Caesarea

Impressive architecture, great beaches, and romantic vibes, in the charming old town of Caesarea, the ancient, luxurious Roman city.
Ceasaria Old City, Norhtern Israel

Caesarea: An old Roman city by the beach

Built during the Roman rule, more than 2,000 years ago, the magnificent city of Caesarea features numerous attractions and sites to see. With a large amphitheater, impressive walls, and countless stories from the past, with the eternal sound of the crashing waves in the background, Caesarea is truly a site to marvel at.
The theater, sea view, Caesarea
Diving in Caesarea
Bird mosaic in Caesarea park

Located on the Mediterranean Coast, right between Haifa and Tel Aviv, is the historical Roman city of Caesarea. As a site with tremendous archaeological findings, fascinating stories, and peaceful beaches, a visit to Caesarea is a great experience for history and sea lovers alike.

The history of Caesarea

The city was first established as a small Phoenician anchorage. In 90 BC, the small town was conquered and annexed to the Hasmonean kingdom.
In 31 BC, after winning the Battle of Actium, the Roman Emperor Augustus gave the settlement, along with the entire coastline of the Land of Israel, as a gift to Herod.

Between the years 10-22 BC, Herod established a port of enormous dimensions in Caesarea. The port served as an operational, logistical, and economic transportation solution from Acre City. In addition to building the port, Herod had immensely developed the small town, which was carefully planned and built according to Roman architectural principles. He named the city Caesarea after Emperor Augustus and filled it with temples, magnificent public buildings, and amusement facilities in the spirit of Roman culture, including a theater, a hippodrome, and more.

Caesarea was indeed built magnificently, which is very easy to see this during a tour of its antiquities. During the Roman period, Caesarea was the largest city in the country, the seat of the Roman commissioner and the Roman garrison. It was inhabited by a mixed population of Jews, Samaritans, and Gentiles, and conflicts often broke out between them. One of these conflicts, in 66 AD, regarding the right to pass near a synagogue, was the reason for the outbreak of the Great Rebellion. After the revolt and the destruction of the Second Temple, Caesarea became the capital of the Roman province of Judea.

Caesarea also played a major role in the growth of Christianity, as it was a major city in the Byzantine period, with about 100,000 residents. According to some parts of Christianity, the first gentile, Cornelius, was converted to Christianity in Caesarea.

Today, the modern Caesarea is a small town with a population of about 6,000 people.

Best sites to see in Caesarea National Park

During a short walk on an accessible path, you can tour most of the major places to visit in Caesarea National Park. Here are the park’s major attractions.

The theater

The theater was built in Herod’s time and was active for hundreds of years.
It has two stands and it contained about 4,000 seats
At the end of the Byzantine period, the place became a citadel, which was abandoned after the Arab conquest. This is the earliest theater discovered in Israel.

The theater, Caesarea

The Ancient Caesarea Port

In the days of his rule over Caesarea, Herod has built a large port that included an outer anchorage with a breakwater at a length of about 400 meters, an inner anchorage, and a dock.
In the Roman period, the breakwater sank and was destroyed.
Years later, during the reign of Emperor Anastasius (491-518 AD), the port was renovated.
After the Arab occupation, the port was neglected and closed.

Today the port has undergone a massive renovation, and a variety of restaurants and cafes have opened on the platform. It is highly recommended to sit here and enjoy the local restaurants, which are known for their high-quality fish.

The Ancient Caesarea Port

The Hippodrome

A public amusement facility with about 10,000 seats. The Roman Hippodrome has hosted Athletic competitions, gladiator fights, and horse and chariot races in the spirit of Roman culture. The length of the arena is more than 250 meters and its width is about 50 meters.

The Hippodrome, Caesarea

Places to visit near Caesarea’s old city

Caesarea Aqueduct Beach

The Caesarea Aqueduct is an ancient aqueduct built by Herod, in order to transport water to the city of Caesarea. In the past, transferring water was carried out by building aqueducts that were higher than the destination they were supposed to reach. This was meant to take advantage of the height differences and make the water flow with good pressure to their destination. Herod, as is known, was a gifted architect. He built this beautiful tall aqueduct with many stone arches, which carried water from the Binyamina area from the nearby springs to the city of Caesarea.

The aqueduct is adjacent to a beach called “The Arches Beach”. Although this is an unofficial beach, with no lifrguard, it is a very popular beach among the locals, who love to find shelter from the sun under the stone arches.

Caesarea Aqueduct Beach

Ralli Museum

The unique museum located in the heart of modern Caesarea in a beautiful building in Spanish style, is dedicated to contemporary Latin American art pieces, from the collections of Harry Recanati. The museum presents a permanent exhibition and a variety of changing exhibitions.

Opening Hours
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday 15:00 – 10:30

The entrance is free

Opening hours

Summertime – every day except Friday: 8:00-17:00. Fridays and holidays: 8:00-16:00.

Wintertime – every day except Friday: 8:00-16:00. Fridays and holidays: 8:00-15:00.

Parking and transportation

There is a spacious, free parking lot just outside Caesarea National Park

Accessibility arrangements

  • All sites inside Caesarea National Park are wheelchair-accessible.

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