"Only in complete silence, will you hear the desert."
- Bedouin saying
The name Sinai is thought to be derived from the Semetic word Sen, meaning tooth, and the word Sin, the god of the moon, father of the sun god, worshiped in prehistoric times.
Sinai, the triangular peninsula of Egypt, is a bridge between Asia and Africa. It was once connected to Arabia (present-day Saudi Arabia), but about 2 million years ago a large seismic activity and massive eruptive phenomena caused the separation of the two continents and thus the Sinai was given its distinctive and geographical shape.
Still, every year, Sinai moves away 5 mm to 2 cm from Africa.
Sinai is part of the Great Rift Valley, the great fracture in the earth's crust that begins in East Africa and continues through the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aqaba to the Jordan Valley (Dead Sea and Sea of Galilee).
Sinai is from North to South 380 km long, 210 km wide with an area of 61.000 km² and 600 km coastline.
The northern part of Sinai is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea and Israel. It consists mainly of flat expanses of sand and some agricultural areas. El Arish, where the majority of the people of the north live, is the capital of the North Sinai governorate.
The western part of Sinai is bordered by the Gulf of Suez (known for oil industry, the Suez Canal and the Suez tunnel) and the Red Sea. El Tur, where the majority of the people of the South live, is the capital of the governorate South Sinai and lies on the south west coast.
The eastern part of Sinai is bordered by the Gulf of Aqaba and the coast extends from the most norteastern city of Taba, on the Israeli border, to Nuweiba, Dahab and Sharm el Sheikh on the most southern point where the sea is a true underwater paradise with ideal conditions, which attracts many visitors.
The central part of Sinai is less visited and therefore the most unspoilt part of the Peninsula and consists of a large limestone plateau, the region of El Tih, which forms the border between North and South Sinai.
The southern part of Sinai is a lunar landscape of granite mountains. The highest mountains are Mount Katherine (2642 m) and Mount Sinai also know as Mount Horeb or Moses' Mountain (2285 m).
This area offers beautiful landscapes and is characterized by its diverse fauna, rare flora, history (important to the Jewish, Christian and Islamic faith) and culture. During winter and early spring sudden storms can chase flood waters from the mountains through wadis and channels towards the sea, causing an explosion of green plants and waterfalls in their wake.
Even today Sinai has enough water to support a remarkable diversity of life and since 2010 South Sinai has been so lucky to have seen some rainfall and flooding.
However, this southern part of Sinai is most famous for its underwater world. Especially the National Park Ras Mohamed has the best colorful coral reefs, teeming with life and offers the best conditions for snorkelers, free divers and scuba divers. With an average of 360 days of sun, it is a true paradise.
B E D A W I for Tourism
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Arab Republic of Egypt
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