Judaean Mountains

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Judaean Hills

The Judaean Mountains (Hebrew: הרי יהודהHarei Yehuda, Arabic: جبال يهودا‎‎ Jibal Yahuda), also Judaean Hills, is a mountain range in Israel and the West Bank where Jerusalem and several other biblical cities are located. The mountains reach a height of 1,000 m.[1] The Judean Mountains can be separated to a number of sub-regions, including the Mount Hebron ridge, the Jerusalem ridge and the Judean slopes.


View from Beit Meir in the Judaean Mountains

Running north to south, the Judaean mountains encompass Jerusalem, Hebron, Bethlehem and Ramallah. The range forms a natural division between the Shephelah coastal plains to the west and the Jordan Rift Valley to the east. The Judaean Mountains were heavily forested in antiquity. The hills are composed of terra rossa soils over hard limestones.[1]

Geology and prehistory

The Judaean Mountains are the surface expression of a series of monoclinic folds which trend north-northwest through Israel. The folding is the central expression of the Syrian Arc belt of anticlinal folding that began in the Late Cretaceous Period in northeast Africa and southwest Asia. The Syrian Arc extends east-northeast across the Sinai, turns north-northeast through Israel and continues the east-northeast trend into Syria. The Israeli segment parallels the Dead Sea Transform which lies just to the east.[2][3]

In prehistoric times, animals no longer found in the Levant region were found here, including elephants, rhinoceri, giraffes and Wild Asian Water Buffalo. [4]

Wadi es-Sur, near Adullam. Judean mountains seen in background

The range has karst topography including a stalactite cave in Nahal Sorek National Park between Jerusalem and Beit Shemesh and the area surrounding Ofra, where fossils of prehistoric flora and fauna were found.


An Israel Railways line runs from Beit Shemesh along the Brook of Sorek and Valley of Rephaim into Jerusalem Malha Train Station.

See also


External links

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