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Serabit el-Khadim ( (also transliterated Serabit al-Khadim, Serabit el-Khadem) is a locality in the south-west Sinai Peninsulamarker where turquoise was mined extensively in antiquity, mainly by the ancient Egyptians. Archaeological excavation, initially by Sir Flinders Petrie, revealed the ancient mining camps and a long-lived Temple of Hathor, the Egyptian goddess who was favoured as a protector in desert regions.

Serabit el-Khadim is not particularly easy to get to unless you know where to look. It is not a major tourist destination. While its pharaonic ruins are not so spectacular, compared to those in the Nile Valley, its remoteness and rugged beauty make it a very worthwhile trip. There are a number of plinths, large cartouches, and stone baboons. The road barely is marked and is not paved from the main shore highway along the Gulf of Suez to the site. The climb to the temple from the dirt road is a moderately steep one and the temple can be reached in less than two hours, but is difficult in summer when temperatures can approach 50°C. There is no water (other than local wells) or other facilities. If attempting to go there bring lots of water.

The local tribes are responsible for protecting the site from looting and are open to assisting tourists and hiring-out as guides. Some of the rocks in the vicinity of the site have interesting carved graffiti from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Further reading

  • W.M. Flinders Petrie, Researches in Sinai, London, 1906.
  • R. Giveon, The Stones of Sinai speak, Tokyo, 1978.
  • Eckenstein, Lina. A History of Sinai. London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1921.


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