Avshalom Cave

Coordinates: 31°45′21″N 35°01′24″E / 31.75583°N 35.02333°E / 31.75583; 35.02333
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Avshalom Nature Reserve
Soreq/Sorek Cave, Avshalom Cave, Stalactites Cave
LocationOn the western slopes of the Judean Hills, south of Nahal Soreq and approximately 2 kilometers east of Bet Shemesh.
Nearest cityBet Shemesh
Governing bodyIsrael Nature and Parks Authority

Avshalom Cave (Hebrew: מערת אבשלום, romanizedMe'arat Avshalom), known in academic literature as Soreq Cave (Hebrew: מערת שׂורק, romanizedMe'arat Soreq; Arabic: مغارة سوريك, romanizedMghar Suriq) and popularly as Stalactites Cave (Hebrew: מערת הנטיפים, romanizedMe'arat HaNetifim), 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 and other cave formations. It is a popular show cave.

The cave has been the focus of paleoclimate research, which allowed reconstruction of the region's semi-arid climate for the past 185,000 years.[1] According to the American geologist James Aronson, the Soreq Cave Nature Reserve is the Rosetta stone of climate history in the Eastern Mediterranean.[2]


The cave is named after the Soreq/Sorek Valley (Nahal Sorek) and after Avshalom Shoham, an Israeli soldier killed in the War of Attrition.


Avshalom Cave is situated near Hartuv, 3 km east of Bet Shemesh, Israel.


The cave was discovered accidentally in May 1968, while quarrying with explosives.

After its discovery, the location of the cave was kept a secret for several years for fear of damage to its natural treasures.


The cave is 83 m long, 60 m wide, and 15 m high.

The temperature and the humidity in the cave are constant year round.[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]


The cave is now open to visitors, in the heart of the 67-dunam Avshalom Nature Reserve, declared in 1975.[3] In 2012, a new lighting system was installed to prevent the formation and growth of algae.[5]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Speleothem Science: From Process to Past Environments. By Ian J. Fairchild, Andy Baker. Section 12.1.2
  2. ^ Eminent Jewish Geologist Voyages to Tiberias to Connect With His Roots, Haaretz
  3. ^ a b "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.
  4. ^ "Avshalom Cave". old homepage of the Israel Nature & National Parks Protection Authority. Archived from the original on 2015-07-07. Retrieved 2015-07-07.
  5. ^ Sanders, Edmund (18 September 2012). "Israel's prehistoric Soreq Cave now a clean, eerily lighted place". Los Angeles Times.

External links[edit]

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