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x The Turquoise Mines in Sarabit El-Khadem

The site is located on a mount in the north-east of Wadi Firan, in the region of Romanah, north to Abu-Zeneimah. It is the most important Pharaonic Site in Sinai. Ancient Egyptians used to extract stones and minerals from the quarries of Sinai since the Old Kingdom. At the site were found some remains and inscriptions dating back to the Pre-Dynastic Period (8000 BC). The site of Sarabit El-Khadim houses the most important turquoise mines in Sinai, on which great industries have largely depended. Egyptian Pharaohs had attended to these treasures through organizing military protection to the mining areas, exploring new mines, supplying shelter to the miners, and organizing the transportation process through caravans that carried the minerals to the ships in the Gulf of Suez and then to the Red Sea ports in the mainland of Egypt. In the 19th century, the British tried to reopen the area’s mines using explosives, which caused a great deal of damage to the depictions and reliefs there. Nevertheless, there are still many inscriptions and scenes belonging to different periods. Some of the most interesting depictions in the area are those which show the ships that transported the turquoise and those of King Sekhemkhet submitting the enemies of Egypt.

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