Caesarea National Park
Caesarea National Park is one of, if not Israel’s, most impressive archaeological site. Caesarea is a dream attraction because there is a unique Caesaria for visitors of all faiths, age groups and interests.
Under King Herod Caesarea Maritima grew to become the largest city in Judaea with a population of over 125,000. Herod’s The great revolt against Rome began in Caesaria in the year 66 C.E. Some 69 years later after defeat of Bar Kochba, Rabbi Akiva was brought specifically to Caesarea and tortured for his support of this revolution against Rome.
If you are interested in Roman architecture, the beautifully restored harbor here was built by King Herod and is a work of engineering marvel.
The site is a fascinating place to explore and the museum includes a great multimedia explanation of the history of the port.
The ruins of Herod’s palace on a promontory jutting out into the sea are still visible today.
Nearby is the Hippodrome erected for horse and chariot races. It was later converted into an amphitheater to hold Gladiatorial games.
Christian tourists can find the presence of Pontius Pilate, the city where Peter the apostle baptized Cornelius the Centurion and where the Apostle Paul sought refuge and was later imprisoned .
Medieval Caesarea was strongly refortified and rebuilt by the Crusaders. The remains of the Crusader city walls, the castle and a Crusader cathedral and church.
Between 1884 and 1948 Bosnian Muslims had a settlement there.
The Harbor Beach is located within the Park although you can enter separately, and is totally unique in its setting, with superb facilities.
The city declined under later Byzantine and Arab rule. Its port and part of the ancient citadel were rebuilt by the crusaders; the city was successively taken and retaken by Muslim and crusader forces, until finally it was captured and razed by the Mamluk sultan Baybars I in 1265.
Caesarea National Park is a half-day attraction which is great all-year round. It is easily accessible by road, although getting to Caesarea by public transport can be tricky. Many tourists therefore decide to visit the site on a tour of Caesarea, many of which incorporate other sites along the coast and can start from either Tel Aviv or Jerusalem.
Caesarea is a great place to enjoy a sunset and meal so go late afternoon in the summer and enjoy the sunset in one of the many restaurants in Caesarea harbor.
Fees: Adult: NIS 38; child: NIS 23 Israeli senior citizen: 50% discount. Group (over 30 people): Adult: NIS 34: child NIS 21
Directions to Caesarea
Caesarea is located just off of Road 2, the main coastal highway about mid-way between Haifa and Tel Aviv. It is about a 1 hour drive from downtown Tel Aviv. Often joining a group tour or taking a private guide can be the most practical way to reach the site.
Underwater Museum at Caesarea
The Park is also home to a unique museum, the world’s only underwater museum where you are able to dive through the underwater ruins of this ancient city. Wow! For more call the Caesarea Dive Club (04-6265898).