From September 2012 and Onward!
Soreq Cave (also known as Avshalom Cave,) is not exactly a ‘new’ landmark in Israel, and actually dates back to over 300,000 years old from the prehistoric era. The caves were recently renovated and reopened to the public in September 2012 to include an almost psychedelic lighting effect, as well as improved handicapped access, new trails and added railing, making this a ‘new’ natural landmark for visitors coming to Israel.
The 83 meter long Soreq Cave was found and opened to the public as a natural landmark in the 1970’s near Bet Shemesh (near Jerusalem.) However, this spectacular stalactite and stalagmite formation cave recently underwent 2 million shekels in renovations, undertaken by the Nature and Parks Authority, the National Insurance Institution and the Israel Government Tourist Corporation in order to repair it from the immense amount of environmental damage since its opening to the public in the 1970’s.
The Soreq Cave recently reopened in September 2012 which now includes added trails with handicapped access and railings for improved accessibility, as well as a spectacular LED light display system. Now, visitors who come and see the Soreq Cave will be treated to not only the natural splendor of the formation caves, but LED lighting in colors such as orange, green, blue and purple, which give the caves an almost psychedelic effect.
The new and improved lighting extravaganza is not just for show, but actually helps solve the problem of environmental damage and degradation of caves, since its opening to the public in the 1970’s. Changes in temperature and lighting meant that the caves’ stalagmites and stalactites became threatened by algae, which began covering the magnificent formations in blackish green moss, and threatened to ruin this natural treasure. Now visitors will get a chance to enjoy the splendor of this cave, bathed in rays of colorful lighting, without creating added environmental damage to the formations themselves.
Soreq Cave features dripstone walls, created by holes and cracks in the ceilings where calcium rich water dripped through and eventually became stalagmites and stalactites as well as speleothems, calcite crystals, helictites and cave coral. Over the course of some 300,000 years, these formations became massive, with many reaching 10-15 meters high and 30-40 meters long. The formations are so massive that they actually form separate cave chambers, in the Soreq cave.
The new lighting system was actually designed by a lighting specialist who was worked on lighting projects ranging from international archeological ruins to rock shows. While minimal lighting is used in order to leave the formations as undisturbed as possible, the lighting enhances the visitor’s experiences, with guides being able to control the lights as they guide visitors around the caves and point out and explain specific formations. The lights actually make the cave look as though it is living and breathing, and pulsating with life.
Soreq Cave are a spectacular destination for your next trip to Israel, allowing you to witness the natural scenic beauty of Israel. Coming to witness the cave formations is a lot like cloud watching-everyone sees different images in the huge masses of icicle like calcium rocks. Tours are available in both Hebrew and English, with pictures only being allowed on Friday, in order to limit unnecessary environmental damage. The recent September 2012 renovation means it’s an excellent place to bring children as well as elderly, handicapped or other visitors which require special accommodations in Soreq Cave.