written By Zvika Gasner Koheleth, Edited 1-March-2019, 12-January-2020, 25-April-2021, Photography by Angela Hechtfisch
Caesarea – Introduction
Caesarea is a small town in north-central Israel. Naming in honor of Roman Ceasar Augustus the beneficiary of King Hordus the-Great, the greatest builder of Judea. The city is located 55 k.m north of Tel Aviv, on the coastal plain near the city of Hadera. The civilian part of the town is highly luxurious and contains private neighborhoods of the rich & famous.
Naturally, Caesarea (also known as “Caesarea Maritima” – “Caesarea by the sea”) main attraction is its old archeological part declared as a national park (Caesarea was also suggested in 2019 as Martine National park in the following years to come) just been announced in 10 spot as 1 of the 52 places in the world to go in 2020 by Time magazine. Tickets to the complete area cost 39 Shekels per adult, which includes the complete Caesarea complex, that is in addition to its cafe shops, restaurants, galleries, breaking waves also include the entry to the old Roman Theatre, the amazing horse hippodrome, Herods (King “Hordus the Great”) palace complex on the seafront with its “Infinity” pool, and the new Visitors center just opened in 2020 that shows every 15 minutes the story of King Herods Caesarea great builder (subtitles are available in English/Russian/Spanish/French).
King Herods with his complex personality, probably paranoid for a good reason hence his wife and later on two of his sons tried to kill and succeed him to the Judea throne, was the man who visioned and executed the creation of the 1st NONE natural deepwater seaport in the world. Herods also executed his conspiring wife and 2 boys, which later resulted in Ceasar Augustus famous phrase: “It is better to be Herod’s pig than his son.”
To fill the trust and deep pockets of Rome as serving his master, Herods asked to pimp up the Economy of Judea with huge construction projects to be taxed, such as its winter palace in Masada near the Dead Sea, the fortress of Herodian near Jerusalem, the rebuilt of the 2nd Jewish temple on the Temple mount, a facility described as the most amazing structure in the ancient world. Caesarea came into the huge Civilian-Roman metropolitan, 2nd in importance only to Jerusalem which acted as a spiritual & religious center, with a 2/3 population of Romans and 1/3 of Jewish inhabitants. The daily living in Caesarea were much closer to Rome than to Jerusalem by having circular lifestyle with the little guilty pleasures of the Romans including Theatre plays, Horse racing & Gladiator shows, bathhouses indulgent and more. Eventually, the thin coexistence between the traditional stricted Jewish life and the Roman-pagan had exploded, and the Jewish revolt in the Roman Empire in 66 AD started here in Caesarea old synagogue.