At the heart of the Avshalom Nature Reserve, on the western slopes of the Judean Hills, the Soreq Cave contains a wondrous variety of stalactites and stalagmites. Some formations are at least 300,000 years old and allow scientists to track climate changes over the millennia. It was discovered in 1968 when a routine blast in the nearby Har-Tuv quarry tore away the rock face, revealing a subterranean wonderland.
Colored lights are used to highlight the natural whites and honey browns of the stones. Local guides have given the stalactite forms nicknames like "macaroni," "curtains," and "sombreros." In a series of "interfaith" images, some find rocky evocations of Moses, the Madonna and Child, Buddha, and the Ayatollah Khomeini. Photography is allowed only on Friday morning, when there are no guided tours. Despite the high humidity, the temperature in the cave is comfortable year-round.
The 150 steps down to the cave mean it's not ideal for visitors with mobility concerns. Local guides take groups as they arrive into the cave every 15 minutes for a 30-minute tour (English tours on request). An English-language video explains how the cave was formed.