Maghārat al-Dam

Useful Information

Location: Above Damascus, on the slopes of Mount Qasioun north of the city, below the mosque Shrine of the fourty.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst Cave
Guided tours:
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Maghārat al-Dam (Cave of Blood) is a small cave with a long history. According to legend it was once the home of Adam, the first human from the Bible. The name Cave of Blood refers to the belief, that it was the place where Qābīl (Cain) killed Hābīl (Abel). At least thats the legend which is told in Medieval Arab history books. It is described by Ibn al-Hawrani and Ibn al-Harawi.

Another quite strange property of the cave is that prayers are immediately accepted in this place. In times of drought or other dangers the rulers of Damascus climbed to the cave and prayed for help.

According to a Greek legend Hermes killed the giant Askos at this place. This resulted in the founding of the city of Damascus. The legend was retold by Stephanus Byzantinus or Stephan of Byzantium in his geographical dictionary entitled Ethnica (Ἐθνικά) in the 6th century AD.

The cave is located on the slopes of Mount Qasioun (Arabic: جبل قاسيون‎ or Jabal Qāsiyūn) above the city of Damascus. Sunni Muslims believe that Mount Qasioun is the site of the miḥrābs (prayer niches) of the 40 arch-saints. Also called the Abdāl, they where praying the night vigil prayers every night in their niches inside the Cave of Blood. As a result a small mosque was built on top of the cave, known as Shrine of the fourty (مقام الأربعين بدمشق).