Mount Moses and the monastery of St. Catherine – a holy place marked by the Bible, is visited by thousands of pilgrims. According to the Bible, here Moses received from God the famous 10 commandments written on tablets of stone. At the foot of the mountain is a monastery, named after the holy martyr Catherine, who was executed for her refusal to renounce Christianity.
St. Catherine came from a wealthy family, received a good education – she knew many languages, knew mathematics and philosophy. She was a staunch Christian. When the young woman tried to convert the Roman emperor Maxentius to Christianity, he sent her to Alexandria, where in 305 she was martyred. On the site of this monastery, built in the VI century by Emperor Justian, the bush of the Burning Cupids grows, from where God spoke with Moses, sending him to Egypt to save the Israelites from captivity. In 324, the mother of Emperor Constantine Helen ordered the construction of a chapel on the site of the burning bush.
It is assumed that the roots of the biblical bush are under the altar, resting on marble columns. The main monastery church contains the relics of St. Catherine. There are also wonderful works of art – the Byzantine mosaic of the VI century, ancient icons. The monastery collection has more than two thousand icons. The library of the monastery in its collection of religious literature and manuscripts is considered the second after the Vatican. There are many Russian icons and old books. To protect against the ongoing raids of nomadic tribes, the monastery in 537 was turned into a fortress. After the Islamization of Egypt in the X century. a mosque was erected on the territory of the monastery – this wise step allowed avoiding the destruction of the monastery.
The mountain of Moses (Jebel Musa) will certainly rise in the dark to be the first to meet the dawn. The path to the mountain (the peak is located at an altitude of 2.285 meters above sea level) is not short, but not very difficult either – the monks knocked out 3750 steps.
There are benches and drinks for sale along the route. Many pilgrims from all over the world come here and make this journey to meet the dawn here and experience a feeling of indescribable delight from the beauty seen. According to legend, the Lord forgives all sins at that moment. At the very top there is a small chapel dedicated to the Holy Trinity, frescoes in the chapel describe the life of Moses. The mosaic on the walls of the chapel – the only surviving evidence of the 4th and 6th centuries AD, depicts the Virgin Mary with the baby Jesus in her arms in the center of the Burning Bush, and Moses and Ilya are standing on her sides.
Not far from the monastery grew the small town of St. Catherine. The main concern of its residents is to serve numerous foreign tourists. For them, several hotels of different classes, restaurants, and a shopping center were built.