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Israel Study Program Pt 8

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Caesarea – Hanna Zaidner

This report was compiled between 2003-2005. It should be noted that many changes have occurred since then, and the serious student of Israeli history, geography and other studies, should take the time to update their knowledge. However, that said, it does form a stable starting point from which to enhance one’s overall knowledge base.  In recent years, I have personally enjoyed the good fortune to have been taken behind the scenes of some of the latest excavations in this area, which has greatly increased our collective knowledge related to events that shaped the history of this remarkable man made port. There is no substitute for an actual site visit to fully appreciate what any site in Israel has to offer, especially here. The same holds true for undertaking an in-depth study program such as the one provided by various accredited organizations to be allowed to sit the challenging exams set by the Israeli Minister of Tourism to become a fully licensed tour guide in Israel.

We are happy to provide information and professional services related to making travel arrangements to Israel, as well as undertaking educational courses that can greatly enhance ones knowledge of the subjects presented in this series.  Accordingly, feel free to contact us through the form below, clearly stating the nature of your enquiry, and we will be happy to get back to.

David Lev Bannister – Licensed Tour Guide


In my humble opinion what we as tour guides should do is to relate the stones in the ground to some of the central issues which face mankind.

Ceasarea is an excellent place to do this. This is the theme we can focus on here. The battle of Roachnus and Gasmiut, Spirituality verses “The guy who dies with the most toys wins.

This theme is developed by Avner Goren in his lecture at the Roman Theater. I have included an audio of that lecture.

As Avner points out this was the place that Roman Culture first entered into Herod’s Israel. And Caesarea will be the place that the revolution that ultimately caused the destruction of Herod’s Temple in Jerusalem begins.

Avner notes that the Romans were not Hedonistic but sought to enjoy the good life with bodily comforts. They shared this “good life” with their subjects and thus it was normally easy for them to maintain their control. But no different than at the time of the Hashmoneans before and the Muslim Fundamentalist today, there are those who reject such concerns.

Sometimes is is hard to tell who is who without a scorecard. Remember the quarters of the priests in the Jewish Quarter. They too were enjoying a pretty good life.

Richard Fiedler

In addition to audio files I have included two picture files. One can be used to produce a large drawing of the Caesarea that is on the title page and another is an archeological map of Caesarea.



I.1 Itinerary

I.2. Miscellaneous en route to Caesarea


II.1. Timeline 1

II.2. Timeline 2

II.3. Timeline 3


III .1. History of the population in Herod’s time

III .2. The Roman Culture

III.3. Herod – Roman King or Jewish King?

III.4. Herod – the megalomaniac builder

III.5. The challenge of Paganism

III.6. The bankruptcy of Paganism

III.7. Theatres in ancient times

III.8. The Roman theatre


IV.1. The Roman theatre

IV.2. The Model of Caesarea

IV.3. Between the theatre and the sea

IV.4. The Promontory Palace

IV.5. The Hippodrome

IV.6. The Bathhouse

IV.7. The Cardo and the Decomanos

IV.8. (The Ralli-Museum): The Harbor



I.1. Itinerary

6.30 am Departure from Jerusalem 

8.10 am Arrival at the National Park of Caesarea, entrance to Roman Theatre, use of facilities near entrance

8.20 am visit to Roman Theatre

9.45 am coffee break, use of facilities near entrance to the National Park (entrance to Roman Theatre)

10.30 explanations at model near entrance

11 am visit of southern city wall, area west of the Roman Theatre (cliff above the sea), the Palace, Harbor, temple, hippodrome, roman bath, streets 

2 pm – 2.45 pm short ride on Bus to a mall of kibbutz Dor Akiva, lunch

2.45 pm leaving with bus to the Ralli-museum (which is closed)

3 pm back to the National Park of Caesarea to visit the crusaders city (second of the 3 entrances)

We leave Jerusalem and drive on route 1 to route 6 northbound till end of highway, turning west into # 65 till Caesarea.

I.2. Miscellaneous en route to Caesarea

Route 6 follows the ancient road of the Via Maris that connected the civilized world of the Fertile Crescent (Egypt, Syria and Babylon) in ancient times. One of the cities situated on the Via Maris is Antipatris, who’s flagged Citadel we can make out on our left (west) and whose beginnings go back to the Canaanite kings. Antipatris lies at the source of the Yarkon-river.

Saint Paul traveled on this route and stopped over in Antipatris on his way from Jerusalem to Caesarea, our destination of today.

After the Kfar Saba-junction we can make out (on the right side of the highway) a domed ruin which is the tomb of a sheikh.

At 7.50am we arrive at the end of the highway (route 6) and turn into route 65 (westbound) towards Haifa and Hadera. 

On both sides of the road we see short bushes with white blossoms: the rotem (white broom).

As we approach Caesarea we see three huge chimneys ahead of us – the biggest structures in the Middle East: the power plant of Caesarea. Maybe city planners had in mind the great buildings that Herod the Great had built nearby….

The plant is powered by burning coal, but is built with the option to be powered by other commodities like oil. 

Before arriving in Caesarea we pass under route 2, the coastal highway, and drive through dunes and through the Neot-Caesarea-Golf-complex with its time-sharing apartments. To the right we see the golf course – the only 18-hole gold-course in Israel (next to a smaller 9-hole course in Gaash near Herzlia).

On the left is Kibbutz Sedot-Yam that has been founded in 1940. 

Around 8.30am we arrive at the national park of Caesarea at the entrance to the theatre. There are three different entries to the national park, this one – the entrance to the Roman Theatre – being the entrance where most groups start out because the Roman Theatre was crucial for spreading the Roman culture (further elaborations later).


Caesarea was excavated by several archaeologists between ca 1960 and 1979 (harbor and palace). The  two main archaeologists were Ehud Netzer and Lee I. Levine. The theater was completely uncovered by an Italian excavation team at Caesarea between 1959 and 1963Netzer returned to the site in 1990 and brought in a new American team led by Kathryn Gleason and Barbara Burrell under the auspices of the University of Pennsylvania. In 1960, off the coast of Israel, Edwin Link, working in conjunction with Professors Charles Fritsch and I. Ben-Dor, began the underwater excavation of Caesarea Maritima. In 1979 the Caesarea Ancient Harbour Excavation Project (CAHEP) was formed by the Center of Maritime Studies of the University of Haifa to complete the work started at Caesarea in 1960 by Edwin Link. Professors Elisha Linder and Avner Raban of Haifa University were instrumental in the creation of CAHEP, an international scholarly consortium.


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