One day in May 1968, the sound of blasting echoed across the western slopes of the Judean mountains. On the face of things, just another blast at the Hartuv quarry that supplies stone for construction, no different than the hundreds that preceded it. But this blast was entirely different: it revealed a small opening into a wondrous world that had been hidden deep within the earth, concealed from the eyes of all living creatures. With that blast, the current chapter in the life of the Stalactite Cave began.
Nature Reserve General Information
Location: The cave is located western slopes of the Judean mountains, on the southern face of Mount Yaela. lt is south of the Soreq Stream,
which gave the cave its other the Sorek Cave.
The cave was declared a nature reserve on March 16, 1975.
Area of the cave: 180,000 Sqm
Height above sea level of the cave entrance: 385 m.
Measurements of the Cave
The maximum length of the cave is 91 m (its average length is 80 m), its maximum width is 80 m (its average width is 60 m), and its maximum height is 15 m (about 5.5 m high on the average). The area of the cave is some 4800 square meters and its volume is 25,000 cubic meters. The air temperature in the cave is constant year-round at 22 ° C. Humidity ranges from 92% to 100%.
Tip for Visitors
The visit to the Cave is in itself an extraordinary experience. But the surrounding landscape and the flora on the way to the cave and back are also noteworthy. The vegetation in the reserve is made up of natural Mediterranean woodland species and planted pines. The blossoming of flowers in the reserve begins in November and continues until May. On days when the visibility is good, large areas of the Judean lowlands can be seen, as far away as Ashdod.
Visiting the cave in winter is an opportunity to enjoy its warmth, to see and hear the dripping of water, and to enjoy the flowers along the cave’s access trail. Additional information about the visit to the cave and the area may be obtained at the reserve information center. The cave is a gateway to a region that is home to numerous landscape and heritage sites. The Soreq Stream nature reserve and the Judean Mountains National Park are adjacent to it. Further away, toward Jerusalem, is En Hemed National Park, one of the region´s most beautiful sites, with recreation areas, a flowing stream,impressive oriental plane trees and a fortified Crusader farmhouse. Another possibility is to enjoy a “cave day” including a visit to the Stalactite Cave Reserve as well as to the “Teomim” caves (the latter is permitted during the summer months only) and “Beit Guvrin” National Park.