I have always been interested in towns built on 7 hills since their establishment is connected with much history and sometimes with an interesting legend or myth. The list of such cities and world capitals (like Moscow, Washington, Brisbane, Lisbon, Jerusalem, Bath, Cagliari, Seffield, Turku, Kampala and many others) on all continents all over the world is too long. That’s why I will limit it to the 7-hill cities I have been to.
Rome: Being the most famous town that was established on 7 hills la città eterna has become almost a synonym of the “City of the seven hills”. I am quite sure you’ve heard about its hills Aventinus, Caelius, Capitolinus, Esquilinus, Palatinus, Quirinalis and Viminalis. According to the legend, one of the two twin brothers, Remus, chose to live on the Aventinus while his brother, Romulus, preferred Palatinus where later he founded the city of Rome. And I will open a bracket sharing one very curious fact. The word “palace” (English), “palazzo” (Italian), “palacio” (Spanish), “palais” (French) originates namely from that hill where the rich and the most powerful lived in the Classical period. I am closing the bracket. As for the Capitolinus, it was the hill of the government and temples.
Athens: Definitely, Athens is the most notable ancient city built on 7 hills whose citizens are the pioneers of arts, philosophy and theatre. As a matter of fact, today’s capital of Greece is situated on and around more than 7 hills (as far as I know, they are 15: 12 inside the town and 3 surrounding ones) but in ancient times we know the following 7 seven historical hills it covered: Acropolis, Areopagus, Hill of Philopappus, Observatory Hill (Muses Hill), Pnyx, Lykavittos (Lycabettus) and Tourkovounia (Anchesmus). The Acropolis (from “akros”/”the highest” and “polis”/city) was the ancient upper city housing numerous famous buildings, the most prominent being the Parthenon.
Barcelona: Catalonian main city encompasses the following seven hills: Mont Tàber, La Rovira, El Coll, El Carmel, La Peira, El Putxet and Montjuïc. The latter is maybe the most famous one as it gives the best bird’s eye views to the city as well as houses The Palau Nacional and the colourful and singing Fountain of Montjuïc. But, of course, a must-visit is also El Carmel where one dives into Gaudí’s Park Güell.
Istanbul: The successor of Constantinople followed the model of Rome and nowadays lies on 7 hills. The most prominent hill is the first one. It was the acropolis of ancient Byzantion where nowadays the greatest landmarks of Istanbul (i.e. Hagia Sophia, the Sultan Ahmed Mosque and Topkapı Sarayı) are situated.
Prague: The second most romantic city for me, Prague, is supposed to have been built on 7 hills (Hradčany, Vítkov, (Opyš), Větrov, Skalka, (Emauzy), Vyšehrad, Karlov and Petřín) even though there is one theory according to which the hills were nine. Hradčany (or the Castle District) is famous for housing the largest and biggest and of course, one of the most beuatiful castles in the world – the Prague Castle.
Pula: The Croatian city of Pula is an amazing Adriatic town that lies beneath 7 hills. Its sea atmosphere mixed with rich history (the well preserved Roman amphitheatre is really amazing) and winemaking make it an attractive place for relax and vacation.
Plovdiv: The town of Plovdiv is our second biggest city. Sometimes we call it the “City under the seven tepe” as it was historically built on 7 hills. The old parts of the town amazes with its tiny cobbled streets, historic atmosphere and the ancient theatre of Philippopolis (from Roman times).