Sinai in Antiquity
Women & Children
How to Visit
An interactive map. Use it to find the road to Serabit el-khadim and mark your favorite places.
The Temple of Serabit el-Khadim is one of the most important temples of Ancient Egypt, as it represents the largest and most important Egyptian temple in the Sinai Peninsula. It is considered the oldest example of a partially rock-cut Egyptian temple. The sanctuary at Serabit el-Khadim represents the largest sanctuary left by a group of miners all over Egypt. This temple, actually located on the mountains of Serabit el- Khadim, was built on a height of approximately 850 m above sea level that is roughly 1436 meters lower than Mount Sinai and approximately 643 m higher than the apex of the Great Pyramid. It was built in an area where turquoise mining took place over many decades to worship the goddess of turquoise, Hathor. The temple earliest attested dating is for the twelfth dynasty around (1991-1783 BC), and continued to be in use until the Ramesside period (1307-1070 BC). There is earlier evidence of mining activities in area which dates to the Archaic/Old Kingdom (c.3000 BC) in the area of Wadi Maghara that’s approximately 20 km southwest of Serabit el-Khadim.
We can access to the temple using 2 different ascending ways:
1) The first way "SCA stairs" starts from the plain of el-Tih where many rest points or stations are found on this way. The only shaded one is found in front of the inscription of Road el-‘Air. It is the safest way and the mostly recommended.
2) The second way is through Wadi Serabit; this wadi surrounds the site from the north. However, to get to the Wadi Serabit you need to off road for 20 minutes in very soft sand, and the trail is very dangerous up to the temple. It is highly not recommended even if any of the Bedouins of the area suggest that it is faster or shorter.
Rod el-‘Air, which literary means in Arabic, the ‘Valley of the Donkeys’, is a minor archaeological site on the way to the temple of Serabit el-Khadim. It is clear from its features that it was used as a resting area for the ancient miners on the way to the temple and the mining areas, for its rock formations provide shade during all the day until the late afternoon. The site is an ancient graffiti wall showing images for the Ancient Egyptian mining expeditions composed of 23 graffiti and a rock stela, mostly dating to the Middle Kingdom. This graffiti shows different figures such as animals, people and boats. The latter are the most famous, for these hold a lot of similarity with the ancient boats used by the mining expeditions crossing the Red Sea from the Nile Valley
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