The History of South Sinai in Modern Times

At the end of the 15th century, until the first years of the following century, the Red Sea became the theater of a naval war between the Portuguese and the Mamluks. In 1517, Turkish Sultan Selim I conquered Egypt and turned it into a province of the Ottoman Empire. The Turkish period was peaceful and even slumberous.

When, in 1798, Napoleon invaded Egypt and attempted to conquer the Levant a detachment of soldiers was sent to Sinai. Those soldiers had with them many French scholars who made scientific observations on the main sites. After Muhammad Ali Pasha became ruler of Egypt in 1805, the military control of Sinai became stronger and traveling was much safer.

During the 19th century, the most relevant event was the digging of the Suez Canal (1859–1869), which joined the Mediterranean and the Red Sea. The project was carried out under the direction of French engineer Ferdinand de Lesseps.
In the 20th century; some important restorations were made in the                          St Catherine area between 1930 and 1951, the entire south wing of the monastery was demolished and rebuilt in order to establish a new library building. In 1934, the chapel on the summit of Mount Sinai was rebuilt using the stones of the Justinian basilica (6th century).

In 1948, Sinai became the border between Egypt and Israel and after the 6th October 1973 war, Sinai was liberated. Later on in 1979, a peace treaty was signed between Egypt and Israel.


MCGREGOR, A. J. A Military History of Modern Egypt: From the Ottoman Conquest to the Ramadan War. Greenwood Publishing Group, 2006.