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Caves

Below is an illustrated index of the 19 Caves profiled on Sacred Destinations so far. For photo credits, please see corresponding articles.




All Caves (View on Map)

  • Ajanta Caves
    Maharashtra, India
    A series of 29 Buddhist cave temples dating from as early as the 2nd century BC, the Ajanta Caves contain some of the best masterpieces of Buddhist art in India.
  • Cevlik Monastery
    Antioch, Turkey
    An early Christian monastery carved from rock, located about 35 miles from Antakya near the Mediterranean Sea.
  • Cave Church of St. Peter
    Antioch, Turkey
    This ancient cave church is believed to have been dug by St. Peter himself. Fronted by a Crusader-era facade, it still hosts worship services and attracts pilgrims.
  • Milk Grotto
    Bethlehem, West Bank
    According to tradition, Mary nursed Jesus here and spilled a drop of milk, turning the ground white. Christian and Muslim women collect stone scrapings from the cave for fertility.
  • Cave Church
    Budapest, Hungary
    Located on Gellert Hill overlooking Liberty Bridge is a unique grotto chapel of Hungarian Paulite monks. Closed during the Communist years and now reopened, it offers a peaceful respite from the city.
  • Göreme Cave Churches
    Cappadocia, Turkey
    Cappadocia's most famous attraction, for good reason, is the Göreme Open Air Museum, a complex of medieval cave churches carved out and painted by Orthodox monks.
  • Elephanta Caves
    Maharashtra, India
    This complex of cave temples on Elephanta Island, an hour-long ferry ride from Mumbai, were carved in honor of Shiva in the 7th century.
  • Ellora Caves
    Maharashtra, India
    The Ellora Caves are a magnificent complex of 34 Buddhist, Hindu and Jain temples extending over more than 2 kilometers in central India.
  • Cave of the Seven Sleepers
    Ephesus, Turkey
    According to legend, seven Christian boys were locked in this cave by the Romans in c.250 AD, fell asleep, and woke up in the 5th century. It became a place of burial and pilgrimage.
  • Grotto of St. Paul
    Ephesus, Turkey
    Although not generally accessible to the public, this cave is worth mentioning for the important frescoes and inscriptions that were found inside.
  • Elijah's Cave
    Haifa, Israel
    An important shrine to several religions, this is said to be the very cave in which the Hebrew prophet Elijah is believed to have lived and taught.
  • Tombs of the Patriarchs
    Hebron, West Bank
    This is the second holiest site in Judaism and very important in Islam and Christianity as well. A walled complex built by Herod in the 1st cent. BC shelters the cave tombs of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their wives.
  • Lascaux Caves
    France
    This famous cave complex in southwest France contains some of the oldest and finest prehistoric art in the world. The paintings, which mainly depict majestic animals, are some 17,000 years old.
  • Longmen Caves
    Henan, China
    Stretching for a half-mile along the west bank of a river, this site includes some 1,350 caves and 40 pagodas, filled with thousands of Buddhist statues carved out of the hard limestone cliffs.
  • Mogao Caves
    Gansu, China
    These Buddhist cave temples were a center of culture on the Silk Road from the 4th to the 14th centuries and contain well-preserved religious murals and carvings spanning that entire period.
  • Kaneana Cave (Makua Cave)
    Hawaii, USA
  • Cave of the Apocalypse
    Patmos, Greece
    This sacred grotto is believed to mark the spot where St. John received his visions from Christ that he recorded in the Book of Revelation.
  • Seokguram Grotto
    South Korea
    An 8th-century Buddhist cave temple in the hills above Bulguksa, this is the only structure surviving fully intact from the Silla era.
  • Subiaco Monastery (Sacro Speco)
    Subiaco, Italy
    This hilltop monastery in Subiaco enshrines the sacred cave in which St. Benedict lived as a hermit before he organized his first monastic community. Its church is covered in beautiful Gothic frescoes.