|Location:||From Beit Shemesh follow road 3855 to the south, 500m after the turnoff to Zanoah is a turnoff to the left. From the end of the road its a walk of about 1km up Wadi|
APR to OCT no restrictions.
NOV to MAR closed for bat protection.
|Accessibility:||1km walk through wadi and wooden staircase|
|Bibliography:||Boaz Zissu, Ro'i Porat, Boaz Langford, Amos Frumkin (2012): Archaeological remains of the Bar Kokhba Revolt in the Te'omim Cave (Mughâret Umm et Tûeimîn), western Jerusalem hills. Journal of Jewish Studies, Vol. 62, No. 2, Autumn 2011.|
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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The Me'arat HaTeomim (Te'omim Cave) or Twin Cave is located east of Beit Shemesh. It is known for a very long time, it was used as a hideout by guerillias fighting the Roman invaders — 2,000 years ago. Remains from the time of the Bar Kochba revolt were discovered by archaeologists in this cave.
Its name is the result of a legend from the 19th century. A woman was not able to become a child, but after she drank water dripping from the stalactites of this cave she became pregnant with twins. Until today women come to the cave to drink the water for fertility.
Another legend tells about the Arab villagers who feared to enter the cave, because they thought there was demon living inside. One day a brave young man named Sa'id entered the cave and followed the passage to the end, but he could not find the demon. He wanted to leave a mark at the end of the cave, showing that he was here, and so the scratched a mark into the wall. While he was working a rock fell onto his gown, unnoticed by him. When he left he felt the grip of the horrifying demon holding his gown, and now he became so fearful that he immediately turned into stone. Until today his face can be seen in the rock.
The cave is reached walking up Wadi Nahal HaMe'ara (Wadi of the Cave Stream) from Zanoah. The cave is rather hard to see, the entrance is covered by a tree which grows inside the entrance. The portal is closed by a iron bar gate and a wooden staircase is leading down into the cave.
The Te'omim Cave is home to four species of bats, Ettus aegyptiacus, Myotis nattereri, Eptesicus serotinus, and Rhinolophus hipposideros. While most bats feed of insects there are some which eat fruits, Ettus aegyptiacus is one of those. To protect the bats the cave is closed during winter, thats why it is gated. During the rest of the year it is open and there is even a wooden staircase and a sort of trail inside the cave, built by the the Nature and Parks Authority who manages the cave. However, there is no light so you must bring a lamp.