to Sinai. WADI BUDRA. 10. Route. 479
the encampment of the Israelites on the Red Sea (Numb, xxxiii.
10). The old harbour is still occasionally used by the fishing-boats
of the Arabs. In ancient time3 the roads, by which ore and stone
were brought from the mines of the Wadi Maghara and Sarbut el-
Khadem for farther conveyance by water, converged here.
Beyond Abu Zenimeh the route at first skirts the sea for
iy2 hour. Travellers usually walk here, and amuse themselves by
picking up shells, as Sinai travellers have done from time imme¬
morial. This custom is mentioned by Thiedmarus in the 13th cent.,
by Fabri, and by Breidenbach, the last of whom says, that 'various
kinds of shells are to be found on the coast of the Red Sea, and
also white coral, and many beautiful stones', probably meaning by
the last expression the smooth fragments of quartz on the beach.
On the margin of the narrow plain of the coast, to the left of the
route, rise curiously formed, yellowish, limestone hills piled up in
strata, one apparently resting on gigantic, shell-shaped pedestals
which have been formed by the action of the water. At the S. end
of these hills rises the Jebel el-Nokhel, a bold eminence abutting so
closely on the sea that it is washed by the waves at high water, in
which case the traveller must cross it by a path ascending in steps.
Beyond this hill we reach a plain, called El-Markka, of consid¬
erable extent, and not destitute of vegetation. It is bounded on
the N. by the Jebel el-Markha (590 ft.), a black hill, contrasting
strongly with its light-coloured neighbours. Proceeding to the S.E.
for 2'/4 hrs. more, we at length reach the more mountainous part
of the peninsula, which we enter by the Hanak el-Lakam, a valley
varying in width, and flanked with barren rocks of reddish and
grey tints. After 3/4 hr. we reach the mouth of the Wddi Ba'ba' on
the N. , which is commanded by the dark Jebel Ba'ba', while on
the S. (right) begins the Wddi Sheldl. Traversing the latter for
74 hr., we next entertheWadi Budra. The winding route ascends
gradually. We pass several mountain slopes resembling huge walls
of blocks of stone, artificially constructed. Farther on we observe
grey and red granite rocks amidst other formations. In every direc¬
tion lie long heaps of black, volcanic slag, strongly resembling the
refuse from foundries. Beside them lie numerous fragments of
brown, grey, and red stone, including felsite porphyry, which is
remarkable for the bright, brick-red colour of the orthoclase felspar.
Along the slopes rise cliffs and pinnacles of various colours and
grotesque forms. The route leads from one basin into another, each
of which has a horizon of its own, until (l'/4 hr.) we come to a
frowning barrier of rock which seems to preclude farther progress.
We soon find, however, that a steep bridle-path ascends in y4 hr.
to the Nakb el-Budra (or 'pass of the sword's point', 1265 ft.), by
which we surmont the apparent barrier. This pass was traversed
in ancient times by the beasts of burden which transported the
minerals, obtained in the Wadi Maghara, to the sea; it then fell