On Sunday of Chol Hamoed we took a trip up to this beautiful area of Israel. As many of you probably know, it's hard to go anywhere in this country without finding some remnant of an ancient era gone by, be it Roman, Crusader, Byzantine or Ottoman. But Caesarea is a real jewel among the ruins. Caesarea is the ancient port city built by King Herod (who has done alot of building around the Holy Land). He actually built a harbor from scratch. How he did it was an engineering marvel; I never can fathom how the people in ancient times built these huge projects without the benefit of modern technology.
Anyhow, it was a perfect day. We started the day off at the aqueducts. Caesarea had no rivers or springs, so drinking water for the Roman and Byzantine city was brought via an aqueduct from a spring in the north. (How did they know how to do that??) What remains of the aqueducts today is breathtakingly beautiful with a backdrop of the Mediterranean Ocean:
We went for a little walk on top of the aqueducts. It looked like a good idea at the time, but my fear of heights got the better of me and I quickly climbed back down to the sand:
I couldn't resist taking this photo of a man saying the afternoon prayers:
We spent a good deal of time climbing around the ancient ruins. We paid a bit extra to see a film first that told us exactly what we were looking at. This is what remains of a temple that Herod built to honor the king, Caesar. A few centuries later crusaders built a church on the site. Today, both are in ruins:
From a distance you can see what remains of the harbor in the water. Caesarea is popular with scuba divers who explore the underwater ruins. Here's what's left of Herod's harbor, that isn't under water:
And here's a very authentic Roman trying to contact the Caesar himself via cell phone. I told you those ancients were amazing! (This particular Roman was the subject of much speculation about--well never mind.):
I'm sure you all must have seen your kids holding up their phones or cameras to take self-portraits. Teens do this all the time. They take pictures of themselves in groups, then look at the pictures and break into hysterical laughter. My teen took one with me (of course this has nothing to do with Caesarea, we just took the photo on its beach):
We also took pictures of me with a giant, naked green statue (Was that supposed to be Herod? It it was, I guess he thought much of himself). And no, I won't be posting that picture on the internet.
The weather was perfect--comfortable and breezy. This place is so beautifully maintained and easily accessible. We could have spent hours more there wandering around the ruins, but the sun began to set and we knew it was time to head home:
The perfect end to a perfect day.
The Stuff That Lasts, Part Deux
5 weeks ago