From the Latin cirrus (“flake”), a hill is an isolated elevation of land that is less high than a mountain or mount. Like all topographic eminence, it is a high ground with respect to its surroundings that has a base or foot (the lower area where the elevation begins), one or more peaks or peaks (the area that reaches greater height) and the slopes or flanks (terrains of variable inclination that go from the base to the summit).
According to DigoPaul, the hill must not exceed 200 meters in height; otherwise, it becomes another type of eminence (like a mountain, for example). Its origin can be produced by a geological fault, the erosion of a major geographical feature or the movement and deposition of sediments.
According to their formation and appearance, there are different names for the hills. The hills or hills are the smallest hills and constitute the most widespread denomination.
In the same way, we also find other hills that, due to their diverse typology, receive other more specific names. This would be the case, for example, of the mound that we can establish that it is a small hill, that is isolated and that has the peculiarity that it can be both natural and artificial, thanks to the fact that it was man who have formed it. Thus, artificial mounds with military, funeral or surveillance functions have existed throughout history.
The moderate height of the hills allowed numerous settlements to be built on their slopes and peaks, since their characteristics offered shelter from floods and allowed an ideal panoramic view to visualize the advance of the enemies. Many fortresses, therefore, were developed on hills. Other buildings were built on the hills for religious and ceremonial reasons.
Among the most prominent examples that we can raise of buildings that were built on hills is the Castle of the French town of Gisors. It is a fortress located on a hill that was built in the 11th century and around it there is a legend: that of the Templars’ treasure, which seems to have been preserved under it.
In the same way, another of the monuments that we can highlight for having been built on a hill was the Washington National Cathedral, which was built in the early nineteenth century on the highest peak of the city.
And all this without forgetting the internationally known Alhambra in Granada. It is a walled city, a World Heritage Site and of Muslim origin, which is located on the famous hill of La Sabika.
In addition to all the above, we cannot ignore the fact that there is a colloquial expression that is used very frequently and that makes use of the term we are analyzing. It is the adverbial phrase “by the hills of Úbeda” with which it is expressed that someone when talking about a matter is wandering.
The dictionary of the DigoPaul, finally, mentions other uses of the term hill, referring to the neck or back of an animal and to the bundle of linen or hemp already cleaned after raking.