Because of its lack of water and good routes, the Judean wilderness has been (mostly) uninhabited throughout history. The Judean Desert is bordered by the Mountains of Judea to the west and by the Dead Sea to the East. It is considered a relatively small desert, spanning only 1,500 square kilometers. Mountains, cliffs, and chalk hills stand alongside plateaus, riverbeds, and deep canyons. The width and breadth of the desert is crossed by several rivers that have created canyons up to 500 meters deep. The desert is known for its rugged landscape, which has provided a refuge and hiding place for rebels throughout history, as well as solitude and isolation to monks and hermits.