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Herodium

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285px-Herodium from above 2

An aerial view of Herodium.

Herodium also known as Herodion and called the Mountain of Paradise by local Arabs, is a large cone-shaped hill located towards the east of Bethlehem and 12 kilometres from the city of Jerusalem in Israel. King Herod the Great erected the fortess on top of the hill. Herodium is also where Herod is thought to be buried.

History

Herodium was one of the many fortresses King Herod of Judea built. He constructed it at the spot where he had routed his pursuers during his flight from Jerusalem to Masada in 40 BCE. At the foot of the mountain a settlement was established, the water supply for which was brought from Solomon's Pools. A grand staircase with about 200 marble steps, led to the fortress wall which appeared as a circular structure defended by round towers. Within the walls are a few palaces.

When the Jewish people rebelled against the Romans in 66 CE, Herodium like Massada was used as a stronghold. During the Jewish rebellion, a synagogue was built on Heroduim for worship. Following 70 CE after the Jewish rebellion has been crushed and the Jewish people were exiled from Israel Herodium was used by the Romans and a Roman garrison was built on the hill.

In the late 1960's following Israel's victory in the Six-Day War excavations were conducted on Herodium. The remains of pools and churches were among the findings. On May 8, 2007 two archaeologist's found a coffin which is believed to be where Herod was put after his death.

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