Photo: The urban landscape area around Jerusalem, view from Jerusalem's entrance.
The Jerusalem Mountains is a mountain range spread across Israel and the West Bank. It is also known by names such as Judean Mountains, Judean Hills, Hebron Hills and Jibal al-Khalil. The mountain range has several religious and historical places which are sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims. Some of the holiest places of Judaism, such as the Temple Mount and the Tomb of the Patriarchs, are located in this mountain range. Also, Jerusalem and several other cities such as Hebron, Bethlehem and Ramallah are located here.
The Judean Mountains is a natural division between the Shephelah coastal plains in the west and the Jordan Rift Valley to the east, and rain shadow region responsible for the formation of the Judean desert is because of this mountain range.
The mountain range spans from north to south, and extends to west and east of Jerusalem and at the southern end is Mount Hebron. In prehistoric times, Judean Mountains was home to animals such as elephants, rhinoceros, giraffes and Wild Asian Water Buffalo, which were not found in the Levant region. The range has Karst topography, typified by landscape shaped by the dissolution of layers of soluble bedrock, 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 excavated.