Friday, March 5, 2010

Wadi Feiran

Wadi Feiran


Situated Between the Gulf of Suez and St. Catherine’s Monastery, Wadi Feiran is Sinai’s largest oases, it is lush and beautiful containing more than 12,000 date palms.
Many visitors to Egypt will visit Wadi Feiran on their way to or coming from St. Catherine’s Monastery. Wadi Feiran has a biblical significance as it is reputed to be the first Christian stronghold in the Sinai.

In a beautiful 4km area surrounded by greenery and located over a spring is the ”Seven Girls” Monastery also known as the Monastery of Moses or the Monastery of Feiran. Near the oasis is according to legend, the rock that Moses struck with his staff to bring forth a spring so his people could drink.
The valley where Wadi Feiran is situated is also a good spot from which to trek into the surrounding mountains. Those who persevere the six hour challenging hike along the Sikket ar-Reshshah track will be rewarded with a fantastic panoramic view of the area.

Few places are as steeped in Biblical mystery as the great Wadi Feiran - the Sinai's largest wadi (valley) and one of it's most archeologically important stretches of terrain. It was here, according to locals, scholars, and legend, that Moses (pbuh) struck a rock with his staff, bringing forth a spring so his people could drink.

Feiran is also the Site of Rafadim, the fabled oasis where the Hebrews camped and battled the Amelecites. For the pilgrims and believers who have been coming to this wadi for centuries, a journey through Feiran is to pass through an entire chapter of the Old Testament itself, Exodus 17.
Wadi Feiran 1Wadi Feiran 2
Given such prominence in the Old Testament, it is no surprise that Feiran is littered with the ruins of dozens of ancient churches; some dating back to the 4th century AD, when Feiran began to develop into a major religious center for monks and pilgrims, many on their way to Mount Sinai and St. Catherine's Monastery further east.
The Wadi's chief religious sites are the rock from which Moses (pbuh) drew water, which convention places at the western entrance to the oasis, and Mount Tahoun, which Moses (pbuh) supposedly used as an observation point to view the battle with the Amelecites. Atop the mountain is an ancient cross, and the ruins of a small church dating back to the 4th century.

As captivating as the Wadi's biblical lore, are its natural spectacles. Chief among these is the Oasis of Feiran, the largest oasis in all of Sinai. The heart of the oasis is a spectacular and luxuriant sprawl of palms that stretches over 4 km in length, the reason why Feiran is called the "Pearl of Sinai". Along the edges of the oasis and the Wadi are the dramatic, often sheer cliffs of the Wadi wall, which contribute to the valley's secretive and paradisiacal atmosphere.

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