Sinai Peninsula: Moon Place

Deserted Sinai Peninsula has special place in the world history.

Night sky over Sinai surprises with the amount and size of stars in it.  Variety of constellations mix up and create strange hieroglyphs. They remind clusters of grapes which drops berries-blizzards from time to time. Arabs had the reasons to found the science of Astronomy and the profession of an astrologer. Islam with its crescent and the symbol of meteorite looks like some cosmic religion.

Sinai received its name long before Islam aroused. Its scarce population worshipped Sina – the goddess of the Moon. However, it is hardly possible see the Moon over Sinai. Occasional weak silhouette of crescent moon can be seen in the midst of the stars. After the sunset mystery becomes revealed when the stars disappear and the typical Moon landscape of yellow mountainous desert landscape.

Sinai attracted hermits from ancient time. According to the authoritative researcher of early Christianity priest-monk Grigory (Lurie), the words “mountain” and “desert” were used as synonyms in Egypt. Indeed, it is hard to find a better place to observe the surrounding world from eternity point of view. However, this relates only to Sinai, not to overall Egypt where the Nile and favorable natural conditions created an absolutely different civilization long before Christianity appeared.

”Overall Egypt” is out of this story scope. This is too specific, hermetic country of ancient gods Saris and Anabas, pyramids and scarabs, descendant of mysterious Atlantida and alchemy birthplace.  It is the place where all European mystics went mad – “anti-Christ” Krouli heard the words of his Liber Legis, аnd Mason Genon turned into Suffia Sheikh.

We will dwell on this some other time. Currently we are interested in the fact of appearing God’s Testament in Sinai. This fact is recognized by all the Abramic religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam. This gave deserted Sinai Peninsula special place in the world history. It has special place in Geography as well – it is not clear whether this peninsula connects or separates Asia and Africa. If Sinai people wanted find geopolitical name for themselves, they would have all the reasons to be called “AfroAsians”.

However, they prefer to be themselves. The center of Sinai is Moisei Mount and St Ekaterina Russian Orthodox Monastery founded in VI century. The monastery is unique as well – near it there is the very burning bush from which God was speaking to Mousey. The branches of this bush always dry our while being replaneted outside Sinai. There is a Mosque next to the Monastery. In a word, all Abramism in one spot. In addition, the monastery is absolutely independent, it is governed by its own archbishop who does not report to any of the world official church. It has never been conquered or robbed, on the contrary, its library contains many “Papers of Protection” written from Muhammad prophet to Napoleon. The library is the second in the world after Vatican’s library in the number of church documents in different languages. Knowing all this, it is easy to believe that this monastery is under direct protection of God.

It is possible to believe many other secrets surrounding the monastery. Long ago Sinai was populated by a few monks and scarce Bedouin tribes. Currently, every day hundreds of pilgrims climb up Mousey Mount. They are inspired with the legend of forgiving sins on the mountain top in the sunset. Although the mountain top has altitude over 2.25 kilometers over sea level, and it takes 3-4 hours of walking in night wind and then climbing up sharp steps to reach the top. Many Europeans and Muscovites stay in the Bedouin tents and make up their minds before to start climbing for a long time. Some of them order “camel taxi”. However, guides say in this case the sins are forgiven to camels…  

The guides arranging this mountain-climbing and a tour around the monastery, are of remarkable appearance. Covered with shawls, they proudly tell how “Mousey prophet was leading God’s people across the desert from their captivity in Egypt”, about the sacred mission of other prophets – Iliya and Aaron, and all the problems of the conflicts between Arabs and Jews seem to be unreal. Surprisingly, we encountered no Jew dressed in his/her orthodox way on our way. Although I thought they were supposed to follow this route as well. Maybe “God’s people” consider themselves having no sins? Meanwhile, some people being far from Abramic traditions, such as Japanese and Indians, climb the mount.

Although Judaism believers have no visa problems to enter Sinai – the border with Israel is very close and it is open and peaceful. There seems to be another border – between official racial prejudices in Israel and the outlook of the young post-Zionism generation. Sharon’s proponents still worship their idol of “great state”, meanwhile young Jews coming to Sinai, consider themselves living in the global world and easily come to understanding with people from all over the world. Maybe Europeanquiet revolutionswill spread toHoly Land”.   

The town of Dakhab in the eastern bank of Sinai is another unique locality. This is one of the global centers for people with non-standard outlook, having guitars, punk hairdos and hookahs, like in mini-Amsterdam, Ibitsa or Goa. The wind there is very favorable for surf lovers, therefore there are many of them near the seashore. It is pleasant to put on a diving suit and enter the picturesque fantastic world of corals and angel-fish. The Red Sea is a sort of natural aquarium.

It is tempting to have some beer with pearl fish in “No Name Restaurant” located in a wooden boat standing on the desert sand, buy some souvenirs in the bazaar with the inscription on its entrance “Why not bazar?” and overnight in international “Crazy Camel Camp”. All this is much cheaper in Dakhab than in Europe, Israel or Moscow.

However, staying in such Southern conditions can cause the problem of psychological acclimatization for some Northern people. Loud Southern background noise and sharp contrasts frustrate one’s traditional perception of sounds and colors, some of them seem to be overabundant, and there is a lack of others. On the other hand, many problems of the Southerners seem to look even funny from the Northerners’ perspective. Our flight from Sharm-al-Sheikh arrived at Domodedovo airport in Moscow simultaneously with the flight from Tel-Aviv. The luggage form both the flights was unloaded on the neighboring conveyers. The Tel Aviv flight passengers were keeping silence watching the people wearing souvenir shawls. There was no sign of luggage for a long time. Two groups of passengers were watching each other in silence. All of a sudden, a Tel Aviv flight passenger asked: “Are you all Arab?” “Yes, we are all such Arabs as you all are Jews”, was the reply. Everybody burst out laughing

Vladimir Rulev



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Author`s name Pavel Morozov