Stupid in the mountain will not go
They go to the pitch darkness, highlighting the way over the abyss of pocket lanterns. Germans, the British, French, Italians. Japanese are going. And from recently, a our speech can be heard on a steep path. And so every night, with a break for two weekends. Truly, wonderful things your, Lord.
First you need to fly to the Egyptian town of Sharm el-Sheikh, located on the southern edge of the Sinai Peninsula. Fly, alas, most likely have a charter, because there are no regular flights from Russia here, and it does not want to get from Cairo. Charters are, as any experienced traveler knows, a separate song with a very sad chorus, especially when it comes to holidays (for example, at the beginning of May or for the new year). What can you do, all the best has its own price. Apparently, at the wonderful resort of Sharm el-Sheikh this price is the flour of charter flight.
Everything else is good here. Decent hotels. Fabulous beauty beaches and the most transparent sea sea. Just a paradise for scuba and lovers swim from the mask. Pretty wide range of excursions and entertainment. But if walks on a boat with a glass bottom, safaris and a shark feeding you will be offered in other places of the planet, then one local excursion may well be considered an absolute exclusive. There are no more such anywhere.
In advertising booklets and leaflets, the trip unfortunately calls "ascent on Moise Mountain with a visit to the monastery of Saint Catherine", However, it also reveals the essence of the case as the retelling of the novel "War and Peace" in a dry newspaper note. It is enough to say that in the monastery you will be shown wonderful, in fire is not a burning bush, the most unrealized bundle, in the flame of which the Lord appealed to Moses. Agree, one thing that can make any normal person to forget about the entertainment and go to a difficult journey to biblical shrines. However, they will show and many more amazing. Would a desire to watch.
Of course, modern tourists crossing the Sinai Desert in a comfortable bus with air conditioning, little similar to the pilgrims, which once brought to holy places under the groaning rays of the sun exclusively from religious diligence. However, and for our share, let the small, but tests, and they need to be ready. Especially if we decided not only to visit the oldest monastery, but also to climb the most famous peak of the Sinai Peninsula.
On foot or riding – this is the question
Warning first: you have to prepare for the fact that this night sleep if you succeed, then two hours, no more. Just as much as it takes the way to bus from the resort to the center of the Sinai Peninsula. Departure from the hotel takes place exactly at that very hour when your less inquisitive holidays are preparing to move away to sleep after tedious beach joy. You in the Hall of the hotel, the manager hands the box with breakfast and looks very mysterious. It seems that in his view it sesters: "Do you understand yourself, where I am going and what awaits you?" But to retreat late, money ($ 100 for two) is already paid, bridges are burned, forward.
About an hour, the excursion bus collects a group of freshly baked pilgrims. Shortly before midnight, when everyone assembled, our cheerful guide says that there are English, Germans, Italians and our – only twenty people, and that the motto of our group "Sun and Fun" (which means "Sun and fun"). Hearing this motto, you must urgently pull up "to Kuchi", To not be lost.
– And the name of me is Hani, – a guide introduced. – This is a popular name in Egypt, and not at all "nectar", What does translate from English.
This Medoca was not a flasher Schit: It’s five times a week with tourists makes climbing the mountain of the Prophet Moses. And the height of this mountain, by the way, 2285 meters above sea level.
– I could climb the top and seven times a week, but the trouble, on Fridays and Sundays, the excursions do not happen.
When we arrived at the walls of the monastery at three o’clock in the morning, there was a pitch darkness. Hani distributed lanterns to us and asked:
– Well, friends-Christians, we will rise with bass, like Moses, or let’s go in shoes?
Christians looked uncertainly on their feet, shoe in sneakers, and then shone lanterns around. Sharp stones, sharp cliff teeth. B-R-Rr. The joke was appreciated.
Untime we tried in the way, as a strong smell of manure hit the nose.
– It seems here near the farm, – Someone from satellites suggested. How not to step on "min".
– And here is the farm! – Joyfully confirmed Hani, a lantern ray pulling out of the darkness and camels from darkness, lying in the meadow immediately behind the monastery walls. The ships of the desert loudly rooted. – Who wants, maybe, without killing legs, getting riding almost to the top of the vertex. It is inexpensive – only $ 10.
We friendly lit camels with their lanterns, and saw the Bedouins help the couple of the elderly Germans to climb the hollow humps. From our company no one decided to follow their example.
A minute later camels with German saddles, driven by Bedouin, smooth, swallowed step in the mountain. We reached out next.
– By the way, – said Hani, – these are Bedouins from the Jabali tribe. They are descendants of those the most slaves, which Emperor Justinian in the sixth century of our era ordered to bring from Alexandria and instructed them to protect and serve the monastery of St. Catherine. They are Muslims, but consider themselves a little bit of the Greeks and even worship some Christian saints. Just like Christians, they are convinced that if you rose to Moise Moise and pour there at the sunrise, the Creator will forgive them all sins. However, this time our cheerful guide remained faithful, having finished with a joke:
– Do you think they rose every day on the holy peak only for money? No! Just because they have a lot of sins.
Around was dark as in Chulana. Highlighting the path with lanterns, we went up the gun. The trail, as it should be, wriggled on the slope of Serpentine – anyone could be convinced of this, looking back or ahead: hundreds of lights snakes glowed in the night, giving us confidence. We were not clearly alone on this trail.
And in the sky among the stars, the milky path, low and thick, as sour cream.
– Very nice, – readily confirmed Hani. – But it’s better to look at the stars better, but under my feet. And you should not go on the edge of the path, but clinging to the rock. Tomorrow morning, when you come back, you will realize why. For while listening to me.
Sun and Fun! – he shouted the motto of the group loudly and rushed to assemble. – We must rush! Otherwise, the Japanese will again take the top places on top.
Heats not the sun, and faith
We moved further, passing forwards to camels on camels and their conductors who, too, apparently, wanted to get ahead of the Japanese. The rise in the way I became worse. Breathing has become heavy. Do I really not rise to this peak? I somewhat slowed down my step, and right there, as in a fairy tale, the light of the lantern snatched a camel, lying straight across the path, and a voice from the darkness on broken our (but how they recognize the nationality, and even in the night?) Helply said:
"Camel, Madame. Very cheap. Sit down, Madame".
The temptation was great, but this path followed on foot. Be sure to walk. Otherwise half of the meaning. I silently went around temptation. Silently because to pronounce at least one word was no forces. And here the darkness was dissolved, voices were heard ahead, and in the night there was an oasis in the form of a wretched Bedouin laveque. In the light of the kerosene lamp, I saw plastic water bottles, thermoses with hot tea, sandwiches, buns, chocolate. Carpets were dispersed on the stones. But could not rest. Our medal was here like here.
Cute Bedouins! – Dark his voice rang out. – They know that for the first time Europeans leave the strength in this place. If you now relax, go and go, then go upstairs can only be riding a camel. On their camel! Drink a little mineral water and continue the way. Five minutes later, it will be easier to go.
So it happened. Second breathing opened, then the third. An hour later, the next laurek (all of them is on five or six), Hani allowed a fifteen minutes to relax and eat. By this time, we rose so highly that a brightly lit monastery turned into a small bright spot, weakly flickering far below. So far that it became scary. Really, all this path is passed with their feet and for some two hours!
At the last Bedouinsky prival, hiking travelers make a short stop in front of the most complex lifting, and Sedoki slide on the ground with camel humps, to further go to the top to pass their legs. The path leading to the peak becomes such a cool that the camel here does not pass. Thank God, there are boulders neatly laid by monastic hands in the form of steps. But on them no longer go, but we crawl, crawling, helping your hands.
The closer to the top, the sharper and cold wind. Air temperature is not more than +5 degrees.
Poor Moses, – Sighs near the Red Irish Teenage Girl. – He climbed here Bosoya, when there were no monks or steps, no tents with hot coffee. He is a real hero.
Starts light. Air becomes transparent and lilac. Up to the top remains quite a bit. Mobilizing strength and will, I do the last steps. Due to the visible in front of a huge boulder, some kind of incomprehensible monotonous buzz. What is it? A few more meters. Hooray! Here it is the top. 5.15 in the morning. The sky in the east brightens every minute. The buzz is enhanced. This is the Japanese, who, of course, came first and took the most windless places, now pray loudly, yielding hands to the sky.
At the top, too, there is a Bedouin’s shop, but here the most chassis goods are blankets and foam foam mattresses, which, rented (it costs five pounds), fasten before sitting on the ice cliffs. Cold before dawn well, just a murderous, and the wind penetrates through.
Finally because of the mountain shows the edges of the sun. And the total sigh rushes on the rock:
– God! Thank you for giving us a new day!
Hundreds of people who arranged on boulders, sealed the whole top. They do not look at the rising sun and whisper something their own. Forgotten paths. No one pays attention to the bite cold. Yes, for this, it was worth climbing on the rocks.
Any climb – valor. But climbing here, on the holy mountain, this is also nothing to do with anything, it’s how to go to the service in the most famous temple. We are on the very grief, which was called Hariva, where Moses got the vera and the Ten Commandments. The hot sunny disc solemnly pops over the horizon, the rocks are painted in red, and then in pink color, and warmly becomes warm.
Now we understood why climbing occurs at night. Of course, to see the sunrise is strong. And avoid daytime heat – this desire is also explained. But, it seems to me, there is a cunning Egyptian and another motive: few people will climb in broad daylight, it hurts the famous mountain. I would never risk. And so, in the dark, without seeing no terrible advanies (which is why Hani asked to keep closer to the rock), no steep slopes, all – both old, and young – quietly wobble to goal.
Down the steps leading up
But it’s time to descend down. We are still waiting for an excursion by the oldest monastery on earth.
Sun and Fun! – screaming guide by collecting a group. – It’s time to road. If someone lags, we meet at 8.00 at the monastery wall, at the entrance, like a mouse mink. You will not confuse him with anything, because the entrance is the only one.
Hani says that you can go down in two ways: according to the already Hogged trail, (it will take about two hours) or on a shorter road – along steps, cut down monks in the rocks (here you can turn around in just one and a half hours). These steps 3750. Of course, we choose a shorter route.
And what? Steps were folded on each other and well fortified large boulders. Descent on such "Stairs" – This is also a serious test, although, of course, with a clear day, it is still much easier to go under the slide. To seven o’clock in the morning, the sun became sitting down so that it was necessary to remove jackets and sweaters.
In the deep gorge halfway to the monastery, we came across the ancient monastic skete, with a badly distinguished Greek text and the date – 1890. Skita has grown sickly wormwood, spines and amazingly large fig tree with rare leaves and fruits. Here, on the path noticed a goose litter. Strain the memory, remembered that it was in these places Moses for 40 years to go goats of his father-in-law and cleared the soul to solitude in the silence of the desert. This means that somewhere near the source, whose one flock seven Joform daughters. And there are not far and before "Burning bush" (so calls the unhapable buying our guide), in the flame of which God appeared to Moses and ordered to bring children of Israel to Mount Horiv from Egypt. In the knees already felt trembling, and the legs again became lead. What can you do, any pilgrimage requires effort – and the bodies and souls. Finally the steps ended, and we went to the monastery. In the light of an early quiet morning, the monastery with his old poplars and an olive garden already seemed to us not a formidable fortress, but warm and native abode.
At eight in the morning, Zaskripyev, the monastery door opened, and our guide completed his historical excursions with such words:
Do not plunge bush! In the monastery, the two main shrines are the relics of Saint Catherine and a burning bush. It does not touch anyone to take a piece of relics with me. Why then tourists allow themselves to break the leaves from the sacred bush? After all, if everyone takes on a leaf, it will not be left from shrine.
Passing through the thick monastery wall, we scattered around the monastery. But I did not interfere as soon as possible to bow before the neutal bug.
Where is this famous bunk? Intuitively, I followed the Japanese group and was not mistaken: the Japanese are always ahead of all. Big, spreaded bush grew as if on a pedestal. His lower, hanging on the distance of an elongated arm, the branches were completely naked, which said that pilgrims secretly tear up the cherished leaflers in memory.
Looking around, I realized that the bush grows at all on the pedestal, as it seemed at the beginning. It’s just fenced high, in human growth, a wall that covers its roots and branches from the soles. The strict monk in English was instructed by the cropped Japanese:
The bush this is the only one of a kind. There is no such thing on the whole Sinai Peninsula. He looks like a thranger, but still it is not a thorns. In addition, he has never managed to take the processes from him and transplant them elsewhere. They just don’t get out.
Then we went to the chapel, where the relics of St. Catherine are kept, and in the other chapel – the Saint Trifon, where the impressive Mount Cherepov is browned – these are the remains of all monks who served in the monastery for the 14th centuries. Also an impressive spectacle, you will not say anything. The thrill causes the inner decoration of the temple and iconostasis.
But here we hear the inviting voice of our guide. "Sun and Fun!" -he screams by collecting us all to the bus. So it’s time to return to the hotel.
No one thinks about sleepless night or heavy trail on top. We are happy. We happened to see and experience what unknown legelicles that preferred the beach. By the way, and the beach will not leave us today. Already at two o’clock in the afternoon, we are at home again, that is, at the hotel. And the night adventure will remain in memory for life.
How to prepare for climbing
First of all, you need to take care of shoes. Optimum option – sneakers or tennis shoes. Be sure – cotton socks. However, experienced lovers of hiking excursions believe that it is possible to protect your legs from the corner, we put two pairs of socks – first thin synthetic, and then cotton terry.
And, of course, completely contraindicated shoes on a heel or slippers. True, I have to notice that the top with us conquered a girl in high-heeled sandals and a boyfriend in slippers. How did they manage it – the mind will not do. They were from Russia. That’s really truly our, then the German death.
It should also be stocking a warm sweater and windbreak, because even in the midst of summer on top in the predestal hour it can be cold.
Water? You can take a bottle with you, but you can not take, because throughout the route there are benches that will not give to die from thirst and hunger.
Something about the monastery of St. Catherine
In 1966, the Orthodox world noted 1400 years of the existence of the monastery. All this time, nor for the day without interrupting its activities, he lives in a measured, independent life from the outside world in accordance with the laws of the Orthodox Church. The inhabitants of the monastery belong to the Sinai Monastic Order, who throughout its history enjoys the patronage of the changing authorities, regardless of their religious affiliation.
So, in the VII century, the monks got a security certificate and the patronage from the Prophet Mohammed. Kopia this letter is stored in the gallery icons. Therefore, when 16 years later, the peninsula was conquered by Arabs, the monastery continued his usual spiritual life to the glory of the Almighty God.
In the times of crusades, the Sinai Order of the Crusaders guarded the monastery and pilgrims from Europe. In 1517, Turkish Sultan Selim provided the special status of the monastery and Archbishop Sinai. Saint Ekaterina provided their patronage of Napoleon and our kings.
Despite the fact that the Orthodox monastery, his shrines are general Christian. That is why in March 2000, Holy Catherine has honored his duty to visit Roman dad.
Now in the monastery 25 monks. Among them are our named Jacob, as well as Armenian and Egyptian.