to Sinai. TUR. 10. Route. 505
thousand francs, is paTtly derived from the numerous shipwrecks
which take place near the island of Shadwan. The harbour is ad¬
mirably protected by coral reefs, which, however, are dangerous to
those unacquainted with their situation. Tur affords the only good
anchorage in the Gulf of Suez, beside Suez itself, and, like El-Wejj
(p. 411), is frequently used as a quarantine-harbour. To the N.
of the town the Jebel Hammdm Sidna Musa ('Mountain of the
baths of our Lord Moses'; 375 ft.), a spur of the low range of coast-
hills, projects into the sea. At the foot of this hill are situated
sulphur-springs of the temperature of 92-94°, roofed over by
'Abbas Pasha, which irrigate plantations of palms, and are used by
the natives chiefly as a cure for rheumatism. The Kal'at et-Tur,
a castle erected by Sultan Murad, is in a dilapidated condition.
Most of the palm-plantations belong to the monks of Mt. Sinai,
and are managed by their servants. One of the monks is stationed
at Tur, officiating partly as a chaplain to a few Christians resident
here, and partly as a caterer for the monastery, which is supplied
with provisions and fish from Tiir. The caravans between the sea
and the monastery are conducted by Jebeliyeh (p. 492). Excelleit
fish, numerous shells, and interesting marine animals abound here.
Excursions. The palm-garden of El- Wddi, about a mile to the N.W.
of the town, is noted for its salubrity. In the limestone slopes of the
Jebel Hammdm Musa are numerous dilapidated hermitages, with Christian
crosses, and several Greek and Armenian inscriptions, dating from A.D. 633.
To the N. rises the Jebel Mokatteb which boasts of several Sinaitic in¬
scriptions. None of these places present much attraction.
The Jebel Ndkus, or 'Bell Mountain', is 4'/2 hrs. distant from Tur. It
rises amphitheatrically about 1 M. from the shore of the Red Sea, and is
the scene of a phenomenon which was first observed by Seetzen. On
ascending the sand which covers its slope we hear a peculiar sound,
resembling that of distant bells, which gradually increases until it terminates
in a strange kind of roar.
'The noise at first resembled the faint tones of an iEolian harp when
first struck by the wind, and when the motion of the sand became more
rapid and violent, it rather assumed the sound produced by rubbing the
moistened finger on glass; but when the sand approached the foot of the
mountain, the reverberation was as loud as thunder, causing the rock
on which we sat to tremble. Our camels were so alarmed at the sound,
th at the attendants could scarcely hold them in.'
The phenomenon is easily explained; in ascending over the sand,
when dry (in which case alone the sound is heard) the traveller loosens
it and causes it to fall into the clefts of the sandstone rock on which it
lies; a slight and gradually increasing sound is thus produced by this
miniature avalanche. The Arabs believe that these curious sounds pro¬
ceed from a monastery buried under the sand. It had been accidentally
discovered by an Arab, who received hospitable entertainment from the
monks, and swore not to betray its existence; but when he afterwards
broke his oath, the monastery vanished.
From Tim to the Monastery of St. Catharine there are two
routes, one through the Wadi Hebran, the other through the Wadi
es-Sleh (Isleh). The latter is the shorter and preferable route, as
the Wadi es-Sleh is one of the most romantic ravines in the whole
peninsula, while the route through the Wadi Hebran is for some
distance the same as the shorter route from Suez to Sinai.