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Saint Catherine's Monastery

Saint Catherine's Monastery officially the Sacred Autonomous Royal Monastery of Saint Katherine of the Holy and God-Trodden Mount Sinai, is an Eastern Orthodox monastery located on the Sinai Peninsula. It lies at the mouth of a gorge at the foot of Mount Sinai, near the town of Saint Catherine, in Egypt. The monastery is named after Catherine of Alexandria. Controlled by the autonomous Church of Sinai, which is part of the wider Greek Orthodox Church, the monastery became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2002 for its unique importance in the traditions of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. Saint Catherine's has as its backdrop the three mountains it lies near: Ras Sufsafeh (possibly the Biblical Mount Horeb, peak c.1 km (0.62 mi) west); Jebel Arrenziyeb, peak c. 1km south; and Mount Sinai (locally, Jebel Musa, by tradition identified with the biblical Mount Sinai; peak c. 2 km (1.2 mi) south). Built between 548 and 565, it is the oldest continuously inhabited Christian monastery in the world. The site also holds the world's oldest continually operating library, with unique or extremely rare works, such as the Codex Sinaiticus and the Syriac Sinaiticus, as well as possibly the largest collection of early Christian icons, including the earliest known depiction of Jesus as Christ Pantocrator.

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