Caesarea – Herod’s Dream

Within the framework of my studies in Conservation of Historical Buildings and Monuments
at the Western Galilee College in Acre I was taken on a tour of Caesarea, together with my
classmates, by our lecturer and head of the Conservation Department of the college, Dr.
Nadav Kashtan. It was a beautiful, warm winter day to walk along the sea shore.

Caesarea, which is located on the Israeli coast between Netanya and Haifa, was built by
King Herod during his reign as King of Judea. The city was built as a tribute to Herod’s
friend and patron, Octavius Augustus Caesar. Hence its name “Caesarea.”

The city wascarefully planned with streets crossing one another (similar to New York) with a temple, theater, amphitheater, hippodrome, bath houses, a street of stores (cardo), storehouses, a neighborhood of houses and a man-made port. An aqueduct brought fresh drinking water to the city.

Caesarea became one of the most important ports and cities in the Land of Israel. It was
inhabited by both Jews and gentiles and was the center of the Roman army during the Jewish
revolt.  During this time it was the scene of public executions of Jewish leaders.

After the destruction of Jerusalem, Caesarea became the most important city in Judea.
After, the fall of the Roman Empire and during the Byzantium Period the city flourished until
the Land of Israel was captured by the Arabs. During this time the city lost its shine, but during
the Crusader Period the city regained some of its former glory.

Today, much of ancient Caesarea has been revealed to us. It is a very large and well kept
archaeological site with a museum, shops, art galleries and restaurants. Concerts are
held in the theater which faces the sea. It is located near Kibbutz Sdot Yam, the modern
neighborhood of Caesarea and the town of Or Akiva. Just as ancient Caesarea was home to
wealthy Romans and other citizens of Judea, modern day Caesarea is a beautiful town and
home to some of the wealthier Israelis.