Israel is known all over the world as a destination full of history and lots of religious and archaeological sites. The fact that several other ancient civilizations were part of its history makes it even more unique and appealing to people from all over the world. The Ancient Roman civilization was one of the most influential civilizations in Israel. During the Roman period, lots of great cities were created and Caesarea is arguably one of the most popular of them all. Besides being a Roman city of great importance, Caesarea also has a fascinating history that has been documented in historical and religious writings including the bible.
Today this ancient city is now a bustling tourist spot that visitors can visit to see ancient Roman ruins and learn about the interesting history surrounding the site.
What To Know About Caesarea
Caesarea is an ancient Roman city built by King Herod or Herod the Great approximately 2000 years ago. The same Herod who made the order to end the lives of all male children under the age of 2 according to the New Testament. Built Between 25 and 13 BCE, Caesarea consists of Towers, a Roman theater, a castle, and ruins of a temple. The city was built to be used as a port and is also called Caesarea Maritima which translates to Caesarea by the sea. The name “Caesarea” was given to the city by Herod in honor of Caesarea Augustus - his patron and “Maritima” is used to distinguish it from several other cities which also bear the name “Caesarea.”
Caesarea In The New Testament
Caesarea was mentioned many times in the New Testament, making it a destination of interest for pilgrims around the world. From the conversion of Cornelius to the headquarters of Pontius Pilate, Caesarea is no doubt full of interesting history. One of the city’s most popular New Testament references is in Acts 10: 11, a verse detailing the Conversion of Cornelius - A Roman Centurion serving in Caesarea at that time. Cornelius would eventually be regarded as the first pagan to be converted to Christianity.
Also, When Paul was imprisoned in Jerusalem, he was taken to Caesarea and accepted into the custody of Felix - the then governor of Judea to protect him from the violent conflict between the Pharisees and the Sadducees as a result of his arrest. Paul would eventually spend 2 Years in Prison in Caesarea until he was proven innocent and released.
Headquarters Of Pontius Pilate
Pontus Pilate - the Roman governor of Judea under the administration of Emperor Tiberius, was one of Caesarea's most popular citizens. This was the same Pontius Pilate responsible for the sentencing of Jesus. While the opposition has been made regarding his existence, an archeological finding in 1961 revealed solid evidence of his existence. This archeological evidence was a piece of limestone found in the city of Caesarea. On the stone was an inscribed Pontius Pilate’s name. This means that Caesarea was Pilate’s headquarters from which he acted as governor (or perfect as seen on the limestone).
Despite being one of the most important Roman cities, Caesarea eventually fell to so many adversaries including a Muslim Army and natural disasters.
Caesarea In The Modern World
Far from being an abandoned archeological site, Caesarea is a bustling city in Israel to enjoy a vibrant atmosphere as well as some amazing activities. Within the modern city of Caesarea are the ruins of the ancient city of Caesarea Maritima and the site is now a national park. The archeological site is endowed with a Roman theater, Herod’s palace, the Crusader Fortress, and lots of ruins from the original port city.
Besides the archeological abundance that can be found in Caesarea, the city is also a great place for relaxation and enjoyable vacation. The park hosts a unique harbor beach that features a unique atmosphere with views of surrounding ancient structures. The Roman theater of the ancient city is now being used as a venue for concerts, allowing visitors to enjoy some entertainment just like the ancient inhabitants of the city did here thousands of years ago. The city is particularly busy during the summer months as visitors come to enjoy the summer concerts, the beautiful beaches, and learn about the interesting history of this place.
While in Caesarea, also check out the underwater museum which presents an exciting opportunity for diving and exploration of the ruins under the water. This underwater museum is the first in Israel, and it features much of the original city built by Herod. The park invites tourists to engage in this diving adventure so more discoveries about this great city can be uncovered.