Israel - About the Country

Unfortunately Israel is a politically very hot region. For example, the conflict between Jews and Arabs escalated just two weeks after I left the country in September 2000. This pages are focused on subterranean sights, caves and mines. There is no political intention, and definitely no political statements on this pages. Please accept this and do not try to interpret any information on this pages from a political viewpoint.

The map of Israel is like every map on this site merely a drawing, made using common knowledge about the counry, numerous maps and the locations of described sites. There is no intention by adding the numerous borders of this country than providing enough information for my visitors to orientate themselves. Because of the political situation the status of a border or its location may change rapidly. As this maps' only intention is to locate the underground sites (which hopefully wont move!), I will make no attempt to keep the borders on the maps up to date.

Please accept my neutrality and do not send any political statements to me! Thank You!

Israel is a small country in the Middle East, at the shores of the Mediterranen Sea. The country is warm, the summers are hot, but higher altitutes are modest.

The northern part of the country is divided into three stripes running from the north to the south:

  1. Along the Mediterranean Sea a fertile coastal plain is home to most Israeli. This parts of the country are moisty, with most of the rain faling in winter.
  2. A mountain range, between 800 and 1000 m asl high, divides the country. Jerusalem sits right on top of this ridge. It is not very fertile, but it still gets some rain in winter. Sometimes there is even a little snow in Jerusalem.
  3. Along the eastern border a huge graben structure (see geology for more info) runs from the north to the south. The river Jordan uses this valley, flowing from lake Tiberias in the north, straight southwards and finaly flowing into the Dead Sea at 400 m below sea level. At least it flowed once into the Dead Sea, today all the water is used for agriculture, and the river does not reach the sea any more. The eastern part is arid, which means desert climate, hot during the day, cold during the night. Rain is rare, but when it rains the dry valleys called wadi are flooded.

The southern part of the country is rather flat, with much less mountains and an arid (desert) climate, the Negev. This area is not fertile, does not provide valuable resources, at least at the moment. It is very sparsely populated.

Israel has a very long history, is inhabited for many thousand years and was the cradle of many world religions. It is the holy land of the Christians, the lost home of the Jews and the theologic center of the Moslems. This long history is the reason, why virtually each cave contains human remains of several thousand years. The number of caves which were inhabited during centuries, included into churches and monasteries or used for hiding things is enormous. Many artificial caves were built, depending on the hardness of the rocks, some for irrigation or water supply, some to quarry the rock, but most important to live in the caves, which provide a comfortable temperature of about 20 °C year round.