Caesarea is an old Roman port city, located between Tel Aviv and Haifa on the Israeli coastal plain near the city of Hadera. Like many cities in Israel, Caesarea has been overrun by Romans, Arabs and Crusaders, each adding their own mark to the place.
Caesarea is famous for its impressive archaeological park and stunning modern homes belonging to Israel's elite.
Caesarea was built by Herod the Great in the 1st century BCE upon what originally was a Phoenician port called Straton's Tower. Straton's Tower was built by Straton, who is believed to have been a ruler of Sidon in the 4th century BCE.
Herod constructed a major port, markets, wide roads, bathhouses, temples, recreational facilities, and a theater.
By the time of Herod's death, Caesarea was the most important port cities in the area of eastern Mediterranean. Originally, the city was called Straton's Tower after its founder Straton, but Herod the Great renamed the Caesarea in honor of the emperor.
The Jewish-Roman war, also known as The Great Revolt took place in 66-70 CE, was a major rebellion by the Jews against the Roman Empire. As a result, the Romans razed Jerusalem, and titled Caesarea as the capital of Palestine.
In subsequent years, Caesarea changed hands several times, and by 1261, the city was in ruins. In 1940 the remains of Caesarea was found and in 1990 investments were made in order to restore the ancient city.
Caesarea is an important site in Christian history. The city was the center of Christian learning during the 3rd century; in addition Caesarea is the place where Pontius Pilate governed during the time of Jesus.
Today Caesarea offers an amazing visit to the national park and ancient port, a tour of the hippodrome and Roman amphitheater, a walk among the impressive palace ruins and much more.
When visiting the national park you can find the following sites of interest:
- The Roman Theater of Caesarea is a fully restored theater built by Herod, which during the summer regularly hosts concerts of local and international acts.
- Crusader City who was built by King Louis IX of France.
- Horseshoe-shaped stadium where people watched major sporting events over 2,000 years ago.
- Port of Sebastos ,also known as the port of Herod – this is the world’s only underwater museum where you are able to dive through the underwater ruins of this ancient city.
Caesarea is also offering one of the best beaches in Israel with an ancient aqueduct marking the edge of the beach.
There are a large variety of restaurants at the Harbor of Caesarea Most of the restaurants serve great seafood with an awesome location overlooking the Mediterranean.