Or Caesarea. Which would also be the correct spelling. The city was built by King Herod. Yes, the one whose name has become a household name.
“Oh, you Herods! Here I am now!” grandmothers shouted to their grandchildren in my childhood. (Mine just didn’t scream, because she was very restrained and calm :)))
(Why Herod is deeply condemned by Christians, and revered by Jews is a separate story).
This story is about Israel again. I have already said that we managed to travel around almost the entire country before kovid. Yes, this is not a trick, to be honest. The area of Israel is about 21,000 square kilometers. And my Altai Territory is exactly 8 times larger.
There is even a joke on this topic: “David, what will you do on your day off? — I will travel around the country on a bicycle! “Fine, what about after dinner?”
But despite such a small size, the country has not just a lot, but a LOT of sights, ancient shrines and historically famous places.
View of the harbor of Caesarea and the remains of ship moorings from the times of Herod. Photo of the author. View of the harbor of Caesarea and the remains of ship moorings from the times of Herod. Photo of the author.
Just yesterday, one of the commentators spoke in the sense that there is nothing to see in Israel, except for the Holy Sepulcher. I don’t know what motivated someone to do this. Apparently, a lack of curiosity and education. Well, God bless him…
In general, there are two Caesareas in Israel. One is a modern, small but very cozy city founded in 1977. Mostly with small houses, premium housing. About halfway between Haifa (where the #Bahai Gardens) and Jerusalem.
Second Caesarea is a national park. Here I will tell about it.
Entrance to Caesarea National Park. Photo from personal archive. Entrance to Caesarea National Park. Photo from personal archive.
Caesarea — opening hours and ticket price
The national park opens at 8 am. In summer it is open until 18:00. In September and October — until 17.00. And from November to April inclusive — until 16.00. On Fridays, the park closes an hour earlier. And on holidays, visitors are accepted from 8.00 to 13.00.
An adult ticket costs 39 shekels, a child ticket is 24 shekels, and a student ticket is 33. We didn’t pay for tickets, because their cost was included in the total cost of a large bus tour with which we visited the national park.
Brief History of Caesarea
The first mention of the city dates back to the first half of the 4th century. Of course, BC. The settlement was small. But in its center there was a powerful fortress.
Over the course of four centuries, the owners of the fortress changed many times. But in 31 BC, the Roman emperor Augustus decided to donate the settlement with the fortress to the Jewish king Herod.
He turned out to be an ambitious man, with truly royal manners. He said that he would turn Caesarea into a port city, the capital of Judea. The entourage of the king considered this a whim. What port?! The harbor is shallow, suitable only for small fishing boats!
Akko. The small Israeli town that Macedonsky, Caesar, Napoleon fought for
But the king said — the king did! And now, 10 years later, Caesarea is already a prosperous port city, a cultural capital. After some time, the city became the metropolis, and then the real, official capital of Judea.
The history of Caesarea for 13 centuries has known many wars and uprisings, religious clashes, crusades. One of the wars ended with the fall and destruction of the once great city. Caesarea fell at the hands of Muslim troops. Ruins remain of the city. Majestic ruins, protected today by UNESCO.
What to see in Caesarea in one day
There are many sights in Caesarea, but if you look at them at the pace of a waltz, then you can do it in a day. The Israelis themselves love their park very much, they come here for picnics, for wedding and birthday photo shoots, just for a walk.
Each of the attractions is worthy of a separate story, but in this article I will simply list them and show a photo.
Ruins of the ancient port
The harbor was shallow, and in order for large merchant and military ships to enter it, the builders had to work hard. The photo shows the ruins of an ancient port facility, famously beaten by modern architects. There are now cafes and souvenir shops for every taste.
Israel. Caesarea. The building of cafes and shops, built on the ruins of an ancient port. Photo of the author. Israel. Caesarea. The building of cafes and shops, built on the ruins of an ancient port. Photo of the author.
Ruins of the palace of Herod the Great
The king’s palace was really great. Strict forms, with a colonnade, porticos, huge in area. The photo shows what is left of it:
What is left of King Herod’s palace. Israel. Caesarea. Photo of the author. What is left of King Herod’s palace. Israel. Caesarea. Photo of the author.
On the territory of the national park, there are many fragments of sculptures of various sizes, which, apparently, adorned the palace of the king and the buildings of the nobles.
Scroll through the gallery:
Israel. Caesarea. Fragments of beautiful ancient sculptures in the national park. Photo of the author. Israel. Caesarea. Fragments of beautiful ancient sculptures in the national park. Photo of the author.
The Roman theater was built by Herod around 20-10 BC. It was destroyed, but it was restored. And now it is a functioning open-air theater where pop stars perform, opera and ballet performances are given. They say the acoustics there are magical.
Israel. Caesarea. Amphitheater. Photo of the author. Israel. Caesarea. Amphitheater. Photo of the author.
hippodrome by the sea
It is perfectly preserved, you can, if you wish, conduct races. And even there is where to seat the audience.
Israel. Caesarea. Hippodrome of the times of King Herod. Photo of the author. Israel. Caesarea. Hippodrome of the times of King Herod. Photo of the author.
Temple of Roma and Augustus
These are the ruins of a pagan temple, which was erected in honor of the goddess Roma and Emperor Augustus Octavian. With the advent of Christianity, the temple was destroyed and a Christian church was built on its basis. But in the 7th century AD, the church was destroyed by the Muslims. What’s left is:
Israel Caesarea. Ruins of the Temple of Roma and Augustus. Photo of the author. Israel Caesarea. Ruins of the Temple of Roma and Augustus. Photo of the author.
Roman bath complex
Baths were once a grandiose and very elegant building.
Fragments of columns and mosaic floors have been preserved.
Israel. Caesarea. Thermae. Photo of the author. Israel. Caesarea. Thermae. Photo of the author.
Tax office building
Yes, in the time of Herod the bureaucratic machine worked to its fullest. Taxes were collected and strictly accounted for. The tax office building was built a few years after Herod’s death. They built it on a hill.
Fragments of columns, a mosaic floor and benches in the waiting room have survived to this day. A canopy was built over the remains of the building — so that the floor mosaic would last longer.
The ruins of the building of the tax office. Caesarea, Israel. Photo of the author. The ruins of the building of the tax office. Caesarea, Israel. Photo of the author.
Fortress of the Crusaders
This building is later — XII-XIII centuries. Preserved pretty well. The fortress on one side faces the sea, and on the other three sides the citadel was surrounded by a moat. The entrance gate survived, the vaults of the first floor are in excellent condition.
Fortress of the Crusaders. Caesarea Photo by the author. Fortress of the Crusaders. Caesarea Photo by the author. Vaults of the fortress of the crusaders. Caesarea. Photo of the author. Vaults of the fortress of the crusaders. Caesarea. Photo of the author.
It was also built by order of Herod, and there is evidence that the king himself participated in the design of the city’s water supply system. A canal was built through which carefully collected rainwater entered Caesarea. The fresh water problem has been solved.
Not only did the city not have a problem with drinking water, but under Herod, public baths were constantly working, sewer systems were built, and even the first public toilets with a water flush.
Unfortunately, I did not find a photo of the aqueduct in my own archive. Therefore, I use a photo from the site https://kuku/travel
Aqueduct in Caesarea. Photo from the site https://kuku/travel Aqueduct in Caesarea. Photo from https://kuku/travel
And these are fragments of columns from the time of King Herod, found on the territory of Caesarea. That is, they are more than 2000 years old. Some of the columns probably belonged to the royal palace. Others — decorated public buildings or houses of noble people of the city.
Ancient columns are fragments of buildings from the time of King Herod. Photo of the author. Ancient columns are fragments of buildings from the time of King Herod. Photo of the author.
We bought an excursion to Caesarea in Tel Aviv. More precisely, it was one fairly voluminous excursion, including a visit to Haifa with its beautiful Bahai gardens . And on the way back we stopped in Caesarea.
The cost of the entire large excursion (it lasted all day) was 80 shekels per person.
The best excursions are most reliably booked here .
I really hope that I will still have the opportunity to visit Israel and walk around these places again.
Thank you for being patient and reading the article to the end.
Please write in the comments how you liked Caesarea, and did you like it at all? Or do you also think, like that commentator, that there is nothing to see in Israel except the Holy Sepulcher?
Health to everyone!
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