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Wadi Feiran, Sinai (Egypt)

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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