The descent into the cave is a visit to a magical fairy-tale world of stone statues created by Mother Nature - stalactites and stalagmites in a multitude of shapes that stimulate the imagination of both young and old, providing a spectacular experience.
Particulars of the major centers of interest:
The scenery of the Judean plain is spread out for visitors to see on the way from the parking lot to the cave.
Status: The Nature Reserve was declared in 1975.Reasons for the Declaration:
Location in Israel: On the western slopes of the Judean hills, a few kilometers east of Bet Shemesh.
The area of the Reserve around the cave consists of a Mediterranean plant habitat, with many animals, among them deer and foxes, woodland birds and raptors. The Reserve is adjacent to the Judean Hills National Park.The stalagmite cave is part of the Nature Reserve and in its vicinity one can enjoy the Mediterranean plants typical of the Judean Hills. Part of the region is dominated by woodland trees - Palestine oak (Quercus calliprinos), terebinth (Pistacia terebinthus) and Jerusalem Pine (Pinus halepensis). Other areas are more open, and there the mastic tree (Pistacia lentiscus), spiny broom (Calicotome spinosa), thorny burnet (Sarcopoterium spinosum) and buckthorns (Ramnus) can be found. In this Reserve, dozens of species of geophytes and various flowers bloom in the spring. The fauna in the Reserve include deer, foxes and jackals, various species of rodents, lizards, woodland birds and raptors.
The Sorek cave was created due to dissolving and precipitating processes of dolomite and limestone rocks which created many stalactites and stalagmites in a variety of shapes, such as "macaroni" stalactites, columns, cave corals, curtains, "elephant ears" and a multitude of other shapes.
The Creation of the Sorek Cave
Stalactite caves are created in limestone and dolomite rocks. First comes the process of dissolving the rock: rainwater percolating through the soil dissolves the highly-concentrated carbon dioxide in the soil, making it into a weak acid, called "carbonic acid", which is capable of dissolving the limestone and dolomite rocks in a very slow process that takes thousands of years. The acidic water percolates along cracks, widens them and creates cavities which grow and become caves. When the drop of water reaches the cave - the process of precipitation begins: the carbon dioxide that was in the water is discharged, and consequently the limestone material (calcium carbonate) that was dissolved in the water precipitates and builds the stalactites, the stalagmites and all the other precipitation forms in the cave. The dispersal of the stalactites and stalagmites in the cave is not random - their order follows the order of the cracks in the roof of the cave.
How to get there:
Coming from Highway 1: At Sha'ar HaGai junction turn south to Road 38. At the second traffic light, turn left to Road 3855. At the second roundabout turn left to Road 3866 and go up the hill about 5 kms until the left turn to the Stalactite cave.
Coming from the south: Turn right at Ha'Ela junction onto Road 375, then turn left again after Etzyona junction onto Road 3855. At the fourth roundabout turn right onto Road 3866 and go up the hill about 5 kms until the left turn to the cave.
Coming from the East, from the Ein Kerem roundabout: Drive southwards on Road 386. At Bar Giyora junction turn right onto Road 3866, and drive west about 5 kms until the right turn to the cave.
From Tsur Hadassa and Mevo Betar: Turn right from Road 375 onto Road 386. Drive to Bar Giyora junction, turn left and drive about 5 kms to the right turn to the cave.
A prominent reference point for the turn in the direction of the Cave is the Challenger monument in the form of a hand holding a satellite dish.
Length of tour:
About 45 minutes
Waiting time between tours - up to 25 minutes
Entry into the cave is accompanied by a short video and instruction
The tour of the cave may take place only accompanied by a guide on behalf of the Reserve.
Single persons will be attached to a group before entering the cave.
Recommended season: All year round
Ideal to visit during the rainy winter season
What else is there?
Video on the creation of the cave, local instruction and souvenir shop
Entrance into the Park is closed one hour before the times given below:
Sundays thru Thursdays and Shabbat: 8:00 - 17:00
Fridays and eves of religious festivals: 8:00 - 16:00
Standard Time (Winter):
Sundays thru Thursdays and Shabbat: 8:00 - 16:00
Fridays and eves of religious festivals: 8:00 - 15:00
During Succot and Pesach, instruction will take place up to 11:00, based on the number of visitors.
On the eves of Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur and Pesach: 8:00 - 13:00
Tel: 02-9911117, 02-999730, 02-9915756
Fax general: 02-9990215, including reservations center
Fax box office (for sending vouchers): 02-6259030
Single: Adult: NIS 28; Child: NIS 14
Student: NIS 24
Group (over 30 persons, group payment): Adult: NIS 23; Child: NIS 13
Coordination of groups by means of the above fax OR
UBy means of the form attached here.
Between April and September, guided tours will take place on weekdays at 16:00, and at 15:00 on Fridays. Between October and March ,guided tours will take place at 15:00 on weekdays , and at 14: 00 on Fridays. Visitors Must arrive fifteen minutes before the beginning of the tour. Groups (of over 30 people) seeking tours in English , must be booked in advance through the reservations center.
Upper parking, and from the box office 150 stairs lead to the cave.
Baby carriages and strollers cannot enter the cave
Dogs are forbidden to enter the cave
Click here for site pamphlet
In the Stalactite Cave (Soreq Cave) Nature Reserve adaptations to make the site accessible to people with disabilities are being made. Adaptations currently in place include:
Vehicle and Foot Access – Steep stairs lead from the upper parking lot and ticket office to the cave level. Accessible to people with mobility impairments by private vehicle only. Call ahead of your arrival (020-991-1117) to make prior arrangements to avoid a long wait. Visits from organized groups of people with mobility impairments must be prearranged with the reservation center, by fax – 02-999-0215.
Visiting the Cave – Headphones for the hearing impaired with increased volume, an introductory film with subtitles, the first observation platform is accessible with a wheelchair lift.