Hidden in the heart of the desert mountains of the Sinai Peninsula is the oldest continuously operating Christian monastery in the world: St. Catherine’s. Built in 565 A.D. Saint Catherine’s Monastery is named after Catherine of Alexandria who, according to legend, was sentenced to death on the spiked wheel. Saint Catherine’s Monastery was built at the site where, according to the Old Testament, Moses saw the burning bush, and near Mt. Sinai, where he received the Ten Commandments. Despite being Eastern Orthodox, this site is holy to not only Christians, but also Jews and Muslims. But here, unlike much of the Middle East, the Christians and the Muslims have been living with each other and working well together for centuries.
The mountains surrounding St. Catherine’s Monastery—with their enormous granite domes—are unique. It’s an undiscovered little Yosemite. In November 2017, National Geographic writer Mark Jenkins led a four-man team of highly accomplished Wyoming climbers to ascend these 1000-foot walls of pink granite. “Camels, Climbing and St. Catherine: An Expedition to Egypt” is a presentation about an epic expedition to climb big rocks in a remote land, about Christian monks and Bedouin nomads, and about a place where tolerance is more powerful than terrorism. This presentation is part of the UW Center for Global Studies’ “World to Wyoming” Series.