Caesarea (QYSRYH) is just about the richest town in the country. It’s full of villas, gazillionnaires, and politicians.
It was built by Herod the Great around 25BC and became the capital of the Roman province of Palestine. It took twelve years to build the harbour, although that was damaged/destroyed in 139AD. The city still stood, with a growing number of Jews and Christians, and was fortified by the Byzantines in 324AD, who also outlawed gladiator fights but allowed continued chariot races.
The temple to Roma and Caesar Augustus was torn down and an octagonal church built in its place. Later, it fell to the Muslims, who tore down the church and built a mosque. Sometime before that, there was an earthquake and the harbour flooded, but that was rebuild by the Crusaders in 1099. In 1265, it was re-invaded by the Muslims who thoroughly destroyed just about everything.
We watched a quick movie with an American tour group.
The amphitheatre still stands. Excavation began in the 80s, and it was completely covered in sand at that point.
Paul might have given his Acts 24 defense to Felix standing here.
The amphitheatre is right near Herod’s palace.
Herod had a freshwater swimming pool. It wasn’t freshwater today at all!
You can sort of see the edges of the swimming pool. We’re told it’s much more apparent on less stormy days.
There was a stone with the inscription “to Tiberius, Pontius Pilate, Prefect of Rome”.
Yuval and the stone
On the other side of the palace is the hippodrome. “Hippos” is Greek for horse, but I think today actually hippopotami would have appreciated the hippodrome more.
We might have crossed the hippodrome, if it weren’t wet, to get to the remains of the Crusader fort.
The Crusader area is now inhabited by Muslims who came out from Bosnia about a hundred years ago – you can see the minaret in the hippodrome picture.
A lot of marble is used in Caesarea. Marble isn’t native to Israel, where most things are built out of sandstone, and had to be imported originally from Egypt and Turkey.
trying not to be blown away