The Greek Orthodox Monastery of Saint Catherine on Mount Sinai
located in the South Sinai Governorate of Egypt. It famous for being
the oldest active Christian monastery. Monastery of Saint Catherine
was constructed here in 527 on a site that was inhabited by
Christian refuges who fled persecutions from the pagan emperors.
According to a legend this is a site where Moses spoke to God that
appeared to him in a form of a burning bush mentioned in the Book of
Exodus. Main building of the Monastery of Saint Catherine is the
Church of the Transfiguration there is an exhibition of icons and
old books in the vestibule. It is only a small part of the whole
collection that is owned by the monastery. Marble floors of the
basilica and caisson ceiling date to the 18th century and gilded
iconostasis to the 17th century. In the altar monks keep a silver
casket of Saint Catherine's remains.
Over the alter stands
the Chapel of the Burning Bush, the most sacred part of the
monastery. You will have to remove your shoes before entering the
chapel. The alter of the chapel, supported by the marble columns,
stands on top of the place where Biblical shrubs was said to grow. A
similar bush grows in the courtyard. The Monastery of Saint
Catherine is particularly famous for its huge collection of 3,000
manuscripts. The bell tower of the monastery was added in the 19th
century on donations from Russia. All of nine bells were also cast
by the Russian masters.