Caesarea is an ancient port city on the Mediterranean coast, an archeological site with relics from the days of the Romans and Crusaders. Everyone who visits Israel needs an impressive Caesarea tour to enjoy views and rest at coastal restaurants, plunge into warm sea waters on beautiful beaches in a natural park among millennial artifacts, and see remnants of a once-thriving port stretching into the ocean. This port was built by King Herod in the times of Jesus Christ.
The city of the Romans, the stronghold of Crusaders, the rise and fall of Caesarea
In the 20s B.C., a small village was awarded to the Jewish King Herod the Great by Caesar Augustus. Herod built a large port city at the site and called it in honor of his Roman patron. Caesarea became the home of the Roman Procurators of Judea.
Herod created pure magnificence and luxury: he built temples, amphitheaters, castles, and thermae lined with overseas marble. The center was a massive harbor protected by breakwaters. Herod commissioned a 6-km-long aqueduct to bring drinking water to the city from springs at the foot of Mount Carmel.
For nearly six centuries, Caesarea has been an influential and thriving city. After the fall of Jerusalem, in 70 A.D., it became the capital of the Roman province of Judaea (later named Syria Palestine), the base of the Roman navy, and the residence of the library which contained the first editions of the Bible.
The Muslims conquered Caesarea in the 7th century A.D., but in 1101, crusaders captured the city – according to legend, the Holy Grail was found here. The port was reconstructed, Caesarea was proclaimed the power center for the time of crusades, and archbishopric was established.
The city was fortified with imposing walls and taken by Mamluks only after the collapse of the Jerusalem Crusader Kingdom in the 13th century. The city fortifications were torn down, and the population was slaughtered or enslaved.
The territory of Caesarea had remained almost completely uninhabited, and only in the 18th century, it managed to begin developing again.
You can imagine the wealth that has been prevailing in Caesarea for centuries if you look at the artifacts that survived.
Caesarea Maritima today
Archeologists discovered and unearthed the ruins of the city, which had been buried under sand dunes. The big Roman amphitheater, aqueduct, hippodrome, and impressive harbor are restored. They remind of Caesarea’s status as a Roman capital and its role in Jewish and Christian history. Today, it is a national archeological park.
Order a trip from 123 Trip Tel Aviv and visit these spectacular attractions:
- King Herod’s Palace – an architectural masterpiece built in the sea;
- a stone of Herod’s times with an inscription of Pontius Pilate;
- famous aqueduct – an impressive structure with beautiful sea views through arches;
- well-preserved complex mosaics of the 5th century in Roman ruins;
- 12th-century city gate;
- massive walls of Crusaders delimiting enormous arcades;
- ruins of St. Peter's Basilica and other historical monuments.
The ancient harbor offers visitors a lot of entertainment options: shops, restaurants, swimming, and diving. Be sure to watch the multimedia show "Time Trek"! Visit the prestigious international Caesarea golf club and unique museums:
- Ralli with a splendid collection of Dali's sculptures;
- Maritima museum with movies and interactive holograms of historical figures;
- Caesarea gallery – over 2000 years of history.
The promenade invites you to take a stroll at sunset when the red radiant sun sinks in the waters of the Mediterranean Sea. Smooth and well-prepared paths, one of the most beautiful beaches of Israel, amazing international food, fresh fruit in markets, and delicious wines. Caesarea is a must-visit place in Israel!