Well at the monastery St. Catherine's Monastery
Title from negative sleeve.
Taken either by the American Colony Photo Department or its successor, the Matson Photo Service.
Guide card: Sinai.
Photograph taken from the western end of the southern alley of the monastery, looking northeast and showing the water well of Stephenious (Stephen) in the foreground from centre-right to the left. (A. Shams, Sinai Peninsula Research, 2018)
Historically, there were (and partially still) three water wells inside the monastery: first, Prophet Moses well in the northern alley of the monastery is the most known water source to the pilgrims, travellers and tourists: "At a well in the convent, called the well of Moses, they say, Moses met the daughters of Jethro: That on the Mount of Moses he was feeding the flock of Jethro, his father-in-law." (Richard Pococke, 1739) It is the reason why the monastery was built in that location at the site of the burning bush: "The Bush itself is in front of the church in a very pretty garden which has plenty of excellent water. Nearby you are also shown the place where holy Moses was standing when god said to him: "Undo the fastening of the shoes" and so on." (Egeria, 383) This was how the site of the Burning Bush looked like before the construction of the monastery in 6th century CE. Second, the water well of the garden is now covered under the granite tiles close to the bush. Third, the water well of Stephenious (Stephen), the engineer of the monastery, is located at the western end of the southern alley of the monastery next to a chapel named after him. According to the tradition, the water well was dug in 6th century CE during the construction of Justinian's fortress. (A. Shams, Sinai Peninsula Research, 2018)
Gift; Episcopal Home; 1978.
The G. Eric and Edith Matson Photograph Collection is a source of historical images of the Middle East. The majority of the images depict Palestine (present-day Israel and the West Bank) from 1898 to 1946. Most of the Library of Congress collection consists of over 23,000 glass and film photographic negatives and transparencies created by the American Colony Photo Department and its successor firm, the Matson Photo Service. The American Colony Photo Department in Jerusalem was one of several photo services operating in the Middle East before 1900. Catering primarily to the tourist trade, the American Colony and its competitors photographed holy sites, often including costumed actors recreating Biblical scenes. The firm’s photographers were residents of Palestine with knowledge of the land and people that gave them an advantage and made their coverage intimate and comprehensive. They documented Middle East culture, history, and political events from before World War I through the collapse of Ottoman rule, the British Mandate period, World War II, and the emergence of the State of Israel. The Matson Collection also includes images of people and locations in present-day Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Iraq, and Turkey. Additionally, the firm produced photographs from an East African trip. The collection came to the Library of Congress between 1966 and 1981, through a series of gifts made by Eric Matson and his beneficiary, the Home for the Aged of the Protestant Episcopal Church of the Diocese of Los Angeles (now called the Kensington Episcopal Home).