Soreq Cave – Avshalom Stalactite Cave
The cave was discovered because of an explosion in the nearby Har-Tuv quarry in May 1968, which supplied gravel to the construction industry. The blast opened a window into a cave, which was hidden from the rest of the world for a few million years. Although the stalactite cave covers a relatively small area, hardly more than one acre, it does not fall short of world’s largest caves in magic and splendor. Wherever the eye looks, it will discover stalagmites and stalactites in every imaginable shape.
Scientists believe that the cave was created 8 to 25 million years ago because of the dissolution of limestone by rainwater diluted with carbon dioxide. When a hollow space was formed, the process was reversed: Though the water that penetrated the cave dissolved the limestone on its way, the drops now deposited sediments of limestone, either on the floor of the cave or on its ceilings.
After a film about stalactites and stalagmites, you walk down a specially designed path in the cave. Without a guide, this may take less than an hour.
Everyday except Friday you can go to a guided tour of the cave (no photography). On Fridays, there are no guided tours in the cave, but you are allowed to take pictures. The lighting in the cave is low (to preserve the stalactites).
On the western slopes of the Judean Hills, south of Nahal-Soreq and approximately 2 km (1 1/4 miles) east of Bet-Shemesh.
From Jerusalem: On the En-Kerem – Bar-Giora road. Follow the signposted road from the Bar-Giora Junction for about 5 km (3 miles) to the parking lot.
From Tel Aviv: Take the old Jerusalem road to Shimshon Junction, turn south to Bet-Shemesh, and then east to the beginning of the signposted road; Follow this road 5 km (3 miles) to the parking lot.