Egypt aims to make Sinai a place of pilgrimage for Christians, Jews, Muslims

Egyptian authorities are intending to use the holy places of three world religions on the Sinai Peninsula to development pilgrimage and excursion-educational tourism, according to South Sinai province governor Khaled Foda, reports RIA-Novosti.

“Sinai is the cradle of three world religions; it embodies the spirit of peaceful coexistence of representatives of different faiths,” Foda said, speaking at an international conference on the development of religious tourism.

According to him, the conference, to which were invited religious leaders from around the world, will help stimulate religious tourism in the region, which is better known throughout the world as a place for a “beach vacation.”

According to Deputy Minister for Antiquities Affairs Muhammed Abdel Latif, the first Muslims passed through Sinai to Egypt, and the first pilgrims on the way to Mecca and Medina used paths through Sinai. The Sinai territory also has historical mosques and ancient Muslim fortresses he noted.

He also added that St. Catherine’s Monastery on Mt. Sinai, also known as Moses’ Mountain, is an important religious site. Moses spoke to God, receiving the Law atop Mt. Sinai, where today stands an Orthodox church and a mosque. The area includes many other religious “attractions,” including the ancient Baths of Moses, the tomb of the holy prophet Aaron, and the cave of St. John Climacus.

Head of the State Committee for Tourism Development Khisham ad-Dumari told RIA-Novosti that the government is ready to help in the development of religious tourism on the Sinai Peninsula.

“With regards to religious tourism, the state’s role will be to ensure the necessary conditions. In particular, we will, for example, ensure that there will be a good road leading to St. Catherine’s Monastery, that there will be an airport, and good hotels. Tourist companies should include these sights in their service packages,” said al-Dumari.

“Sinai has very many monuments that are important for Muslims, Christians, and Jews, and we want the whole world to know about it,” concluded the Egyptian representative.