The Holy Family came from Bethlehem to Gaza, then walked the northern road to the Sinai Peninsula, which is the coastal road parallel to its northern coast on the Mediterranean. This road is one of the oldest and safest roads in Sinai, and this road runs from Rafah, crossing Wadi al-Arish, then extends to Zaraniq at the beginning of Lake Bardawil, and from there to the tongue between the Mediterranean Sea and Lake Bardawil itself, then follows the Mediterranean coast until it reaches Al-Farma.
There are recent archaeological discoveries on the northern Sinai coast, in which fixed or movable Christian relics were found from the Byzantine era, which are considered evidence confirming the passage of the Holy Family in this region.
The city of Rafah is located on the border between Egypt and Palestine, and the name “Rafah” came from the ancient Egyptian name “Ra-bah” which means the gate of access, because it was considered the gate of access to Egypt. The Romans and Greeks called it “Rafia” and the Arabs called it “Rafah”, which is 45 km to the east from Al-Arish.
It was mentioned by the Jewish historian “Josephus”, as the first stop where the Greek leader Titus rested on his way to subdue the Jews who rebelled against the Roman Empire, and that was in the year 70 after the birth of Christ, glory be to Him.
Rafah is a solid land, and in its north there are sand dunes cut by the mouth of Wadi Al-Arish. The sand covered most of its monuments, but excavations were discovered in Rafah, including columns of black porphyry and broken pieces of pottery and glass of all kinds, as well as remnants of stones likely to belong to a church dating back to the seventh and eighth centuries. In addition to these monuments, a marble statue of the Virgin Mary was found, and another small, bright white marble statue of a knight with a spear stabbing a dragon, probably of Saint George the Roman, as well as coins from the era of the Romans and Byzantines.
Rafah is the first point inside the Egyptian borders in the path of the Holy Family.