The Monastery of Saint Catherine: Below the towering lower flank of Mount Sinai, Justinian built this fortress monastery in the sixth century at the traditional site of the Burning Bush. Three exterior walls stand almost intact to their original height. The fourth, in the foreground shadow, is mostly later construction including the protruding tower in the middle of the wall, which was added in the 19th century. The three-story building with the central dome along the far wall, and the long red-roofed structure perpendicular to it are late additions built inside the sixth century walls. The latter building contains quarters for guests. The Church of St. Catherine with its grey peaked roof is seen from the northeast. This church houses the apse with the mosaic of the Transfiguration. The small roof below the double window in the end wall of the Church covers a medieval chapel built over the original open courtyard of the Burning Bush. Today, as in the past, pilgrims enter the site of the Bush by passing from the side aisles of the Church through either of two corner chapels which open into the medieval chapel between them.

The Church of Saint Catherine is almost entirely the original structure, as it was designed by Stephanos, the architect of Justinian.

(The name “Stephanus” may be seen carved on one of the horizontal wooden beams which cross the nave).

The peak above the monastery is part of the granite shoulder of Mount Sinai. The actual summit of the Mountain, however, looms still higher, out of sight to the far left, almost 7000 feet above sea level.