to Sinai. MONASTERY OF SINAI. 10. Route. 495
castle built by Justinian. The same wall contains another large
stone, which, to judge from its ornamentation, probably bears a
third inscription on one of its sides. The monastery was often
destroyed and rebuilt, and consequently exhibits great incongruity
of form ; we therefore find cubes and round arches, pointed and flat
roofs, and a church and mosque in close contact with each other.
The, whole building presents the appearance of a fortress exter¬
nally, but the bold and menacing defences consist of the walls of
houses, and massive walls of stones connecting the different build¬
ings, which take the place of a regular rampart. The apartments
occupied by the monks, pilgrims, and travellers, are situated on
the first floor of the houses, which are only one room in depth, their
doors being connected by a long, wooden gallery. The white¬
washed walls bear numerous Greek inscriptions, some of which
were written by a monk of Athos, named Cyril, who was formerly
librarian here. The different buildings are separated by small
courts ; one of these contains a well, and a small group of apricot
trees enclosed by stakes. The low buildings are commanded by a
lofty cypress. From the embrasures in the walls and ramparts a
few small cannons still frown on the now peaceful 'Saracens'. In
the midst of the buildings is situated the church (see below), with
its handsome tower, adjoining which is the ill-preserved mosque.
The wells yield excellent water, particularly one in a shed at the
back of the church, which the monks point out as the one at which
Moses watered the flocks of Jethro's daughters.
The Church of the Transfiguration is an eariy Christian basilica.
The exterior is uninteresting. In the centre of the W. side, which
forms a kind of facade, a large cross, with a window in the centre,
takes the place of the usual rose-window; and on each side of it
is a palm-tree engraved on the stone. -— The church is entered by
a porch, and a flight of steps descending beyond it, both of which
have been restored. In the middle of each of the topmost steps
is a letter of the name of St. James ('I-A-K-Q-B-0-2). — We first
enter a vestibule (narthex) with a Byzantine window, containing
a large, modem basin for holy water with small silver eagles.
The framework of the doorleading into the nave is richly decorated
and the panels are embellished with old pictures in enamel, of
small size. The basilica, which we next enter, notwithstanding
the lowness of its aisles, and the superabundant decoration peculiar
to Greek churches , is not devoid of effect. Each of the lofty walls
bearing the entablature of the nave rests on thick columns of
granite, covered with stucco and painted green, the capitals of
which are adorned with boldly executed foliage. The ceiling has
been recently re-painted, and divided into bright coloured sec¬
tions containing indifferent medallion figures of John the Baptist,
the Virgin and Child, and the Saviour.
The Aisles are lighted by five Byzantine windows on each side,