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It takes a few hours by bus or car from Dahab (or even more from Sharm el Sheikh) to arrive to the monastary and it looks magificent on the outside. Big walled complex with an orthodox church, a mosk, library rebuild during Napoleon occupation, belltower (gift from Russian emperor). All situated at the foot of the the Mozes mountain.
But only a very very small part of the complex is open for visitors (till 12.30 I think). You can walk through the gate and then do 15 steps to the right were the enterance of the Greek Orthodox church is. In the church itself we were only allowed to walk 5 meters, there were ropes hanging in front of us that prevented us from walking around. Even with a limited amount of tourist, the church fills up very quickely and you have troubles watching. It is quite a nice small orthodox church, but for me (not being an expert) nothing that I have not seen before in other orthodox churches. But formost, because of the crowds, I could feel no religious / contemplative atmosphere that I was expecting. Outside the church you could do some steps again in the other direction and you could see the place where -according to the legend- Mozes saw the burning bush.
And then there is a little icon-museum (but the same as in the church).
But I was disappointed not to see the library, the mosk, belltower etc. The things that make this complex culturally diverse and interesting (so many religions on one spot).
For me it is only worth while when you are deeply religious and want to be on the exact spot Mozes was.
Unique Suggestions: Enjoy the views of the monastry from the outside. And go to a greek or russian orthodox church somewhere else in Europe where you can experience more of the atmosphere. Hire a bedouin guide and make a wonderful walk in the surroundings (which are great, exept for the hotels that are situated near the monastry, they are very rundown and desolated).
Fun Alternatives: -Hire a bedouin and go for walks in that great area. (the mountains of the Sinai are very interesting, different colours, structures, sometimes open spaces, big rocks, small ones, etc. very diverse)
Updated Dec 28, 2012
Well, when they call you my friend or say something like "Because you are my friend..." You should be aware. Because they have made things more expensive and then give you so-called discount!!
Unique Suggestions: If you think the price is not reasonable, you can try to LEAVE the shop and see how the owner reacts, or cut the price into half first. The price may be cheap for foreigners but A LOT more expensive for the locals.
Fun Alternatives: Just leave. No need to worry about hurting their feelings, they should have seen a lot people who turned away and left.
Written Jul 29, 2005
1 Review and 524 Opinions We didn`t actually stay here but we here for lunch and had a good look around and people we spoke...