Zedekiah's Cave (Solomon's Quarries), Jerusalem

4.0
#3 of 9 in Nature in Jerusalem
Zedekiah's Cave — also called Solomon's Quarries — is a 5acre underground meleke limestone quarry that runs the length of five city blocks under the Muslim Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. It was carved over a period of several thousand years and is a remnant of the largest quarry in Jerusalem, stretching from Jeremiah's Grotto and the Garden Tomb to the walls of the Old City. The cave has great importance to Freemasons.The 'cave' is open to the public Sunday through Thursday for a small admission fee and there are guided tours.NamesIn addition to Zedekiah's Cave and Solomon's Quarries, this site has been called Zedekiah's Grotto, Suleiman's Cave, the Royal Caverns, and Korah's Cave. The Arabic name Migharat al-Kitan, has also been used; the cavern is thought to have been once used as a storage place for cotton.GeographyThe entrance to Zedekiah's Cave is just beneath the Old City wall, between the Damascus and Herod Gates, about 500ft east of the former. Beyond the narrow entrance, the cave slopes down into a vast 300-foot-long auditorium-like chamber. Drops of water, known as “Zedekiah's tears”, trickle through the ceiling.Beyond the “auditorium” are a series of artificial galleries hewn by ancient stonecutters into chaotic, sometimes bizarre, patterns and formations. Paths give access to every corner of the quarry system, which takes at least 30 minutes to explore thoroughly. Chisel marks are visible in many sections and in some galleries huge, nearly finished building blocks destined for some long-ago structure are locked into the rock where the stonecutters left them centuries ago. In a few places the stones are marked by Arabic, Greek, Armenian and English charcoal and engraved graffiti (e.g., "W. E. Blackstone Jan. 1889"). Several plaques explaining some of the myriad legends associated with the site have been mounted on the cave walls.
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Zedekiah's Cave (Solomon's Quarries) Reviews
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4.4
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  • Highly recommend this little know spot to the left of the Damascus Gate. Go all the way back in. Hard to imagine the slaves chiseling out large stones by hand but you can see the evidence.  more »
  • The place is well disorganized, if you have nothing better to do worth seeing, but definitely not an unmissable attraction in Jerusalem. I was in maintenance and some areas closed when I visited.
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  • Descending into the bowels of the earth has its own mystique. Seeing the evidence for building Temple period Jerusalem is fascinating. Witnessing the ancient engineering skill is fascinating.
  • An amazing sight to behold. A nice area that is not as crowded as other places in Jerusalem but you definitely want to see it.
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