinai Heritage Museum is just the site you would want to be. The museum is a fine repertoire of the artifacts, antique handicraft items, apparel and other accessories used by the Bedouin.
Seven Elders of Israel Amphitheater
The site of this stunning amphitheater is somewhere in between the foot and the peak of the Sinai Mountains and is a true spectacle to behold.
Impeccable, inimitable and intricate- these are descriptions of the series of rock formations at the colored canyon that stretches for about 800 meters. Candy-hued and beautifully carved, these meandering rock formations are a true spectacle bringing out yet again the immense capabilities of nature to instill magic and aura to its creation. The site in the midst of the hot desert can be quite a hectic tour and therefore take plenty of water along to sip in intermittently.
Take a day off to explore Egypt’s enigmatic mangrove forests in their ultimate beauty and bounty, lying at about a distance of 35 kilometers from Sharm-el-Sheikh, at the Nabeq Stretch. Behold the lush green opulence standing with their own charisma amidst the arid deserts and the backdrop of the Mount Sinai. A lot of flora and fauna have developed in these mangrove swamps as they are indeed like an oasis set against the Red Sea in the middle of a dry desert landscape. Straddled on the shores of the Red Sea, with the help of the strong periscope roots that go deep into the marshy soil and some of them stretching their hands to arrive at the water body, the spot is a must-visit one.
Other points of note include the Serabit el Khadem for its archeological marvels, the Peninsula of Ras Muhammad, a beautiful National Park, the Pharaoh’s island with its clear turquoise inlet waters and the Dahab for its coral magic.