St Katherine Protectorate (Important Birds Areas of Egypt)
"Four primary avian habitat-types can be identified in the National Park: mountains, wadis, plains and oases. Mountain habitat includes hilly country and slopes, as well as narrow small wadis, gullies and ravines. These are usually poorly vegetated at lower elevations, although higher up very thin vegetation cover shrouds the mountain slopes and diversity is fairly high. Wadis contain much of the vegetation in the region. However, frequent flash floods render many of the narrow wadis and torrent beds plantless. Several plains and plateaus are found at high altitude. Elwat El Agramya is one of the largest. Some wadi beds, particularly at lower elevations, are very wide and plain-like. The largest and best-known oasis is Feiran. Many orchards and small areas of cultivation are scattered in wadis, particularly at higher elevations. ... The resident bird community of the St Katherine Protectorate includes the majority of Egypt's Sahara-Sindian biome-restricted species. Many of these species are not well represented or are not present at all in any other IBA in Egypt."
Honor codes of the Bedouin
"Ird is the Bedouin honour code for women. A woman is born with her ird intact, but sexual transgression could take her ird away. Ird is different from virginity, as it is emotional / conceptual. Once lost, ird cannot be regained. 
Sharaf is the general Bedouin honor code for men. It can be acquired, augmented, lost and regained. Sharaf involves protection of the ird of the women of the family, protection of property, maintenance of the honor of the tribe and protection of the village (if the tribe has settled down).
Hospitality (diyafa) is a virtue closely linked to Sharaf. If required, even an enemy must be given shelter and fed for some days..."
Climbing in Santa Catherine area in South Sinai
All you need to know about rock climbing in the area. Maps, route descriptions, photos, background information.
"To navigate this site it is recommended that you start from the Interactive schema of climbing areas page containing links to pictures of main climbing walls (with routes). Every route has its own index (i.e. E21), that can also be found in List of climbing routes. Some descriptions of routes can be located by clicking on a route from List or by clicking on index from schemas."
The Medicinal Plants Conservation Project
There is a comprehensive database aimed "to inform and educate protectorate managers, policy makers, scientists as well as the general public about medicinal plant species and their associated value". There are 481 different species of medicinal plants, all found in South Sinai, listed in the database. Unfortunatelly the common name of the plants is listed in Arabic only.
"The St. Katherine's Herbarium is now complete with 353 herbarium sheets housed at the St. Katherine's office" and you can search and view many of these sheets online.
Into the hills (By Ragi Halim)
Trekking in Wadi Arbain and visiting Ramadan's Rock Hyrax Farm
"That's no elephant! The desert creature known as the rock hyrax is excruciatingly shy in the wild, but the hyraxes kept by Ramadan Musa Abu Said, a Bedouin from southern Sinai, have been tamed --just one of the small adventures among the treks of Saint Catherine Protectorate"
The importance of the written word
"The Ministry of Culture, in cooperation with the custodians of the monastery, have announced a three-phase project, the first of which includes comprehensive documentation of all the manuscripts -- one of the richest monastic collections in the world and second in importance only to the Vatican. (...) Manuscripts in the library exceeded all previous estimates put forward in existing catalogues and hand-lists, which registered a total of about 2,000 codices. The new study revealed that the Greek manuscripts alone numbered 2,250, Arabic manuscripts in the neighbourhood of 600, and Armenian, Coptic, Georgian, Polish, Slavic and Syriac numbering several hundred volumes."
World Heritage sites in panography - Sainte Catherine Monastery
"The WHTour is a non-profit org documenting in panographies (360-degree imaging) all sites registered on the World Heritage List by UNESCO. [...] This is for people who are willing to know more about the natural and cultural heritage of our world in order to share, enjoy and protect it for future generations."
St Catherine's on the list
"The UNESCO World Heritage Committee added the monastery in Sinai to its list of protected sites at its meeting in Budapest on 28 June. Jill Kamil describes what has been tabled as mixed property -- cultural and natural [...] The first steps to conserve the natural and cultural features of South Sinai were taken back in 1996 when the St Catherine Protectorate was declared under the management of the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency (EEAA) and the commission of the European Union. The aim then was to conserve the area by laying down certain rules for visitors. These included respecting the sanctity of the land; protecting its large variety of flora and fauna (some unique to Sinai); forbidding visitors from removing or interfering with animals, plants or rocks; requesting them to dress conservatively when visiting the monastery and to respect the local cultures of the Bedouin (seven different tribes live in or around the protectorate); and ensuring that people remove their litter or place it in the bins provided."
Al Ahram Weekly
Gabal Musa safaris
"Climbing Mount Catherine is quite a different experience. This, at 2,842 metres above sea level, is the highest peak in the peninsula. The summit peak is a huge, naked block of granite descending steeply on all sides, making it easy to identify. The mountain, which lies south-west of Mount Sinai, can be approached from the plain of Raha via Wadi El-Luju. The base of the mountain is abundant in desert herbs and reeds which provide nutritious feed for camels and goats. Unlike Mount Sinai, the foliage grows denser as one climbs upwards. On the summit is a small chapel, built into the contours of the rock face and dedicated to Saint Catherine, the patron saint of the monastery, whose body, according to monastic legend, was carried there by angels after her martyrdom in Alexandria. The view from the summit of Mount Catherine takes in a wider vista than that of Mount Sinai."
A Camel trek in Sinai
"Our route up into the mountains was steep but on a substantial path. As we toiled up, we could see one of our two camels below as it followed us. At the high point of the pass we sat for a while beside the remains of an old leopard trap before making a gentle descent into a region where the valley base was lined with walled orchards or bustans. The date was early February and many of the trees were covered in blossom."
The Greek Orthodox fathers of Saint Catherine Monastery have opened its Treasury to the public. A special gallery has been built within the monastery so selected holy objects can be exhibited in showcases, properly documented with concise information in English and Arabic
IN THE SANDS OF SINAI, AN ANCIENT MONASTERY
"The monastic life is stern. There are three fast days a week when the monks eat only vegetables boiled without olive oil. (...) At 4 A.M. they wake up and pray in their cells until 8. From 8 to 9 is a rest period, which ends with each monk doing the task assigned to him, which might include working in the library, digging in the garden or cleaning icons. Lunch (the day's first nourishment) is served about 1 P.M. and all monks eat together in silence while a novice reads aloud from a religious text. From 1:30 P.M. until 3 is a rest period; vespers are held until 5, when the monks return to their cells. At 10 P.M. lights are turned out but the monks are permitted to read in their cells by lamplight or candles. "
New York Times
Butterfly ecology and conservation in the mountains of South Sinai, Egypt, and a small portfolio of photographs, sketches and paintings.
Mount Sinai, Egypt
"On the peak of Jebel Musa stands a small chapel dedicated to the Holy Trinity. This chapel, constructed in 1934 on the ruins of a 16th church, is believed to enclose the rock from which God made the Tablets of the Law. In the western wall of this chapel is a cleft in the rock where Moses is said to have hidden himself as God's glory passed by (Exodus 33:22). Seven hundred and fifty steps below the summit and its chapel is the plateau known as Elijah's Basin, where Elijah spent 40 days and nights communing with God in a cave. Nearby is a rock on which Aaron, the brother of Moses, and 70 elders stood while Moses received the law (Exodus 24:14). Northwest of Elijah's plateau hardy pilgrims visit Jebel Safsaafa, where Byzantine hermits such as St. Gregory lived and prayed. Beneath the 2168 meter summit of Ras Safsaafa stands the Plain of ar-Raaha, where camped the Israelites at the time Moses ascended the mountain and where Moses erected the first tabernacle."
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