Avshalom Cave

Avshalom Cave, also known as Soreq Cave or Stalactites Cave (Hebrew: מערת הנטיפים‎), 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.The cave was discovered accidentally in May 1968, while quarrying with explosives, near Hartuv, 3 km east of Bet Shemesh, Israel. It is 83 m long, 60 m wide, and 15 m high.The cave is named after Avshalom Shoham, an Israeli soldier killed in the War of Attrition. After its discovery, the location of the cave was kept a secret for several years for fear of damage to its natural treasures.The temperature and the humidity in the cave are constant year round, and it 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.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.

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