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To Sinai via the desert. Wady Feiran and Jebel Serbal



Photograph taken from Wadi Feiran (Biblical Rephidim) between Dier El Banat ( to the south) and Sheikh Ahmed and Sheikh Shebib Bedouin cemetery (to the north), where a dense palm grove covers that section of Feiran Oasis, looking south and showing the crown-shape summits of Gebel Serbal (El Madhawwa) in the far horizon in the centre from a 5.5km distance, the tooth-shape summits of the western range of Gebel Ahmar in the foreground, and the vicinity of Wadi A'liyat in-between Gebel Serbal and Gebel Ahmar (Source: A. Shams, Sinai Peninsula Research, 2018)
Camels replaced feral donkeys in transportation in 2nd millennium BCE, though domesticated donkeys are still used in the High Mountains of Sinai Peninsula. Wadi El Sheikh and Wadi Feiran (Biblical Rephidim of Amalek) were the upland section of Darb El Batraa in Sinai Peninsula (Way of Petra or Exodus Traditional Route). Gebel Serbal towers Feiran Oasis to the south. The oasis was also known as Palm Grove of B'aal and thought to be the true location of Mount Sinai (Biblical Sinai) in 3rd century CE. The hill of Dier El Banat served as a military outpost during late Roman and Byzantine periods (4th-7th centuries CE). Both wadis had been the way to Mount Sinai (Biblical Sinai) and Saint Catherine Monastery for pilgrims, travellers and scholars since 4th century CE. Sawalha (14th century CE), Qrarsha (16th century CE) and other tribes inhabit Feiran Oasis. The dirt-road to Saint Catherine Monastery via Wadi Feiran and Wadi El Sheikh was constructed in 1920s CE. Motor vehicles started replacing camels in Sinai Peninsula in the 1920s and 1930s CE. Though camels were still widely used through mid 20th century CE and until 1967-1982 CE, especially in remote areas until nowadays. (Source: A. Shams, Sinai Peninsula Research, 2018)
Title from: Catalogue of photographs & lantern slides ... [1936?].
Caption on negative: Wady Feiran and Jebel Serbal.
Date from Matson LOT cards.
Gift; Episcopal Home; 1978.

The G. Eric and Edith Matson Photograph Collection is a source of historical images of the Middle East. The majority of the images depict Palestine (present-day Israel and the West Bank) from 1898 to 1946. Most of the Library of Congress collection consists of over 23,000 glass and film photographic negatives and transparencies created by the American Colony Photo Department and its successor firm, the Matson Photo Service. The American Colony Photo Department in Jerusalem was one of several photo services operating in the Middle East before 1900. Catering primarily to the tourist trade, the American Colony and its competitors photographed holy sites, often including costumed actors recreating Biblical scenes. The firm’s photographers were residents of Palestine with knowledge of the land and people that gave them an advantage and made their coverage intimate and comprehensive. They documented Middle East culture, history, and political events from before World War I through the collapse of Ottoman rule, the British Mandate period, World War II, and the emergence of the State of Israel. The Matson Collection also includes images of people and locations in present-day Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Iraq, and Turkey. Additionally, the firm produced photographs from an East African trip. The collection came to the Library of Congress between 1966 and 1981, through a series of gifts made by Eric Matson and his beneficiary, the Home for the Aged of the Protestant Episcopal Church of the Diocese of Los Angeles (now called the Kensington Episcopal Home).



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