Mount Scopus, Mount Olivet, and the Mount of Corruption (all three are peaks on a mountain ridge east of the Old City), Mount Ophel, the original Mount Zion, the New Mount Zion, and the hill on which the Antonia Fortress was erected are among Jerusalem's seven hills. The other four hills are: Siloam, Moriah/Temple Mount, Garis/Gibeon, and Capitol.
The city is built on a series of hills that provide vantage points from which to view the surrounding area. These hills are also useful for defense because they would have provided cover for soldiers attacking the city. The city itself is surrounded by a wall made of stone and mortar; this wall has been attributed to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. In 538 B.C., Cyrus the Great of Persia conquered Babylon and it is possible that he gave orders to rebuild parts of the wall in order to protect his new acquisition, Judah. This reconstruction was probably done by Joshua, one of David's descendants who had led the Israelites after the exile into Babylon. Today, visitors can see remnants of the ancient wall that surround the city.
In A.D. 70, during the reign of Titus, Jerusalem was destroyed by Roman troops under Emperor Vespasian. Although Titus wanted to make Jerusalem his headquarters, he didn't have time so he made Vesta, a town 15 miles away, his base instead.
Jerusalem stands atop one peak; across from it is the Mount of Olives, and between them is the Valley of Jehoshaphat, a small valley. Below this, there are Jewish tombs on the entire slope of the mountain, as well as a few on the inclination of the Jerusalem mountain. The western side of the city is surrounded by Judean hills that rise gradually toward the Mediterranean Sea.
The highest point in Jerusalem is called Sukkat Shuhada (the Hill of Evil Counsel). It is an artificial mound built by Herod the Great for his mistress Mariamne. She was married to his son Alexander-Harith. When she died, her husband decided to put aside marital ties with Israel and marry again, this time to another queen named Salome. He did so because he wanted more children and since Harith was still young when his mother died, he had no heir. Herod therefore ordered all that was known about King David's life written down, surmised what might happen if these stories were true and then constructed this steep hill as an evil counsel for anyone who might follow him! On top of the hill is a temple dedicated to Venus, Herod's wife's goddess.
Nowadays, tourists can climb up to the summit at the Church of All Nations where there is a panoramic view of Jerusalem. But be careful not to slip on the rocks during rainstorms!
The Mount of Olives, Arabic Jabal al-Tur, Hebrew Har ha-Zetim, is a multi-summit limestone range located directly east of Jerusalem's Old City and separated by the Kidron Valley. The mountain is part of Palestinian East Jerusalem, which has been occupied by Israel since 1967.
Israel's separation wall passes through the northern side of the mount. The southern side is adjacent to the Old City. Much of the land on the mount is owned by the Islamic University of Jerusalem and other institutions. The summit area is under exclusive Israeli control.
In the New Testament, Jesus said that if we pray for those who persecute us, God will put an end to their prayers against us. On the Mount of Olives, Jesus told his disciples that this would happen before he returned to Earth. Today, Christians around the world continue this prayerful practice as they seek God's mercy and forgiveness for sins, firm faith in Christ, and hope for eternal life.
After Jesus' death on the cross, he appeared to his followers and asked them to spread the good news about him to all nations. Since then, Christians have preached the gospel everywhere they have gone – including Israel/Palestine – because they believe it is our duty to share the good news with everyone.