St Catherine's Monastery

Just got back from filming at St Catherine's Monastery. Situated in the foothills of the Sinai mountains in Egypt, it is the oldest continuously inhabited monastery in the world. Built at the supposed site God appeared to Moses in the burning bush, it has existed for seventeen centuries. Home to Greek Orthodox monks, it attracts pilgrims from all over the world who are drawn by its history and its symbol of peace, for which it stands.

 St Catherine's Monastery in the morning light.

St Catherine's Monastery in the morning light.

The library in the monastery contains arguably the most important collection of ancient manuscripts and early printed books in the world. However the room is in danger of collapsing, so funding has been provided to restore the walls and create a new safe library to house these important antiquities. I was part of the film crew comissioned to document the process.

 Drilling though a 6th century wall. Steel rods will be inserted to hold the granite blocks together and ensure it doesn't collapse. It's like Meccano, but on a bigger scale.

Drilling though a 6th century wall. Steel rods will be inserted to hold the granite blocks together and ensure it doesn't collapse. It's like Meccano, but on a bigger scale.

 One of the Monks, moonlighting as a welder inside the library. Health and safety seems to be in God's hands here!

One of the Monks, moonlighting as a welder inside the library. Health and safety seems to be in God's hands here!

 Local Bedouins are helping with the construction work. The monks and Bedouins have lived in harmony for centuries despite being of different faiths.

Local Bedouins are helping with the construction work. The monks and Bedouins have lived in harmony for centuries despite being of different faiths.

 Scintillating action going on here. 

Scintillating action going on here. 

 Declared a holy site by the prophet Mohammed, it has survied the crusades and the Ottoman conquest. A mosque was built in the 11th century, a symbol of two faiths being able to co-exist in peace.

Declared a holy site by the prophet Mohammed, it has survied the crusades and the Ottoman conquest. A mosque was built in the 11th century, a symbol of two faiths being able to co-exist in peace.