Caesarea Israel: Top Sites to Visit

| September 27, 2012 | 0 Comments
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Caesarea Port

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Virtual Image of Ancient Roman Theater

Caesarea Port

The port that Herod built in Caesarea, Israel, was an amazing feat of ancient civil engineering. Caesarea wasn’t really cut out to be a port. It had major maritime problems such as dangerous currents and silting problems, but Herod’s engineers built two very large breakwaters to alleviate the problem, part of which can still be seen today. At the end of the breakwater was a lighthouse. as well as six enormous statues, which marked the treacherous sandbars to warn ships.

Underwater archaeology has given us a fair idea of how the Caesarea port was built and has brought many artifacts to the surface. Unfortunately, over the years, earthquakes have destroyed and covered much of the underwater evidence.

Likewise, the Caesarea National Park is one of the most impressive sites in Israel. Extensive excavations have uncovered many buildings from the Roman period through the Crusader and Byzantine eras when Caesarea was at its height in political, maritime, and strategic importance. Now, thanks to all the excavations which have taken place over many years, you can take a multi-layered look at Caesarea through almost all of its eras.

Ann Goldberg®  All Rights Reserved Part of Ancient Breakwater

Ann Goldberg®  All Rights Reserved
Part of Ancient Breakwater

At one end of the park there is the famous excavated and reconstructed Roman theater. It is the most ancient theater discovered in Israel and could accommodate 4,000 spectators. In sections you can still see the original marble-like plaster that was used to decorate the orchestra seating. This theater is still used for local and international musical performances in the summer months. Its magnificent setting, overlooking the sea, serves to add to the memorable atmosphere.

Caesarea Israel Ancient Sites

Nearby are the excavated remains of what is believed to be Herod’s Palace.

Next in the park is a 250 meter long entertainment structure. An arena with hundreds of seats has been found, and judging from its shape it is presumed to have been used for horse racing and sports events.

Ann Goldberg®  All Rights Reserved Caesaria Theater Today

Ann Goldberg®  All Rights Reserved
Caesaria Theater Today

A network of streets and bathhouses, obviously from the Roman era by their design, were also uncovered.

In the northern section is the remains of a synagogue built in the Byzantine era, indicating that this part was always the Jewish quarter of Caesarea. However, although there were multiple religions practiced here, life wasn’t always calm and peaceful. The Great Revolt that set the country alight in 66 CE was sparked off by a pagan ritual carried out in front of this synagogue in which the local Roman authorities decided not to interfere.

Ann Goldberg®  All Rights Reserved Caesarea Israel Ancient Roman Theater

Ann Goldberg®  All Rights Reserved
Roman Bathhouse

History of Caesarea: Rabbi Akiva

It is also here that the ten Holy Martyrs, including Rabbi Akiva, were tortured and put to death by the Romans.

After you have toured the National Park, visit the new multi-media center and see how ancient Caesarea looked in all its glory.

There are no rivers or springs in Caesarea so drinking water was always a problem. Further north along the coast you can see the high-level aqueduct which was built to carry water to the ever growing population. Later on an underground water supply was also dug, when the problem became more acute as the population of Caesarea continued to grow.

Caesarea Israel Trivia: Did You Know

There are two entrances to the National Park, one at the Roman theater section and one at the other end of the park where the new tourist multi-media experience is situated. Choose your entrance according to which part you want to visit first.

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Category: Attractions, Caesarea, Historical

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