Avshalom Cave

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Avshalom Nature Reserve
מערת הנטיפים בשמורת אבשלום
-מערת אבשלום -מערת הנט-יפים.jpg
Location On the western slopes of the Judean Hills, south of Nahal Soreq and approximately 2 kilometers east of Bet Shemesh.
Nearest city Bet Shemesh
Governing body Israel Nature and Parks Authority

Avshalom Cave (Hebrew: מערת אבשלום‎‎), also known as Soreq Cave (Arabic: مغارة سوريك‎‎) or Stalactites Cave (Hebrew: מערת הנטיפים‎‎), is a 5,000 m2 cave on the western side of Mt.Ye'ela, in the Judean hills, in Israel, unique for its dense concentration of stalactites. According to James Aronson, the American geologist known for calculating the age of the 3.2 million year old skeletal fossil, Lucy, the Soreq Cave Nature Reserve is the Rosetta stone of climate history in the Eastern Mediterranean.[1]


The cave was discovered accidentally in May 1968, while quarrying with explosives, near Hartuv, 3 km east of Bet Shemesh, Israel. It is 83 m long, 60 m wide, and 15 m high. The cave is named after Avshalom Shoham, an Israeli soldier killed in the War of Attrition. After its discovery, the location of the cave was kept a secret for several years for fear of damage to its natural treasures.

The temperature and the humidity in the cave are constant year round, and it is now open to visitors, in the heart of the 67-dunam Avshalom Nature Reserve, declared in 1975.[2] In 2012, a new lighting system was installed to prevent the formation and growth of algae.[3]

Some of the stalactites found in the cave are four meters long, and some have been dated as 300,000 years old. Some meet stalagmites to form stone pillars.[4]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Eminent Jewish geologist Voyages to Tiberias to Connect With His Roots, Haaretz
  2. ^ "List of National Parks and Nature Reserves" (PDF) (in Hebrew). Israel Nature and Parks Authority. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-10-07. Retrieved 2010-09-27. 
  3. ^ Sanders, Edmund (18 September 2012). "Israel's prehistoric Soreq Cave now a clean, eerily lighted place". Los Angeles Times. 
  4. ^ "Avshalom Cave, Israel Nature & National Parks Protection Authority page". Archived from the original on 2015-07-07. Retrieved 2015-07-07. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 31°45′21″N 35°01′24″E / 31.75583°N 35.02333°E / 31.75583; 35.02333