The stunning Stalactite Cave Nature Reserve, located on the western side of Mt. Ye’ela in the Judean Hills, is a spectacular marvel that you must add to your site-seeing to-do list while in Israel. Within the Stalactite Cave, Nature Reserve is the Avshalom Cave, which also goes by Soreq Cave or Stalactites Cave, which has stalactites dating back 300,000 years! This 5,000m2 cave (83m long, 60m wide, and 15m high) has become famous for its dense concentration of ancient stalactites and stalagmites.
Stalactites are elongated cave formations that hang from the ceiling, formed by dripping mineral water. Stalagmites are the opposite; they develop from the floor of the cave. Some of the stalactites and stalagmites in the Avshalom Cave are so old that they merged together to form columns! Other unique formations have inspired the imagination of visitors young and old to name them according to their appearance; such as “grandfather,” “macaroni field,” “Romeo and Juliet,” and many more. Take a trip back in history today by visiting the Stalactite Cave Nature Reserve!
The Stalactite Cave Nature Reserve
According to the American geologist James Aronson; the Stalactite Cave Nature Reserve is the Rosetta stone of climate history in the Eastern Mediterranean. In addition to being a popular tourist attraction; it has been a center of paleoclimate research. The Avshalom Cave has allowed researchers to better understand this region’s semi-arid climate for the past 185,000 years! Since this cave is a wealth of information; especially since it continues to form to this day; the Nature and Parks Authority of Israel goes to great lengths to manage the site. They even installed a brand-new LED lighting system in 2012 to prevent the growth of harmful algae. Plus, that same lighting creates gorgeous imagery within the cave that makes it seems otherworldly.
The Avshalom Cave was discovered by accident in 1968 after a routine explosion while quarrying in the Hartuv quarry. The explosion had blasted a hole into the hillside; creating an opening to the incredible cave hidden just behind the rock wall! Soon after the discovery was made, the quarry was shut down. The cave itself was kept a secret for a few years because officials feared that adventures would find their way in and cause damage before the park could be properly monitored.
It wasn’t until 1975 that the area was declared a nature reserve. The cave was named in honor of Avshalom Shoham; an IDF soldier who was wounded in service to his country and later died of his injuries. Avshalom’s friends and family were a part of the development of the Stalactite Cave Nature Reserve for the public; now it will live on forever in his memory.
The Stalactite Cave Nature Reserve is an Ideal Activity for Kids!
The cave is a fun and enjoyable thing to do in Israel for kids of all ages! It’s always cool to explore a cave and while doing you get to learn cool facts about interesting geological phenomena! So why not?! What I am trying to say is that the Stalactite Cave Nature Reserve is a real neat attraction in Israel to check out, and if you are in the area of Jerusalem don’t miss it!
Stalactite Cave Nature Reserve Opening Hours:
Reserve entrance closes one hour before cited closing time.
On the eves of the holidays of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Passover, the last entry is at noon and the reserve closes at 1 P.M.
Sunday–Thursday and Saturday: Entry from 8 A.M. to 4 P.M. Reserve closes at 5 P.M.
Friday and holiday eves: Entry from 8 A.M. to 3 P.M. Reserve closes at 4 P.M.
Sunday–Thursday and Saturday: Entry from 8 A.M. to 3 P.M. Reserve closes at 4 P.M.
Friday and holiday eves: Entry from 8 A.M. to 2 P.M. Reserve closes at 3 P.M.
Entry to the cave is only with a tour; entry without a tour is not possible.
Tours in Hebrew leave after a wait of about half an hour. Individual visitors will join groups reserved ahead of time.