Saint Catherine Overview
It is located at the outskirts of El-Tur Mountains at an elevation of 1586 m (5200 ft), 120 km away from Nuweiba with population is 4,603 (1994). It is built around what is thought to be Moses' Burning Bush, which has a chapel built atop it.
It is a spectacular natural setting for priceless works of art, including Arab mosaics, Greek and Russian icons, Western oil paintings, paintings on wax, fine sacerdotal ornaments, marbles, enamels, chalices, reliquaries, including one donated by Czar Alexander II in the 19th century, and another by Empress Catherine of Russia in the 17th century.
Most visitors arrive on organized coach tours from the Red Sea resorts of Sharm el Sheikh, Taba and Dahab in the evening, have dinner and maybe a couple of hours sleep in a hotel, climb the mountain at dawn, visit the Monastery in the morning and return to the resort. St. Catherine and Mt. Sinai can be visited independently as well, avoiding the busy times on the mountain and discovering the rest of what this unique region offers.
The Saint Katherine National Park abuts the coastal reserves of Ras Mohammed National Park, the Nabq and Ras Abu Galum Managed Resource Areas that lie along the Gulf of Aqaba. The coastal resorts, a mainstay of the Egyptian economy, are among the fastest growing tourism developments in the world.
Their relative proximity to the Saint Katherine monastery and Mount Sinai has resulted in a growing number of visitors to the National Park. The protection of the arearoutes, unique natural and cultural values was a primary goal in the declaration of the St. Catherine National Park.
But, a wider national objective was to underpin and expand the tourist industry in Sinai. The aim was to enhance the quality of tourism by promoting environmental and cultural tourism in premium wilderness areas. In so doing it was concluded that conservation would become an attractive option to rural people by linking sustainable tourism with local community development. In pursuit of these goals the management unit of the St. Catherine National Park actively promotes environmental and cultural tourism in these areas.