Sinai Peninsula

Sinai Peninsula

Overview
The Sinai Peninsula or Sinai ( sīnā' ; Hebrew סיני) is a triangular peninsula
Peninsula
A peninsula is a piece of land that is bordered by water on three sides but connected to mainland. In many Germanic and Celtic languages and also in Baltic, Slavic and Hungarian, peninsulas are called "half-islands"....

 in Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 about 60000 km² (23,166.1 sq mi) in area. It is situated between the Mediterranean Sea
Mediterranean Sea
The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the Mediterranean region and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Anatolia and Europe, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant...

 to the north, and the Red Sea
Red Sea
The Red Sea is a seawater inlet of the Indian Ocean, lying between Africa and Asia. The connection to the ocean is in the south through the Bab el Mandeb strait and the Gulf of Aden. In the north, there is the Sinai Peninsula, the Gulf of Aqaba, and the Gulf of Suez...

 to the south, and is the only part of Egyptian territory located in Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

 as opposed to Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

, effectively serving as a land bridge
Land bridge
A land bridge, in biogeography, is an isthmus or wider land connection between otherwise separate areas, over which animals and plants are able to cross and colonise new lands...

 between two continents. The bulk of the peninsula is divided administratively into two of Egypt's 27 governorates (with three more straddling the Suez Canal
Suez Canal
The Suez Canal , also known by the nickname "The Highway to India", is an artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt, connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. Opened in November 1869 after 10 years of construction work, it allows water transportation between Europe and Asia without navigation...

 area), and has a population of approximately 500.000 people.
Discussion
Ask a question about 'Sinai Peninsula'
Start a new discussion about 'Sinai Peninsula'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Unanswered Questions
Encyclopedia
The Sinai Peninsula or Sinai ( sīnā' ; Hebrew סיני) is a triangular peninsula
Peninsula
A peninsula is a piece of land that is bordered by water on three sides but connected to mainland. In many Germanic and Celtic languages and also in Baltic, Slavic and Hungarian, peninsulas are called "half-islands"....

 in Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 about 60000 km² (23,166.1 sq mi) in area. It is situated between the Mediterranean Sea
Mediterranean Sea
The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the Mediterranean region and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Anatolia and Europe, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant...

 to the north, and the Red Sea
Red Sea
The Red Sea is a seawater inlet of the Indian Ocean, lying between Africa and Asia. The connection to the ocean is in the south through the Bab el Mandeb strait and the Gulf of Aden. In the north, there is the Sinai Peninsula, the Gulf of Aqaba, and the Gulf of Suez...

 to the south, and is the only part of Egyptian territory located in Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

 as opposed to Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

, effectively serving as a land bridge
Land bridge
A land bridge, in biogeography, is an isthmus or wider land connection between otherwise separate areas, over which animals and plants are able to cross and colonise new lands...

 between two continents. The bulk of the peninsula is divided administratively into two of Egypt's 27 governorates (with three more straddling the Suez Canal
Suez Canal
The Suez Canal , also known by the nickname "The Highway to India", is an artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt, connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. Opened in November 1869 after 10 years of construction work, it allows water transportation between Europe and Asia without navigation...

 area), and has a population of approximately 500.000 people. In addition to its formal name, Egyptians also refer to it affectionately as the "Land of Fayrouz", based on the Ancient Egyptian "Dumafkat", which has the same meaning.

The region has historically been the center of conflict between various states, based largely on its strategic geopolitical location. In addition to periods of direct rule by Egyptian governments (including the Ayyubid
Ayyubid dynasty
The Ayyubid dynasty was a Muslim dynasty of Kurdish origin, founded by Saladin and centered in Egypt. The dynasty ruled much of the Middle East during the 12th and 13th centuries CE. The Ayyubid family, under the brothers Ayyub and Shirkuh, originally served as soldiers for the Zengids until they...

s, the Mamluk
Mamluk Sultanate (Cairo)
The Mamluk Sultanate of Egypt was the final independent Egyptian state prior to the establishment of the Muhammad Ali Dynasty in 1805. It lasted from the overthrow of the Ayyubid Dynasty until the Ottoman conquest of Egypt in 1517. The sultanate's ruling caste was composed of Mamluks, Arabised...

s, the Muhammad Ali Dynasty
Muhammad Ali Dynasty
The Muhammad Ali Dynasty was the ruling dynasty of Egypt and Sudan, from the 19th to the mid-20th Century. It is named after its progenitor, Muhammad Ali Pasha, regarded as the founder of modern Egypt. It was also more formally known as the Alawiyya Dynasty...

, and the modern Egyptian republic), it was like the rest of Egypt, also occupied and controlled by the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

, and the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 (which occupied Egypt from 1882 until 1956). Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 invaded and occupied Sinai during the Tripartite Aggression
Suez Crisis
The Suez Crisis, also referred to as the Tripartite Aggression, Suez War was an offensive war fought by France, the United Kingdom, and Israel against Egypt beginning on 29 October 1956. Less than a day after Israel invaded Egypt, Britain and France issued a joint ultimatum to Egypt and Israel,...

 of 1956, and during the Six Day War of 1967. On 6 October 1973, Egypt launched the October War
Yom Kippur War
The Yom Kippur War, Ramadan War or October War , also known as the 1973 Arab-Israeli War and the Fourth Arab-Israeli War, was fought from October 6 to 25, 1973, between Israel and a coalition of Arab states led by Egypt and Syria...

 to liberate the peninsula, which was the site of fierce fighting between Egyptian and Israeli forces. In 1982, after the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty
Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty
The 1979 Egypt–Israel Peace Treaty was signed in Washington, D.C. on the 26th of March 1979, following the 1978 Camp David Accords, which were signed by Egyptian President Anwar El Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, and were witnessed by United States President Jimmy Carter.The peace...

 of 1979, Israel withdrew from the entirety of Sinai. Today, Sinai has become a tourist destination
Tourism in Egypt
Tourism is one of the most important sectors in Egypt's economy. More than 12.8 million tourists visited Egypt in 2008, providing revenues of nearly $11 billion. The sector employs about 12 percent of Egypt's workforce. -History:...

 due to its natural setting, rich coral reef
Coral reef
Coral reefs are underwater structures made from calcium carbonate secreted by corals. Coral reefs are colonies of tiny living animals found in marine waters that contain few nutrients. Most coral reefs are built from stony corals, which in turn consist of polyps that cluster in groups. The polyps...

s, and biblical history. Mount Sinai
Mount Sinai
Mount Sinai , also known as Mount Horeb, Mount Musa, Gabal Musa , Jabal Musa meaning "Moses' Mountain", is a mountain near Saint Catherine in the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt. A mountain called Mount Sinai is mentioned many times in the Book of Exodus in the Torah and the Bible as well as the Quran...

 is one of the most religiously significant places in Abrahamic faiths.

Etymology


The name Sinai may have been derived from the ancient moon-god
Lunar deity
In mythology, a lunar deity is a god or goddess associated with or symbolizing the moon. These deities can have a variety of functions and traditions depending upon the culture, but they are often related to or an enemy of the solar deity. Even though they may be related, they are distinct from the...

 Sin
Sin (mythology)
Sin or Nanna was the god of the moon in Mesopotamian mythology. Nanna is a Sumerian deity, the son of Enlil and Ninlil, and became identified with Semitic Sin. The two chief seats of Nanna's/Sin's worship were Ur in the south of Mesopotamia and Harran in the north.- Name :The original meaning of...

 or from the Hebrew word "Seneh" (סֶ֫נֶּה, Senneh)

History


Sinai was inhabited by the Monitu and was called Mafkat or Country of Turquoise. From the time of the First dynasty
First dynasty of Egypt
The first dynasty of Ancient Egypt is often combined with the Dynasty II under the group title, Early Dynastic Period of Egypt...

 or before, the Egyptians
Egyptians
Egyptians are nation an ethnic group made up of Mediterranean North Africans, the indigenous people of Egypt.Egyptian identity is closely tied to geography. The population of Egypt is concentrated in the lower Nile Valley, the small strip of cultivable land stretching from the First Cataract to...

 mined turquoise
Turquoise
Turquoise is an opaque, blue-to-green mineral that is a hydrous phosphate of copper and aluminium, with the chemical formula CuAl648·4. It is rare and valuable in finer grades and has been prized as a gem and ornamental stone for thousands of years owing to its unique hue...

 in Sinai at two locations, now called by their Arabic names Wadi Maghareh
Wadi Maghareh
Wadi Maghareh , meaning "The Valley of Caves" in Arabic, is an Egyptian archaeological site in the southwestern Sinai Peninsula containing pharonic monuments and ancient turquoise mines from the Old, Middle, and New Kingdoms...

 and Serabit el-Khadim
Serabit el-Khadim
Serabit el-Khadim is a locality in the south-west Sinai Peninsula where turquoise was mined extensively in antiquity, mainly by the ancient Egyptians...

. The mines were worked intermittently and on a seasonal basis for thousands of years. Modern attempts to exploit the deposits have been unprofitable. These may be the first known mines
Mining
Mining is the extraction of valuable minerals or other geological materials from the earth, from an ore body, vein or seam. The term also includes the removal of soil. Materials recovered by mining include base metals, precious metals, iron, uranium, coal, diamonds, limestone, oil shale, rock...

.

According to the Jewish tradition the peninsula was crossed by the Israelites during The Exodus
The Exodus
The Exodus is the story of the departure of the Israelites from ancient Egypt described in the Hebrew Bible.Narrowly defined, the term refers only to the departure from Egypt described in the Book of Exodus; more widely, it takes in the subsequent law-givings and wanderings in the wilderness...

 from Egypt as detailed in the Hebrew Bible
Torah
Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five books of the bible—Genesis , Exodus , Leviticus , Numbers and Deuteronomy Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five...

. This included numerous halts over a 40 year period of travel in AM 2448 (1313 BCE) in the Jewish tradition.

The peninsula was governed as part of Egypt under the Mamluk Sultanate
Mamluk Sultanate (Cairo)
The Mamluk Sultanate of Egypt was the final independent Egyptian state prior to the establishment of the Muhammad Ali Dynasty in 1805. It lasted from the overthrow of the Ayyubid Dynasty until the Ottoman conquest of Egypt in 1517. The sultanate's ruling caste was composed of Mamluks, Arabised...

 from 1260 until 1517, when the Ottoman Sultan, Selim the Grim
Selim I
Selim I, Yavuz Sultân Selim Khan, Hâdim-ül Haramain-ish Sharifain , nicknamed Yavuz "the Stern" or "the Steadfast", but often rendered in English as "the Grim" , was the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1512 to...

, defeated the Mamluks at the Battles of Marj Dabiq and al-Raydaniyya, and incorporated Egypt into the Ottoman Empire. From then until 1906, Sinai was administered by the Ottoman
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 provincial government of the Pashalik of Egypt, even following the establishment of the Muhammad Ali Dynasty
Muhammad Ali Dynasty
The Muhammad Ali Dynasty was the ruling dynasty of Egypt and Sudan, from the 19th to the mid-20th Century. It is named after its progenitor, Muhammad Ali Pasha, regarded as the founder of modern Egypt. It was also more formally known as the Alawiyya Dynasty...

's rule over the rest of Egypt in 1805. In 1906, the Ottoman Porte formally transferred administration of Sinai to the Egyptian Government, which essentially meant that it fell under the control of the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, who had occupied and largely controlled Egypt since 1882. The border imposed by the British runs in an almost straight line from Rafah
Rafah
Rafah , also known as Rafiah, is a Palestinian city in the southern Gaza Strip. Located south of Gaza, Rafah's population of 71,003 is overwhelmingly made up of Palestinian refugees. Rafah camp and Tall as-Sultan form separate localities. Rafah is the district capital of the Rafah Governorate...

 on the Mediterranean
Mediterranean Sea
The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the Mediterranean region and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Anatolia and Europe, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant...

 shore to Taba
Taba (Egypt)
Taba is a small Egyptian town near the northern tip of the Gulf of Aqaba. Taba is the location of Egypt's busiest border crossing with neighboring Israel. Little more than a bus depot and a luxury hotel , Taba is a frequent vacation spot for Egyptians and tourists, especially those from Israel on...

 on the Gulf of Aqaba
Gulf of Aqaba
The Gulf of Aqaba is a large gulf located at the northern tip of the Red Sea. In pre twentieth-century and modern sources it is often named the Gulf of Eilat, as Eilat is its predominant Israeli city ....

. This line has served as the eastern border of Egypt ever since.

At the beginning of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War
1948 Arab-Israeli War
The 1948 Arab–Israeli War, known to Israelis as the War of Independence or War of Liberation The war commenced after the termination of the British Mandate for Palestine and the creation of an independent Israel at midnight on 14 May 1948 when, following a period of civil war, Arab armies invaded...

, Egyptian forces entered the former British Mandate of Palestine from Sinai to support Palestinian and other Arab forces against the newly declared State of Israel. For a period during the war, Israeli forces entered the north-eastern corner of Sinai. With the exception of Palestine's Gaza Strip
Gaza Strip
thumb|Gaza city skylineThe Gaza Strip lies on the Eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The Strip borders Egypt on the southwest and Israel on the south, east and north. It is about long, and between 6 and 12 kilometres wide, with a total area of...

, which came under the administration of the All-Palestine Government
All-Palestine Government
The All-Palestine Government was established by the Arab League on 22 September 1948, during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. Shortly thereafter, an Arab-Palestinian Congress named King Abdullah I of Transjordan, "King of Arab Palestine"...

, the western frontier of the former Mandate of Palestine became the Egyptian-Israeli frontier under the 1949 Armistice Agreement.

In 1956, Egypt nationalized the Suez Canal
Suez Canal
The Suez Canal , also known by the nickname "The Highway to India", is an artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt, connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. Opened in November 1869 after 10 years of construction work, it allows water transportation between Europe and Asia without navigation...

 on the western side of the Sinai Peninsula, and thereafter prohibited Israeli ships from using the Canal, owing to the state of war between the two states. Egypt also prohibited ships from using Egyptian territorial waters on the eastern side of the Peninsula to travel to and from Israel, effectively imposing a blockade on the Israeli port of Eilat. Subsequently, Israeli forces, aided by Britain, and France (which sought to reverse the nationalization and regain control over the Suez Canal
Suez Canal
The Suez Canal , also known by the nickname "The Highway to India", is an artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt, connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. Opened in November 1869 after 10 years of construction work, it allows water transportation between Europe and Asia without navigation...

), invaded Sinai and occupied much of the Peninsula within a few days (see Suez Crisis
Suez Crisis
The Suez Crisis, also referred to as the Tripartite Aggression, Suez War was an offensive war fought by France, the United Kingdom, and Israel against Egypt beginning on 29 October 1956. Less than a day after Israel invaded Egypt, Britain and France issued a joint ultimatum to Egypt and Israel,...

). Several months later Israel withdrew its forces from Sinai, following strong pressure from the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, and the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

. Thereafter, this the United Nations Emergency Force
United Nations Emergency Force
The first United Nations Emergency Force was established by United Nations General Assembly to secure an end to the 1956 Suez Crisis with resolution 1001 on November 7, 1956. The force was developed in large measure as a result of efforts by UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld and a proposal...

 (UNEF) was stationed in Sinai to prevent any military occupation of the Sinai.
In 1967, Egypt reinforced its military presence in Sinai, renewed the prohibition of Israeli shipping using Egyptian territorial waters, and on May 16 ordered the UNEF out of Sinai with immediate effect. Secretary-General U Thant
U Thant
U Thant was a Burmese diplomat and the third Secretary-General of the United Nations, from 1961 to 1971. He was chosen for the post when his predecessor, Dag Hammarskjöld, died in September 1961....

 eventually complied and ordered the withdrawal without Security Council authorization. Subsequent to Egyptian actions, Israel invaded Sinai, commencing the Six-Day War
Six-Day War
The Six-Day War , also known as the June War, 1967 Arab-Israeli War, or Third Arab-Israeli War, was fought between June 5 and 10, 1967, by Israel and the neighboring states of Egypt , Jordan, and Syria...

 in which the Egyptian army was defeated, and Israel captured and occupied the entire peninsula. The Suez Canal
Suez Canal
The Suez Canal , also known by the nickname "The Highway to India", is an artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt, connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. Opened in November 1869 after 10 years of construction work, it allows water transportation between Europe and Asia without navigation...

, the east bank of which was now controlled by Israel, was closed.

On 6 October 1973, after repeated Egyptian peace overtures were rejected by Israel, Egypt commenced Operation Badr
Operation Badr
Operation Badr may refer to:* Operation Badr , the highly successful Egyptian crossing of the Bar-Lev Line in the Yom Kippur War* Operation Badr , an unsuccessful Iranian operation in the Iran-Iraq War...

 to liberate Sinai, thereby beginning the October War
Yom Kippur War
The Yom Kippur War, Ramadan War or October War , also known as the 1973 Arab-Israeli War and the Fourth Arab-Israeli War, was fought from October 6 to 25, 1973, between Israel and a coalition of Arab states led by Egypt and Syria...

. Egyptian engineering forces built pontoon bridges to cross the Suez Canal, and stormed the supposedly impregnable Bar-Lev Line while many Israeli soldiers were observing the holiday Yom Kippur
Yom Kippur
Yom Kippur , also known as Day of Atonement, is the holiest and most solemn day of the year for the Jews. Its central themes are atonement and repentance. Jews traditionally observe this holy day with a 25-hour period of fasting and intensive prayer, often spending most of the day in synagogue...

. Though the Egyptians maintained control of most of the east bank of the Canal, in the later stages of the war, the Israeli military crossed the southern section of Canal, cutting off the Egyptian 3rd Army, and occupied a section of the west bank. After the war, as part of the subsequent Sinai Disengagement Agreements, Israel withdrew from the Canal, with Egypt agreeing to permit passage of Israeli ships.

In 1979, Egypt and Israel signed a peace treaty
Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty
The 1979 Egypt–Israel Peace Treaty was signed in Washington, D.C. on the 26th of March 1979, following the 1978 Camp David Accords, which were signed by Egyptian President Anwar El Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, and were witnessed by United States President Jimmy Carter.The peace...

 in which Israel agreed to withdraw from the entirety of Sinai. Israel subsequently withdrew in several stages, ending in 1982. The Israeli pull-out involved dismantling almost all Israeli settlements, including the settlement of Yamit
Yamit
Yamit was an Israeli settlement in the northern part of the Sinai Peninsula with a population of about 2,500 people .The settlement was established during Israel's occupation of the peninsula from the end of the 1967 Six-Day War, until that part of the Sinai was handed over to Egypt in 1982 as...

 in north-eastern Sinai. The exception was the coastal city of Sharm el-Sheikh
Sharm el-Sheikh
Sharm el-Sheikh is a city situated on the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula, in South Sinai Governorate, Egypt, on the coastal strip along the Red Sea. Its population is approximately 35,000...

, which the Israelis had renamed as Ofira
Ofira
Ofira was an Israeli settlement in the Sharm el-Sheikh area of the southern Sinai Peninsula, an Egyptian territory that was under Israeli occupation from 1967 to 1982. Ofira was settled from 1969, and was meant to accommodate 500 families. An airfield was opened in 1976, today known as Sharm...

 during the period of their occupation. The Treaty allows monitoring of the Sinai by the Multinational Force and Observers
Multinational Force and Observers
The Multinational Force and Observers is an international peacekeeping force overseeing the terms of the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel.-Background:...

 and limits the number of Egyptian military forces in the Peninsula.

Over the years, Sinai was a site of several terrorist attacks
Terrorism in Egypt
Terrorism in Egypt refers to terrorist attacks in Egypt, many of them linked to Islamic extremism. Targets have included government officials, police, tourists and the Christian minority...

 targeting Westerners, Israelis, and Egyptian
Egyptians
Egyptians are nation an ethnic group made up of Mediterranean North Africans, the indigenous people of Egypt.Egyptian identity is closely tied to geography. The population of Egypt is concentrated in the lower Nile Valley, the small strip of cultivable land stretching from the First Cataract to...

 tourists.

Present



Over the past 30 years the Sinai has become a tourist destination
Tourism in Egypt
Tourism is one of the most important sectors in Egypt's economy. More than 12.8 million tourists visited Egypt in 2008, providing revenues of nearly $11 billion. The sector employs about 12 percent of Egypt's workforce. -History:...

 due to its natural setting, rich coral reefs
Coral reef
Coral reefs are underwater structures made from calcium carbonate secreted by corals. Coral reefs are colonies of tiny living animals found in marine waters that contain few nutrients. Most coral reefs are built from stony corals, which in turn consist of polyps that cluster in groups. The polyps...

, and biblical history. The most popular tourist destination in Sinai are Mount Sinai
Mount Sinai
Mount Sinai , also known as Mount Horeb, Mount Musa, Gabal Musa , Jabal Musa meaning "Moses' Mountain", is a mountain near Saint Catherine in the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt. A mountain called Mount Sinai is mentioned many times in the Book of Exodus in the Torah and the Bible as well as the Quran...

 ("Jabal Musa") and St. Catherine's Monastery
Saint Catherine's Monastery, Mount Sinai
Saint Catherine's Monastery lies on the Sinai Peninsula, at the mouth of a gorge at the foot of Mount Sinai in the city of Saint Catherine in Egypt's South Sinai Governorate. The monastery is Orthodox and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site...

, which is considered to be the oldest working Christian monastery in the world, and the beach resorts of Sharm el-Sheikh
Sharm el-Sheikh
Sharm el-Sheikh is a city situated on the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula, in South Sinai Governorate, Egypt, on the coastal strip along the Red Sea. Its population is approximately 35,000...

, Dahab
Dahab
Dahab is a small town situated on the southeast coast of the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt. Formerly a Bedouin fishing village, located approximately northeast of Sharm el-Sheikh, Dahab is considered to be one of the Sinai's most treasured diving destinations...

, Nuweiba
Nuweiba
Nuweiba is a coastal town in the eastern part of Sinai Peninsula, Egypt. Located on the coast of the Gulf of Aqaba, it sits at around . It is believed by many to be the site of the Exodus account of ancient Israelites crossing the Red Sea.-Geography:...

 and Taba. Most tourists arrive through Eilat, Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 and the Taba Border Crossing
Taba Border Crossing
The Taba Border Crossing is an international border crossing between Taba, Egypt, and Eilat, Israel. Opened on April 26, 1982 it is currently the only entry/exit point between the two countries that handles tourists...

, by train or bus from Cairo
Cairo
Cairo , is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab world and Africa, and the 16th largest metropolitan area in the world. Nicknamed "The City of a Thousand Minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life...

 or by Ferry
Ferry
A ferry is a form of transportation, usually a boat, but sometimes a ship, used to carry primarily passengers, and sometimes vehicles and cargo as well, across a body of water. Most ferries operate on regular, frequent, return services...

 from Aqaba
Aqaba
Aqaba is a coastal city in the far south of Jordan, the capital of Aqaba Governorate at the head of the Gulf of Aqaba. Aqaba is strategically important to Jordan as it is the country's only seaport. Aqaba is best known today as a diving and beach resort, but industrial activity remains important...

 in Jordan
Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

.

Most of the Sinai Peninsula is divided among two Egyptian governorates, or provinces, named Ganub Sina ("South Sinai") and Shamal Sina ("North Sinai"). Three more governates span the Suez Canal
Suez Canal
The Suez Canal , also known by the nickname "The Highway to India", is an artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt, connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. Opened in November 1869 after 10 years of construction work, it allows water transportation between Europe and Asia without navigation...

, crossing into African Egypt. el-Sewais ("the Suez") is on the southern end of the Suez Canal, el-Isma'ileyyah in the center, and Port Said in the north.

Approximately 66,500 people live in Ganub Sina and 314,000 live in Shamal Sina. Port Said itself has a population of roughly 500,000 people. Portions of the populations of el-Isma'ileyyah and el-Suweis live in Sinai, while the rest live on the western side of the Suez Canal. The combined population of these two governorates is roughly 1.3 million (only a part of that population live in the Sinai, while the rest live on the western side of the Suez Canal). Sinai is one of the coldest provinces in Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 because of its high altitudes and mountainous topographies. Winter temperatures in some of Sinai's cities and towns reach -16 °C.

Large numbers of Egyptians from the Nile Valley and Delta have moved to the area to work in tourism, while at the same time development has negatively affected the native Sinai Bedouin
Bedouin
The Bedouin are a part of a predominantly desert-dwelling Arab ethnic group traditionally divided into tribes or clans, known in Arabic as ..-Etymology:...

 population. In order to help alleviate these problems, various NGOs have begun to operate in the region including the Makhad Trust
Makhad Trust
The Makhad Trust is a UK charity that works to sustain the environment and the natural heritage of peoples living in the nomadic regions of the world. The organisation gained charitable status in 2003 .-Aims of the Makhad Trust:...

, a UK charity which assists the Bedouin in developing a sustainable income while protecting Sinai's natural environment, heritage and culture.

Gallery



See also



  • Isthmus of Suez
    Isthmus of Suez
    The Isthmus of Suez is the narrow strip land that lies between the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea, linking the continents of Africa and Asia. It contains the country of Egypt and the Suez Canal. Like many isthmuses, it is a location of great strategic value....

  • Operation Eagle
    Operation Eagle
    Operation Eagle is an ongoing Egyptian military campaign launched in August 2011 in the Sinai Peninsula. Its objectives are to confront Islamist insurgents and criminal gangs threatening Egypt's national security and to restore law and order.-Background:...


People
  • Multinational Force and Observers
    Multinational Force and Observers
    The Multinational Force and Observers is an international peacekeeping force overseeing the terms of the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel.-Background:...

  • Negev Bedouins
    Negev Bedouins
    The Negev Bedouin are traditionally pastoral semi-nomadic Arab tribes indigenous to the Negev region in Israel, who hold close ties to the Bedouin of the Sinai Peninsula. The move away from their traditional lifestyle in modern times has led to sedentarization.Estimated to number some 160,000,...



Natural places
  • Desert of Paran
    Desert of Paran
    The Desert of Paran or Wilderness of Paran , is the place in which the Hebrew Bible says the Israelites spent part of their 40 years of wandering: Then the Israelites set out from the Desert of Sinai and traveled from place to place until the cloud came to rest in the Desert of Paran...

  • Mitla Pass
    Mitla Pass
    The Mitla Pass is a 32 km-long snaky pass in the Sinai of Egypt, wedged between mountain ranges to the north and south, located about 50 km east of Suez...

  • Mount Sinai
    Mount Sinai
    Mount Sinai , also known as Mount Horeb, Mount Musa, Gabal Musa , Jabal Musa meaning "Moses' Mountain", is a mountain near Saint Catherine in the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt. A mountain called Mount Sinai is mentioned many times in the Book of Exodus in the Torah and the Bible as well as the Quran...


Manmade structures
  • Biblical Mount Sinai
    Biblical Mount Sinai
    The Biblical Mount Sinai is the mountain at which the Book of Exodus states that the Ten Commandments were given to Moses by God...

  • Nawamis
    Nawamis
    Nawamis are tombs located in the Sinai desert. They are circular stone structures. The dating of bones found in the tombs is from 4000 – 3150 BCE....

  • Saint Katherine city
  • Suez Canal
    Suez Canal
    The Suez Canal , also known by the nickname "The Highway to India", is an artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt, connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. Opened in November 1869 after 10 years of construction work, it allows water transportation between Europe and Asia without navigation...


External links




Further reading

  • Gardner, Ann "At Home in South Sinai" Nomadic Peoples 2000. Vol. 4,Iss. 2; pp. 48–67. Detailed account of Bedouin women