The Church of St. Catherine is a Catholic church and Franciscan monastery connected to the mostly Orthodox Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.
The church is said to be built on the site of Christ's appearance to St. Catherine of Alexandria and his prediction of her martyrdom (c.310 AD). She is buried on Mt. Sinai.
The church is first recorded in the 15th century and may incorporate the chapter house of the 12th-century Crusader monastery that stood on the site.
Traces of a 5th-century monastery associated with St. Jerome also exist here. St. Catherine's Church was enlarged in 1881 with funds from the Emperor of Austria.
Modern civilization began right here in the Tigris-Euphrates river valley. Also known as the Fertile Crescent or Mesopotamia, this is the place where, six thousand years ago, agriculture, writing and mathematics were brought into widespread use.The term "Middle East" comes from the British navy, which used it to describe the countries on the trade route from Europe to India and China. Everything from Afghanistan to Morocco may possibly be classified as "middle eastern", depending on whom you ask -- and when.Only a partial list of past Empires in the middle eastern territory includes Sumeria, Babylonia, Persia, the Ottoman Empire and the Roman Empire!When northern Europe was still lurking about in slimy cold stone castles playing chess, the Middle East was enjoying the flowers of poetry, luxurious craftsmanship, music and literature. In fact, the Renaissance in Europe was partly inspired by stories brought back from the middle east by travelers along the trade route.Strategic location, religious history and the world's largest supply of crude oil have kept the Middle East at the center of world activity for centuries. The saga continues.Text by Steve Smith.