To the south is Tekoa, home village of Amos the Prophet. Despite the fact that it's outside the security barrier, the new road opened recently has reduced commute times to Jerusalem from 45 minutes to 10 minutes. Housing prices have shot up and new trailers pop up everywhere.
Another settlement, Noqdim, is southeast.
Small patches of trailers mark the new areas settled by the residents of Noqdim. Out into the distance are the rolling hills of Judea. In the far distance, on a clear day, you can see the Herodion.
The region is also populated by a smattering of Bedouin, now post-nomadic, who settled in the region during the Jordanian occupation, between 1948 and 1967. One trend I have noticed over the past few years is the Arabs' switch from plopping down individual houses to building massive tract-housing projects, likely something they picked up working as laborers on Jewish land developments.
Tract housing in the middle of an Arab village. Five years ago you never saw something like that.
After the tour, we took a break in Tequoa to see the new olive press just opened there, and to scarf down some lunch.
And that's it for the Herodion!