Caesarea Maritima (“by the Sea”) is located on the shore in the center of Israel, in the middle between Haifa and Tel-Aviv. It is the site of one of the most important cities in the Roman World, the Roman capital of the province of Judea at the time of Jesus, and a Crusader fortress along the road from Acre to Jerusalem. Map.
Today, Caesarea is a large and interesting national park which and a mandatory place to visit while exploring the Holy Land. Initially, Caesarea was a Phoenician site in the Persian period (6 to 3rd century BC).
The Phoenicians, the maritime merchants of the ancient world, used the natural bays and the nearby rivers in order to establish a port, one of many ports that they set up along the shore stretching from Tyre down to Gaza.
The city flourished at the Greek period. Later, in the Roman period, King Herod created it into one of the largest cities in the Roman World, and called it after his patron, Augustus Caesar. The site was an important Roman city, and played an important role in the history of Ancient Israel. The city later decayed after the Arab conquest (8th Century AD). Caesarea returned to glory with the Crusaders (13th Century). After their retreat the city was left in ruins, and its stones were reused in buildings throughout the region.
Ancient City of Caesarea Ruins – Caesarea is a city of the past and the future, the new opposite the ancient. While new Caesarea is graced with magnificent modern homes, ancient Caesarea offers tourists the ruins of unique, impressive buildings. While golfers enjoy lush fairways, horse races are reenacted in the huge hippodrome in the national park.
While modern Caesarea’s neighborhoods are quiet and serene in the glory of contemporary architecture, ancient Caesarea is bustling with tourists who come to see the wonders of the past that were built by one of the greatest builders of the ancient world – King Herod.