Herodian is a fortress built by Herod the Great in memory of his victory over Antigonus in 42 BC It is located in the wilderness of the Judean desert‚ 6 km (3.7 miles) to the south-east of Beit Sahour. It is a cone-shaped hill, partly artificial, rising out of the ground. It is also known as the Mountain of the Franks, or in Arabic ‘Jebel Fourdis’ (The Hill of Paradise).
Recent excavations uncovered remains of a fortress – a double circular curtain wall with four towers and gateway from the north-east. Inside the walls were storerooms and water reservoirs. After the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD, the fortress was besieged and destroyed by the Romans. In recent years, the remains of three Byzantine chapels with rich decorative mosaic floors show that the site continued to be inhabited during the fifth and sixth centuries. Later, the Crusaders (or Franks) made their final stand here before being ousted by the Muslims, giving the hill one of its alternative names, the Mountain of the Franks.