Who would have thought that there’s a natural formation — in this case, a stalactite cave — near a city capital?
Here in Jerusalem, one of the special sites near to it is the Stalactites Cave.
Also known as Avshalom’s Caves or Soreq Cave, the Stalactite Cave was discovered quite by chance during a blasting session at a nearby quarry. It is part of Stalactite Cave Nature Reserve and National Parks Authority, so it means it is a protected area.
It is a stunning experience with some world class geological wonders some dating back 300,000 years. The visit starts with a walk down the mountainside with about 150 steps on a good path (but it is also the way back out!!) – there is an access road for the infirm to be dropped off (best without strollers on the steps)
There is a short audio visual presentation that tells you about the cave and rings you up to speed on geology, some damaged stalactites and stalagmites that you can touch (so that you will desist inside the cave) and then around 45 minutes of magic actually in the cave. You can finish off with a well deserved ice cream.
The Stalactites Cave measures 82 meters long and 62 meters wide. It is perfect on a hot day or in the rain (22 degrees Celsius and around 90% humidity) – offering something to do out of the sun or the wet (apart from the walk back up the hill). The colorful artificial lighting even highlights the beauty of the stalactites. The cave is something very different and perfect for all the family.
It is claimed (only on the Hebrew site) that there is wheelchair access to the main viewing platform. There is a special road that avoids the steps. You are encouraged to phone in advance to make arrangements (see the link below).
Since these beautiful formations are a result from thousands of years of dripping water so you should make sure to wear appropriate shoes — especially the one with traction on the soles — as it can get quite slippery. Fortunately, the path is lit and there are guard rails installed in the area.
The Stalactites Cave is located just off the 3866 between Nes Harim and Bet Shemesh (nearer to Bet Shemesh. You take the turning to the right (from Nes Harim) by the Challenger Memorial. It is basically only accessible by car (or private hire).
Notes on reserve entrance:
Reserve entrance closes one hour before said closing time.
On the eves of the holidays — Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Passover — last entry is at noon and the reserve closes at 13:00
Sunday to Thursday and Saturday – 08:00 to 16:00 (reserve closes at 17:00)
Friday and holiday eves – 08:00 to 15:00 (reserve closes at 16:00)
Sunday to Thursday and Saturday – 08:00 to 15:00 (reserve closes at 16:00)
Friday and holiday eves – 08:00 to 14:00 (reserve closes at 15:00)
- 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.
More details at Stalectite Cave Nature Reserve
See also Nature Reserves