The city is one of Israel's major tourist attractions and an increasingly popular place for Israel's elite to make their homes.
In 21 BCE, Herod the Great built a massive, two-part harbor, an inner and outer harbor, at Caesarea. The all-weather harbor was constructed by using hydraulic concrete to create breakwaters in the sea. The harbor took twelve years to construct. Herod named the harbor Sebastos, in honor of Emperor Augustus.
The historian Josephus Flavius describes the harbor like this; "the king triumphed over nature and constructed a harbor larger than the Piraeus, including other deep roadsteads within its recesses…he grappled with the difficulties so successfully, that the solidity of his masonry defied the sea, while its beauty was such as if no obstacle had existed."
The underwater park introduces both amateur and professional divers to the techniques Herod used to build the ancient ports, to the attempts at restoration after they sunk and to the ruins of sunken and ravaged ships. In the rich ambience of romantic ancient relics this sunken peace of history has nearly forgotten, but thanks to the discovery work of leading archeologists and with the Caesarea development company building contribution- this magnificent site has recently opened. The entire area of the sunken port's remains is approx. 50 acres, including pools, wave breakers, loading grounds, storage places, the old ports promenade and even its lighthouse. At the bottom of the port all the shipwrecks are found and even one of the “maapilim” shipwrecks is buried at the bottom of the sea here. The dive at the park is conducted by professional instructors who make this a unique and unforgettable diving adventure.
The amphitheater is not only a spectacular relic of the past, but a modern performing venue where concerts are frequently held. Inside the gate of the theater is a plaque with a replica (the original is in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem) of the inscription found during excavations in 1959-63 with the words "TIBERIVM" and "TIVS PILATUS," references to Emperor Tiberius and Pontius Pilate, the governor of Judea at the time of Jesus. This was an important find because it is the only archaeological evidence of Pilate's existence.
Undoubtedly, you'll be informed that the entrances to the theater are known as Vomitoria. The name does not come from the reaction of patrons to a show, but is simply a word meaning vaulted passageway. The inside of the theater is not only impressive as a remnant of the glory days of Rome, but for its spectacular view of the Mediterranean.
Other archaeological finds from Caesarea can be seen in the museum at a nearby Kibbutz called Sdot Yam. In addition to exhibits of antiquities, the kibbutz is also the home of the Hannah Senesh House, a museum depicting the heroic story of the young woman who volunteered for the British army and parachuted behind enemy lines during World War II. Senesh (also Szenes) was captured and tortured, but would not betray her comrades. She was executed by the Germans in 1944.
Time Trek is an exciting and thrilling cinematic experience, that will take you for a majestic voyage through Caesarea's History. You will be exposed to different cultures that dominated this tremendous city. Beginning from the era of Herod and the Romans, through the Bizantic, Arabic, the crusaders eras until the beginning of the Zionistic movement of the Jews settling down around this area.
Don't forget that you can spice up your visit to the remains of the Roman Empire with many art galleries and tourist attraction such as: the 6 Gallery, Antik Gallery, Old City Caesarea Gallery, G.R.A.S. Israeli Art and the very interesting Artists colony. And of course there are numerous lovely coffee shops and restaurants over looking the sea, but that it self is another subject for article to come.
The ancient port city of Caesarea is with out a doubt a destination worth exploring.
G.R.A.S Israeli Art Galliey
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