The secret ancient library behind the walls of the world’s oldest monastery.//
Ever heard of the Sacred and Imperial Monastery of the God-Trodden Mount of Sinai? No? It’s also known as Saint Catherine’s Monastery. Nothing?
If you haven’t heard of it, that’s because this ancient monastery at the foot of Mt. Sinai is so remote that until modern times only the most devout of seekers could get there via ten-day camel ride.
The monastery was built in the mid-6th century AD at what is considered to be the spot where Moses saw the burning bush. Known to have been occupied by Christians since at least as far back as the 4th century AD, the site, in fact, claims to host the original living bush that Moses witnessed.
Just as amazing is that Saint Catherine’s also claims the worlds oldest continually operating library, stuffed with 5,000 early books, 3,500 manuscripts and 2,000 scrolls – a collection rivaled only by the Vatican. This is also one of the most exclusive libraries in the world. Only the monks of the monastery and select clergy and scholars are allowed in.
I am so fascinated with libraries – especially old ones – that I made a monolithic, centuries-old library the central battleground of my thriller The League of Delphi. And the fact that this library is surrounded by a virtual fortress makes it ten times more fascinating and meaningful to the story.
After a millenium and a half of cloistered existence Saint Catherine’s is now bringing the collection to the world through the tools of the digital age but the library itself remains inaccessible to most outsiders.
Now, here’s the cheese on this Brain Burger.
3 books you might find in the world’s oldest library:
- Twilight: The Dawn of History
- The Genghis Khan Cookbook: Feeding a Band of Marauding Barbarians on a Budget
- Fifty Shades of Black: A Monk’s Wardrobe Confessions
Chris Everheart is author of the thriller
THE LEAGUE OF DELPHI
- The Ark of the Wilderness, St. Catherine’s Mount Sinai, prepares to share its treasures online (areluctantsinner.blogspot.com)
- 11 Wonderful Libraries in Africa (mentalfloss.com)