Elijah’s Cave in Haifa brings visitors both the sanctity of a Jewish holy place and the sharing of traditions for which Haifa is famous. The stairway to the cave, located off Allenby Street in lower Haifa, reveals spectacular vistas of the city. Map.
The site was first mentioned in a letter written from the land of Israel in 1626 by a Jewish visitor telling about the holy places, which described “Elijah’s large and magnificent cave” on Mount Carmel.
Here, according to legend, Elijah came to pray before challenging the prophets of Baal and calling down fire from heaven (I Kings 18). The cave has a Torah Ark and a space in the ceiling where visitors insert prayer notes.
You may find a few people quietly praying here, or a lively celebration in honor of a circumcision or a three-year-old boy’s first hair cut. The right-hand wall of the cave, which in various periods has been sacred to Christians and Muslims as well, is covered with ancient Greek inscriptions, and one in Hebrew, along with two seven-branched candelabra.
Administered by: Israel Ministry of Religious Affairs
This is the largest of the Carmel Caves. Here you can watch an audiovisual presentation about prehistoric daily life, and see a model of a skeleton illustrating burial customs of the Natufian culture 10,000 years ago. More than 100 ancient skeletons were discovered buried here in a tightly flexed position, some with ornaments made of stone, bone or shell. Map.
Alona Park, Mei Kedem (Ancient Water) A water tunnel extending 280 m out of Mei Kedem, which was built more than 2,000 years ago, in Herod and Hadrian’s day. The water tunnel was part of an engineering system designed to supply water to ancient Caesarea. These days, you can walk along the tunnel, with the water reaching up to your knees. Map.
The Cave of Treasures is a mystic place said to be a necropolis containing the bodies of the Biblical patriarchs. When a patriarch dies his family transports his body to the Cave of Treasures, where he is buried alongside his ancestors. This secret tomb is also a repository for sacred treasures. Further the cave conceals an archive of the most ancient secrets of the Church.
The cave is described in an old Syriac text, written by Ephraim the Syrian, but also mentioned in obscure apocrypha and Jewish legends. There is some confusion as the text of Ephraim as he speaks of the cave as being inside paradise, but later in the same text after Adam has been expelled from paradise (outside) he is buried in the cave.
Adam is telling his son Seth to bury him in the Cave of Treasures on the mountain, which Seth later does. As this is a mystical cave it is not sure if there is a corresponding real place. There are various examples of early texts describing locations which were later found, for example Troj or the place where the Arch of Noah stranded.
The location of the Cave of Treasures was often connected with the underground cities found at Kaymalki and Derinkuyu, or Rennes-le-Chateau. It is decribed beeing located on Mount Kardo, the mountain of Rennes-le-Chateau is called Mount Cardou. And there is a real place in Hebron, called Ma’arat HaMachpelah which is also said to be the burial place of Adam, Eve, Abraham and many other patriarchs.
Cave of Treasures – Me’ârath Gazzê – Location: unknown
Bibliography: Ephraim the Syrian (~300): The Book of the Cave of Treasures,