Dana Friedlander / Israeli Ministry of Tourism
Caesarea, the city and harbor that Herod built, is now preserved as a national park. A walk along its pathways allows visitors to experience the city’s role as part of ancient Rome and its days during the Crusades in the Byzantine era. Check out a concert at the partially restored amphitheater, or dive in Caesarea’s sunken harbor and underwater archaelogical park. Ancient ruins, including the remains of Herod’s palace, sit along the coastline. A state-of-the-art visitor center offers a historical perspective, complete with famous figures presented as hologram tour guides: King Herod, Rabbi Akiva, the Apostle Paul, and Hannah Senesh. Right outside the park’s boundaries, find a modern city with restaurants, cafés, and some eclectic galleries selling wine, cheese, olive oil, and jewelry—plus a lovely stretch of Mediterranean beach.
The ancient city of Caesarea, which is located halfway between Haifa and Tel Aviv, was founded in 90 B.C.E. and has a wealth of history and archaeological ruins, most notably those that date from the Roman Empire. The impressive Roman aqueduct, hippodrome and theater were built by Herod the Great around 25 to 13 B.C.E., and they continue to leave visitors in awe 2,000 years later. Other notable ruins include remnants of the walls of a fortress built by an expedition of crusaders that included King Louis IX of France.