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Distributed for Haus Publishing

Mount Sinai

A History of Travellers and Pilgrims

Distributed for Haus Publishing

Mount Sinai

A History of Travellers and Pilgrims

A mountain peak above Saint Catherine’s Monastery in Egypt, Mount Sinai is best known as the site where Moses received the Ten Commandments in the biblical Book of Exodus. Mount Sinai brings this rich history to light, exploring the ways in which the landscape of Mount Sinai’s summit has been experienced and transformed over the centuries, from the third century BCE to World War I.

As an important site for multiple religions, Mount Sinai has become a major destination for hundreds of visitors per day. In this multifaceted book, George Manginis delves into the natural environment of Mount Sinai, its importance in the Muslim tradition, the cult of Saint Catherine, the medieval pilgrimage phenomenon, modern-day tourism, and much more. Featuring notes, a bibliography, and illustrations from nineteenth-century travelers’ books, this deft blend of historical analysis, art history, and archaeological interpretation will appeal to tourists and scholars alike.

286 pages | 15 halftones, 6 line drawings | 4 1/4 x 8 1/4 | © 2016

Armchair Traveller's History

History: General History

Travel and Tourism: Tourism and History

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“Manginis, with a scholarly knowledge of Islamic history and experience of digging archaeologically on the dangerously electric summit of Mount Sinai, gives an engrossing account of the effect of the belief that this is indeed the Mountain of the Law.”


“Offers a different perspective and a fascinating story of the enduring appeal of Sinai over a period of nearly two millennia.”

History Today

Mount Sinai . . . is the memorable story, enlivened by visitors’ accounts, of the reputed spot where God came down to teach Moses. St Catherine’s Monastery has survived there from the days of desert hermits, through centuries of Muslim rule. Go, while you can.”

Tablet (UK)

“A necessity for schools of theology and for collections covering religious history.”


"[Mount Sinai] is rich in detail, agile in narrative, and evocative in mood. It makes me want to go there."

Nick Baines, Bishop of Leeds

"Lucid and original; a veritable feast of interesting stories about Mt Sinai’s extraordinary past."

Peter Frankopan, author of The Silk Roads

"As a traveller and pilgrim to Sinai on numerous occasions and now a Trustee of the St Catherine’s Foundation, I greatly enjoyed George Manginis’s Mount Sinai and learnt much from it. . . . The book is a learned and delightful compassion to God-trodden Sinai."

Richard Chartres, Bishop of London

"This book is an absolute mine of riches, reflection, and information. . . . I would strongly encourage anyone to pay a visit to this remarkable place of history, holiness and tradition. I recommend this book highly."

Vincent Nichols, Cardinal of Westminster

"George Manginis has trawled archives and published accounts to create the biography of the mountain, telling the story of the devout, the scholars, and the tourists who have helped shape its history. His book is likely to stand as the last word on one of the world’s most enduring places, unless an angel appears to tell the divine side of the story."

Anthony Sattin, author of Young Lawrence

Table of Contents

                Place Names
                Flora and Fauna
Chapter 1
                People of the Desert
                Uneasy Symbiosis
                Early Buildings
                Early Narrations
                Holy Wilderness
Chapter 2
                Justinian’s Project
                                The Fortress and Other Buildings in Wādī l-Dayr
                                The Basilica on Jabal Mūsā
                The Monastic Ultimate
                Imperial Landscape
Chapter 3
                The Early Islamic Period
                                Sinai and Islam
                                Itinerant Monks
                                Conversion of the Laymen
                                Collapse of the Basilica
                                A Virgin Martyr
                The Age of Pilgrimage
                                Passage to Heaven
                                Muslim Patronage
                                Early Medieval Pilgrimage
                                Late Medieval Pilgrimage
                The Ottoman Period
                Place of Devotion
Chapter 4
                Sinai Questioned
                                Alternative Sinais
                Orthodox Christianity
                Rapacious Scholars
                Sinai Represented
                Intrepid Tourists
                Object of Inquiry
List of Pilgrims and Travellers
Image Credits

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