The Sinai Peninsula is located in Egypt between the Mediterranean Sea (to the north) and Red Sea (to the south). It borders the Suez Canal to the west and the Israeli-Egyptian border to the northeast. The southern portion of the Sinai is called Janub Sina’ in Arabic, literally “Sinai South.” Approximately 66,500 live in Janub Sina’ and its capital is Al Tur.
The desert of the Sinai is particularly fascinating for those interested in some of the oldest civilizations chronicled in the Bible. St. Catherine’s Monastery is the oldest monastery in the world and the most popular tourist attraction on the peninsula. This land that prophets, saints, and pilgrims traversed was also trampled by warriors like Alexander the Great, Ramses II, Napoleon Bonaparte, and Salah el-Din. The Arab-Israeli conflicts of this century in the area contrast with the thousands of tourists seeking spiritual solace in its remoteness.
The Sinai is a land of contrasts. The desert interior comes to an abrupt end at the Red Sea, where coral reefs along the coastline are among the most beautiful in the world. Although generally dry and hot with sparse vegetation, the Sinai is not without life. Wildlife is specially adapted to the climate with many species of snakes and mammals camouflaged to the earthy tones of the desert, and the huge abundance and diversity of tropical marine wildlife.