This article deals with the historical and biblical Zion of Israel. For other uses of the term, see Zion (disambiguation)
Zion or Tzion (ציון "Height", Standard Hebrew Ẓiyyon, Tiberian Hebrew Ṣiyy�n; Arabic صهيون Ṣuhyūn) originally was the specific name given to a Jebusite fortress near modern-day Jerusalem that was conquered by David. The original fortress was located on the hill in southeastern Jerusalem, called Mount Zion.
Zion, or Sion, is an archaic term that originally referred to a section of Jerusalem, which, by Biblical definition, is the City of David. After the death of King David, the term Zion came to refer to the hill in Jerusalem which was the site of Solomon's temple. Later, Zion came to refer to temple and the temple grounds themselves. Beyond that, Zion is used to symbolize Jerusalem and the Promised Land of God to come, in which God dwells among his chosen people.
The longing for Zion of the Babylonian Hebrews was adopted as a metaphor by Christianized Black slaves. Thus, Zion symbolizes a longing, by wandering peoples, for a safe homeland. This could be a literal place such as in Ethiopia for Rastafarians for example. For others, it has taken on a more spiritual meaning—a safe spiritual homeland, like in heaven, or a kind or peace of mind in one's present life.
Arab Muslims use the term Zionist to refer disparagingly to Jews (and occasionally 'the West' in general). It is intended to be offensive, but Zion carries holy connotations to many, so the effect is lost on its target.
In a spiritual sense, Zion is regarded by LDS as a perfect social state of being of "pure in heart" believers, where all people have all things in common, and there is no suffering nor impoverished among them. It stands in opposing contrast to proverbial Babylon, where there is much suffering, poverty and whoredoms.
These uses of the name "Zion" are associated with references in the Book of Moses in the Pearl of Great Price, where Enoch the son of Jared founds a city for the righteous descendants of Adam. This city becomes so good and so pure that it is translated (vanished) from the presence of the earth and brought into the presence of God, leaving behind on earth only Methuselah and his family (including Noah) to repopulate the earth with righteous people. LDS believe that, before the Second Coming, Zion the city of Enoch will return to the presence of the earth.
In the motion picture trilogy The Matrix, Zion is the last free human city, located deep beneath the surface of Earth.
In the anime Mobile Suit Gundam, the original romanization of the antagonist state was Zion (as in The Prinipality of Zion). It was pronounced "Zee-Ohn" and the Japanese were apparently unaware of the association with actual political organizations; ironic, given that this Zion was a fascist state much like Nazi Germany. Early English speaking anime fans usually changed this spelling to Jion and this became the popular spelling until around 2001 when this series was finally shown on Cartoon Network. Borrowing a spelling used in an early English translation of the Gundam novels, the enemy was now called the Principality of Zeon. and the enemies were now alternately called "Zeons" or "Zeeks". While "Zion" continues to see use overseas (as well as with purist fans), "Zeon" has become the official spelling and pronunciation for the North American Gundam Release.