أشابي الكهف

'Ashabi Alkahf - Cave of Ashabe-Kahf


Useful Information

Location: Abu Alanda. Amman. Village of Rajib or Al-Raqim on the road to Sabah. 10km east of Amman. (31.898816, 35.973572)
Open: All year daily 8-17.
[2020]
Fee: free.
[2020]
Classification: SubterraneaCave Tomb
Light: electric.
Dimension:
Guided tours: D=30min, inside is a local guide
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography:
Address:
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History

1961 excavation by the Jordanian archeologist Rafiq ad-Dajani and journalist Muhammad Taisir Zibyan.

Description

The أشابي الكهف (Cave of Ashabe-Kahf) is located at Abu Alanda near Amman in Jordan. 'Ashabi alkahf means People of the Cave, so the official translation Cave of Ashabe-Kahf is actually a tautology. The cave is also named Kahaf ahl al-Kahaf, Kahaf al-Raqeem (Cave of the Inscription), or Kahaf al-Rajeeb. It is one of numerous seven sleeper's caves.

The actual cave is a rather small, partly natural and partly man-made cave. It has a facade which is cut out of the massive rock and shows two Byzantine style pillars and a niche on each side. To the left of the entrance is an ancient olive tree. Outside the "tomb" are old ruins of shrines, two mosques and graves. At first a small church was built on the rock on top of the cave, this was converted into a mosque with the mihrab still being visible from the entrance of the cave.

The cave has three sections, the main passage stretches from the mouth northward To the left and right there are side passages with small barrel vaulted chambers with stone coffins on the right and left side. There is a total of eight rock hewn coffins in four vaults. One coffin in the northern vault of the eastern passage is marked with an octagon, another has a hole which allows to have a look at the bones of the Saints. According to the Islamic version a dog accompanied the youths into the cave and kept watch. It is said that its bones can also be seen through the hole.

There is a small exhibition of artefacts which were found during excavations. There are coins belonging to the Roman, Islamic, and Ottoman era. Then there is a clay bowl, a pearl necklace, a copper comb, and rings.

At the eastern end of the cave is a ventilation shaft which leads to the surface. It ends in the ruins of the mosque above. This mosque was 10m long and 10m wide, and had four stone pillars in Roman style. During the excavation several copper coins from the era of the Roman emperor Justin (517-527) were discovered.