The Avshalom Stalactite Cave, located on the western slopes of the Judean Mountains in Israel, is a real natural museum (over 5000 square meters), in which numerous stalactites and stalagmites are "displayed" as exhibits. These growths reach about 4 m in length and resemble outlandish objects: huge cuts of fabric, coral reefs or grapes ... The special lighting installed in the cave further enhances the mystical effect, so that Avshalom looks like a ready-made set for some horror movie.
Recall that stalactites and stalagmites are formed from water that mixes with limestone and flows down from the ceiling of the cave. For hundreds of thousands of years, drops of mineralized water freeze on the floor and ceiling, gradually forming tall columns and hanging growths.
Avshalom Cave was discovered by accident in May 1968 during the excavation of construction rubble. After another explosion, the workers saw the entrance to the cave. The first impression was fantastic: the cave shimmered with all the colors of the rainbow, as if it were strewn with mountains of diamonds. Later, having descended, the discoverers saw that water glittered in the sun, which flowed down the stalactites.
Illuminated stalactites and stalagmites look like the scenery for a horror movie
Geologists studied the cave and found that it was formed about 25 million years ago, when the Judean Hills mountain range rose above the surface of the water. For thousands of years, water saturated with carbon dioxide seeped through cracks and through the soil layer, which formed the "decoration" of the karst cave. Currently, the cave maintains a constant temperature (+22 C) and high humidity (92 -100%) all year round, which ensures the continuous growth of stalactites and stalagmites.
The cave is named after an Israeli soldier, Avshalom Shoham, who died in the War of Attrition (1967-1970). After the cave was opened, the secret of its existence remained for several years, as the government feared that careless tourists would simply break the beauty that nature had created for millennia. Avshalom became available to visitors only in 1975, since then tourists from all over the world come to see this natural miracle.