Hebron is located in the southern West Bank in the Judaean Mountains. The city was a strongly fortified Canaanite Bronze Age city, centered around Tel Rumeida. After thriving through the 17th—18th centuries BCE, the city was razed by fire. Though the area was resettled in the Middle Bronze Age, the Hebron hills appear to be devoid of settlements in the Late Bronze Age.
Abrahamic tradition associates the city with Hittites and the nomadic Kenites, later described as Canaanite and ruled by the three sons of Anak. The site is mentioned in the Book of Genesis in which it is referred to as the ‘city of four’.
Biblical Hebron, centers around Tel Rumeida, with a ritual center at Elonei Mamre. The city served as an important local economic center, as it is strategically positioned between the Dead Sea, Jerusalem and the Negev, and lies along multiple ancient trade routes.
The city fell under Idumean control during the Hellenisitc period. The city was burnt by Juddah Maccabee during the Maccabean revolt in 167 BCE. The present day city was then built downhill from Tel Rumeida in Roman times. Walls, which are still standing, were built around the Cave of Patriarchs by Herod the Great. This is the only surviving herodian structure from the period of Hellenistic Judaism.
The Cave of the Patriachs is the most famous archaeological site in Hebron, and is said to enclose the burials of biblical Patriarchs and Matriarchs. Atop the Cave of Patriarchs sits a mosque that was built in the era of Saladin. The city also contains the Oak of Sibta, where Abraham is said to have pitched his tent.
Importantly, Hebron is one of very few cities with well-preserved Mamluk architecture including Sufi zawiyas and several mosques.