Herodion, which resembles an extinct volcano, has aroused the interest of travelers and scholars since the fifteenth century. It is situated on an artificial hill on the edge of the Judean Desert, twelve km south of Jerusalem and six km southeast of Bethlehem. It incorporates the ruins of a number of impressive palaces built by King Herod between 25 and 15 BCE. This enormous building venture was intended to commemorate not only Herod's name but his triumph over the last Hasmonean king, Antigonus 11 (Mattathias), and his men in 40 BCE. According to the famous historian Josephus, Herod was buried in Herodion, but his grave has not been discovered by archeologists, despite intensive excavations. Josephus' description of Herodion matches the archeological finds at the site:
The Land of Faith, Land of the Bible, The Holy Land, revered throughout history as the cradle of monotheistic religion. For a person of faith whose beliefs are rooted in the Western religious tradition, there is no place like the Holy Land. Here, in this narrow strip of earth, barely a sliver on the world map, lies the source of religious belief for much of mankind.
For then 3000 years since the time of King David, Jerusalem has been set above from other cities. No other place on earth has been so central to man's dreams and aspirations. No other city is described with so much love and devotion, and no other city has been subject to so much killing and bloodshed.