The peninsula of Sinai was the backyard in my youth. It meant freedom, wide and high landscapes, emptiness and adventures.
The region in the early 70s was still wild, almost untouched by civilization, and as such it attracted all kinds of adventure seekers and hippies from around the world.
I did a few trips to the high mountain region in those early years, later in 1978 I introduced the area to the woman who became my life partner.
After Sinai was returned to the Egyptians in 1982, there was a long break in my desert journeys. I finally returned to these great mountains for a few more unforgettable trips between 1999 and 2002.
Sinai is a unique combination of different landscapes of desert, great beaches of the Red Sea with some rare exotic coral reefs and fantastic mountains that exceed the altitude of 2300 m. As the high mountain region is inhabited by Bedouin tribes the visitor will notice some cultivated wadies where almond and other fruit trees grow. Until a couple of decades ago the locals with their families and animal stock were still moving to the high lands for the summer months to avoid the heat.
Culturally Sinai goes as far back as 4600 years, when Egyptian expeditions searched for the local Turquoise stone and copper. In the old temple of Sarabit El Hadem, which was built within the mine area, written documents and reports can still be seen carved on the stone pillars. The Nabatians left their marks in shape of carved graffitis (Wadi el Mukattab) and the city of Firan in the Firan valley by Mount Sirbal.
And of course the traditional belief of the Tora having been given to the Israelites in Mount Sinai (Mount Moses).
Unfortunately the area has been considered rather unsafe for travelers in the past few years, so all I can do is look back at my big collection of pictures and hope to return to this wonderful place one day soon.
Visit the blog of my friend Dr. S. L. Abrahmov for more stories of Sinai.