|Harei Yehuda / Jibal Al Khalil|
View of the Judaean Hills near Jerusalem
|Elevation||1,026 m (3,366 ft) |
|Parent range||Great Rift Valley|
|Age of rock||Late Cretaceous|
|Type of rock||Terra rossa, limestone|
The Judaean Mountains, or Judaean Hills (Hebrew: Harei Yehuda, Arabic: ? Jibal Al Khalil), 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 1,026 metres (3,366 ft). The Judean Mountains can be separated to a number of sub-regions, including the Mount Hebron ridge, the Jerusalem ridge and the Judean slopes. These mountains formed the heartland of the Kingdom of Judah, where the earliest Jewish settlements emerged.
The range runs in a north-south direction from Galilee to the Negev with an average height of 900 metres (2,953 ft). The Judaean mountains encompass Ramallah, Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Hebron. The range forms a natural division between the low Shephelah hills and the coastal plain to the west, and the Jordan Rift Valley to the east. North of it lie the Samarian Hills, to which it connects along the Ramallah line; the middle section is referred to as Jerusalem Hills, and the southern one as Hebron Hills, which reach south to the Beersheba-Arad valley.
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. The uplift events that created the mountain occurred in two phases one in the Late Eocene-Early Oligocene and second in the Early Miocene.
In prehistoric times, animals no longer found in the Levant region were found here, including elephants, rhinoceri, giraffes and wild Asian water buffalo. 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.
The Judean Hills viewed from the Dead Sea
View from hilltop overlooking Wadi es-?ur, an extension of the Elah Valley in Israel
View from Beit Meir in the Judaean Mountains
The ruined structure of an ancient house, near Neve Michael