Winter Sun

The first rays of sun strike the parapet along the north wall.

3 comments to Winter Sun

  • Richard Saloom

    Father, Would you know what are the dimensions and materials that make up the walls? What is the area of Saint Catherine’s that is enclosed by the wall? Thanks, Richard

    • Father Justin

      The Sinai monastery walls are a lopsided square, running parallel to the valley floor. They are approximately 85 metres by 74 in length. They vary from 12 to 15 metres in height. They were constructed in the middle of the sixth century from hewn blocks of the local granite. In later centuries, buttresses were added, and the wall height increased, using field stones. The hewn stones vary in length, but are uniformly 0.6 metres in height, due to the natural bedding of the granite where the stones were quarried. The walls appear to be constructed from massive blocks of stone, of the same thickness as the wall. In fact, the stones were dressed on the face, and then squared off on the sides. They were then placed to produce an inner and outer wall, and the interior space was filled with rubble and mortar. This technique was used in Roman times, and was described by Vitruvius, who calls it ἔμπλεκτον, ’emplekton’.

  • Richard Saloom

    Father, Thank you for the reply. That is similar to the construction of parts of the walls of Constantinople. I am amazed at the height being up to 15 metres.

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