UNESCO, the United Nations’ Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, following the recommendation as well as the relative discussion that took place in the course of its Convention for the Protection of the Cultural and Natural Heritage (held in Paris between April 8-13, 2003) presented the candidature of the area of the Holy Monastery of Sinai for inscription in the existing catalogue of the corresponding Monuments based primarily on criteria iii, iv, and vi. An interesting point of the comments that accompany the Introductory Report is constituted by the mention of the meaning that the Sinaitic Heritage has as the point of encounter of the faithful of the three great monotheistic religions: Christianity, Islam, and Judaism, and that in last analysis through its inscription there shall be offered a chance for the projection of a message of peace through the Convention for World Heritage Sites.

During the Convention held in Budapest of Hungary, on the occasion of the thirty-year anniversary of UNESCO, there was decided the final inscription of the broader area of The Holy Monastery of Sinai under progressive number of inscription 954. While the text of the brief description is the same as the one that resulted in the Introductory Report, among the justifying criteria there was included also criterion (i), that in the course of the Introductory Discussion had been dismissed. Criterion (i) is rarely is used as it does not refer only to immovable monuments but also to movable ones, which in the case of the Holy Monastery of Sinai referred to its religious treasures, to its library, etc.


The Orthodox Monastery of St. Catherine stands at the foot of the Mount Horeb of the Old Testament, where Moses received the Tablets of the Law. The mountain is known and revered by Muslims as Jebel Musa. The entire area is Sacred to the three World Religions: Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. The Monastery, founded in the sixth century, is the oldest Christian monastery still in use for its initial function. Its walls and buildings are very significant in the study of Byzantine architecture and the monastery houses outstanding collections of early Christian manuscripts and icons. The rugged mountainous landscape, containing numerous archaeological and religious sites and monuments, forms a perfect backdrop for the monastery

Justification for Inscription

Criterion (i). The architecture of St Catherine's Monastery, the artistic treasures that it houses, and its domestic integration into a rugged landscape combine to make it an outstanding example of human creative genius.

Criterion (iii). St Catherine's Monastery is one of the very early outstanding examples in Eastern tradition of a Christian monastic settlement located in a remote area. It demonstrates an intimate relationship between natural grandeur and spiritual commitment.

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