St. Catherine's Monastery Tour with Lunch
Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt
- House of Worship: Visit the 6th-century church built by order of Byzantine Emperor Justinian I and surrounding structures that include a Fatimid mosque and Jethro's Well.
- Ancient religious artifacts: Browse the monastery's museum and displays of various religious artifacts and artwork.
- Burning bush: See a living replica of the bramble set afire that Moses supposedly took as a sign from God, plus the Chapel of the Burning Bush with the world's oldest roof truss.
- Seaside lunch: Enjoy a delicious meal at a leading hotel in Dahab, on the coast of the Sinai Peninsula. Formerly a Bedouin fishing village, Dahab is a renowned for kitesurfing.
About This Sharm El Sheikh Tour
Growing up as a princess in 4th-century Alexandria, Catherine could have married a social equal and lived a posh lifestyle, but that was not her path. Her mother, a secret Christian, encouraged her daughter to seek help from her spiritual elder. After receiving his counsel, then seeing a vision of the Virgin Mary and Jesus, 14-year old Catherine converted to the faith. It was a risky move in the time of pagan Roman Empire rule.
Exceptionally intelligent, refined, and educated, Catherine rebuked ruling emperor Maxentius for his cruel pagan rituals involving animal and human sacrifices. He summoned his pagan philosophers to punish young Catherine, but her eloquence won them over and they converted. This did not please the emperor so he had them executed and threw Catherine in jail. Hundreds flocked to see her and she converted all of them, including the emperor's own wife – they were all martyred. Failing to persuade Catherine through torture, the emperor then asked her marry to him. When she said no, he sentenced her to be executed on a spiked wheel. When the apparatus shattered upon her touch, the emperor had the 18-year-old beheaded, thus inspiring the cult of Catherine. While scholars debate the legend of Saint Catherine of the Wheel, she is revered as a Christian martyr, appearing even to Joan of Arc many centuries later.
In the 6th century, Emperor Justinian established the monastery you'll visit. While there, marvel at all that has survived many wars and invasions and is that rare site that is sacred to Christians, Jews, and Muslims.
A testament to early equality
Though Justinian I gave the order to build St. Catherine's Monastery, we should perhaps credit his wife, Theodora. A woman of superior intelligence, she was an actress and unwed mother before she caught Justinian's eye, becoming first his mistress, then his wife. She exercised considerable influence over him and is remembered as one of the earliest champions of women's rights, helping passing strict laws forbidding the trafficking of young girls and changing divorce laws to give greater benefits to women. You go, girl.
Please exit the port terminal building or go to the end of the tender pier drop-off to meet your guide. Look for our displayed logo sign. Staying at a hotel? Be sure to advise the GoBe Crew so we can meet you in the lobby.
The Monastery opens from 08:45 -11:30 daily except on Fridays, when the timing is 10:45 -11:30. It is closed to visitors on Sundays & Christian Holidays. Photography inside the monastery is allowed but video cameras are not permitted. There are no camera fees.
Plan to walk about .5 miles, up a gravel hill, with flat and partially uneven ground and steps within the Monastery. If your mobility is limited, this tour may be too challenging for you to maintain the pace of the group. It is not wheelchair accessible.
Cultural, Scenic, Full Day
Beverages - Mineral Water/Coffee/Tea
Lunch - Buffet
English, French, German, Italian, Spanish
Tour Participation Requirements
This experience is rated moderate. Full participation may require extended periods of walking over even and uneven surfaces, steep terrain and/or water activity in a slight current. There may be steps, inclines, cobblestone surfaces, and extended periods of standing. Participants with physical limitations should take this into account.
Suitable for all ages.
Full refunds issued for cancellations made 7 full days prior to the date and time of requested services. Cancellations made within the 7-day and 72-hour window will receive a 50% refund of purchase total. Purchases are non-refundable inside of 72 hours.
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