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Jerusalem attractions category

Cave of Nicanor

Jerusalem Attractions  - 20


Israel has always been imbued with great promise for the science of archaeology, because it is one of the few places on Earth whose archaeological richness can be measured against an uncommonly comprehensive ancient written history: the Bible, the Talmud and the non-canonical body of ancient Jewish and early Christian literature. No people obsessively chronicled their own origins and history as did the Jews, and impressive testaments to that fact are often no more than a lucky shovel strike away.


The burial caves on Mount Scopus were such a discovery, the first serendipitously uncovered by construction workers building a house for an expatriate British lawyer during the Mandatory period in 1902, the second by Israeli botanists in the wake of the Six Day War in 1967. Much to the thrill of archaeologists, the first cave, containing a bone-filled ossuary, was clearly labeled as belonging to one Nicanor of Alexandria, a Jewish benefactor who donated the gates of the Second Temple, whose storm-tossed voyage and miraculous delivery of the Temple gates is described in the Talmud.


The second, just next door, belonged to a Second Temple-era Jewish nazirite, a member of a semi-ascetic Jewish order, and his family, containing more than dozen ossuaries. The ossuaries have been cleared out of both caves, but visitors can still enter them and look around, free of charge. The caves, which are hard to miss, are located in the center of the Hebrew University Botanical Gardens on Mount Scopus.

  • Paid Parking
  • Free entry

Opening Hours


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