Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Caesarea Maritima-One- The Harbor and City

Caesarea sits about 30 miles north of Joppa
 on the Mediterranean coast of Israel.
Herod the Great designed a huge harbor
 with inner and outer barriers here. 
Engineering techniques included using materials 
that would allow the concrete to harden underwater.
(secret ingredient for this is believed to be volcanic ash)
It took about 12 years to build the harbor which he named
 "Caesarea" in honor of the Roman Caesar Augustus.

Site of Herod's Palace-lower level-
 the largest of all that he built
Upper courtyard- Herod's palace-
Excavated and reconstructed areas

The sheer size of Caesarea makes it a challenge to excavate.
The ruins date from Herod's day
 to the Byzantine Period- 4-7th Centuries AD,
 to the Crusader time- 12-13th century. 
Much of it is unexcavated.
As we learned on this trip-
 archeology is about destruction, 
reconstruction and construction.

Steady excavation began in the the 1950's and 1960's.
Right and very top of this photo show 
Crusader and Ottoman era buildings. 
It is estimated that several hundred thousands
 lived here in the early Roman days. 
Current population is about 5,000 people.

The materials to build Caesarea
 were brought in from all over the Mediterranean.

Once Caesarea was completed, 
it became the heart of Roman rule in Palestine. 
This is where Pontius Pilate
 ruled in the time of Christ.

The modern city of Caesarea adapts
 as a commuter home to those traveling
 to Haifa or Tel Aviv.

Today, this city is known in Israel
 as having the only full size golf course,
 with spas, shopping and resorts
 to add to the tourist appeal. 

It still appeals as a city built by the sea.
The next few posts will tell a bit of the story 
of Caesarea Maritima.

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