Avshalom Cave (Hebrew: מערת אבשלום), also known as Soreq Cave (Arabic: مغارة سوريك, Mghar Suriq) or Stalactites Cave (Hebrew: מערת הנטיפים, Me'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.
|Avshalom Nature Reserve|
|מערת הנטיפים בשמורת אבשלום|
|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|
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. According to the American geologist James Aronson, the Soreq Cave Nature Reserve is the Rosetta stone of climate history in the Eastern Mediterranean.
The cave is named after Avshalom Shoham, an Israeli soldier killed in the War of Attrition.
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 now open to visitors, in the heart of the 67-dunam Avshalom Nature Reserve, declared in 1975. In 2012, a new lighting system was installed to prevent the formation and growth of algae.
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.
- Speleothem Science: From Process to Past Environments. By Ian J. Fairchild, Andy Baker. Section 12.1.2
- Eminent Jewish Geologist Voyages to Tiberias to Connect With His Roots, Haaretz
- "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.
- Sanders, Edmund (18 September 2012). "Israel's prehistoric Soreq Cave now a clean, eerily lighted place". Los Angeles Times.
- "Avshalom Cave, Israel Nature & National Parks Protection Authority page". Archived from the original on 2015-07-07. Retrieved 2015-07-07.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Soreq Cave.|
- Stalactite Cave Nature Reserve at Israel Nature and Parks Authority
- Photos of Avshalom Stalactites Cave, Flickr