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Monday, 23 March 2015

Caesarea - Tour of Ancient world

Name:    Caesarea
Continent:    MIDDLE-EAST
Alt Name:    Caesarea Maritima
Country:    Israel
Period:    Ancient Rome
Sub-Region:    -
Date:    100BC - 1BC
City/Town:    Sdot Yam
Figure:     -
Resorts:    Sdot Yam, Hadera,



Caesarea history
Caesarea or “Keysarya” was an Ancient Roman city which is now a large archaeological site in Israel. It is believed that the city of Caesarea was initially founded atop the ruins of Straton's Tower, a third century BC Phoenician port city.
Conquered by King Alexander Jannaeus of the Hasmonean Kingdom in 90 BC, Caesarea’s population remained under local control until it was taken by the Romans in 63 BC. It was King Herod the Great who named the city Caesarea – after Augustus Caesar - and who endowed it with the majority of its great public buildings, infrastructure and monuments from 22 BC. Caesarea became a thriving commercial hub which hosted sporting events and which flourished further under the Byzantines. It was conquered by Crusaders in the eleventh century and its Crusader defences were erected in 1251 under French King Louis IX.
Today, Caesarea offers so much to see, including a large amphitheatre overlooking the ocean and an extensive labyrinth of ruins. Some of the most imposing remains at Caesarea are its Crusader fortifications.
Nearby, visitors can also explore the stunning remains of the Caesarea Aqueduct. Unless willing to hike for quite a while, it’s best to drive to this site. Overall, a trip to Caesarea can last anywhere from one to three hours and makes for a truly excellent day out. This site also features as one of our Top Ten Tourist Attractions in Israel.

Modern town of Caesarea

Caesarea (Hebrew: קֵיסָרְיָה; Arabic: قيسارية‎, Qaysaria; Greek: Καισάρεια) is a town in Israel located mid-way between Tel Aviv and Haifa (45 km), on the Israeli coastal plain near the city of Hadera. Modern Caesarea as of December 2007 had a population of 4,500 people. It is the only Israeli locality managed by a private organization, the Caesarea Development Corporation, and also one of the most populous localities not recognized as a local council. It lies under the jurisdiction of the Hof HaCarmel Regional Council.
The town was built by Herod the Great about 25–13 BCE as the port city Caesarea Maritima. It served as an administrative center of Judaea Province of the Roman Empire, and later the capital of the Byzantine Palaestina Prima province during the classic period. Following the Muslim conquest in the 7th century, the city had an Arab majority until Crusader renovation, but was again abandoned after the Mamluk conquest. It was populated in 1884 by Bosniak immigrants, who settled in a small fishing village. In 1940, kibbutz Sdot Yam was established next to the village. In February 1948 the village was conquered by a Palmach unit commanded by Yitzhak Rabin, its people already having fled following an attack by the Stern Gang. In 1952, a Jewish town of Caesarea was established near the ruins of the old city, which were made into the national park of Caesarea Maritima.

 A portion of the Crusader walls and moat still standing today

 The Bosnian Mosque at Qisarya

 Dan Hotel

 Caesarea aqueduct

 Caesarea school

 The Ralli Museum in Caesarea

The Roman theatre
History

Antiquity
Caesarea is believed to have been built on the ruins of Stratonospyrgos (Straton's Tower), founded by Straton I of Sidon, and was likely an agricultural storehouse in its earliest configuration. In 90 BCE, Alexander Jannaeus captured Straton's Tower as part of his policy of developing the shipbuilding industry and enlarging the Hasmonean kingdom. Straton's Tower remained a Jewish city for two generations, until the area became dominated by the Roman in 63 BCE, when the Romans declared it an autonomous city. The pagan city underwent vast changes under Herod the Great, who renamed it Caesarea in honor of the Roman emperor, Caesar Augustus.
In 22 BCE, Herod began construction of a deep sea harbor and built storerooms, markets, wide roads, baths, temples to Rome and Augustus, and imposing public buildings. Every five years the city hosted major sports competitions, gladiator games, and theatrical productions in its theatre overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.
Caesarea also flourished during the Byzantine period. In the 3rd century, Jewish sages exempted the city from Jewish law, or Halakha, as by this time the majority of the inhabitants were non-Jewish. The city was chiefly a commercial centre relying on trade.

Middle Ages
The area was only seriously farmed during the Rashidun Caliphate period, apparently until the Crusader conquest in the eleventh century. Over time, the farms were buried under the sands shifting along the shores of the Mediterranean.
According to Andrew Petersen, a Great Mosque was seen there in 439 A.H. (1047 C.E.) by Nasir-i-Khusraw. This was converted into the church of St. Peter in Crusader times. A wall which may belong to this building has been identified in modern times.
In 1251, Louis IX of France fortified the city, ordering the construction of high walls (parts of which are still standing) and a deep moat. However, strong walls could not keep out the sultan Baybars, who ordered his troops to scale the walls in several places simultaneously, enabling them to penetrate the city. During the Mamluk era, the ruins of Caesarea Maritima by the Crusader fortress near Caesarea on the Mediterranean coast lay uninhabited.

Ottoman period
In 1664, a settlement is mentioned consisting of 100 Moroccan families, and 7–8 Jewish ones. In the 18th century it again declined.
In 1806, the German explorer Seetzen saw "Káisserérie" as a ruin occupied by some poor fishermen and their families.
Caesarea lay in ruins until the nineteenth century, when the village of Qisarya (Arabic: قيسارية‎, the Arabic name for Caesarea) was established in 1884 by Bushnaks (Bosniaks) – immigrants from Bosnia, who built a small fishing village on the ruins of the Crusader fortress on the coast.
Petersen, visiting the place in 1992, writes that the nineteenth-century houses were built in blocks, generally one story high (with the exception of the house of the governor.) Some houses on the western side of the village, near the sea, have survived. There were a number of mosques in the village in the nineteenth century, but only one ("The Bosnian mosque") has survived. This mosque, located at the southern end of the city, next to the harbour, is described as a simple stone building with a red-tiled roof and a cylindrical minaret. It was used (in 1992) as a restaurant and as a gift shop.

British Mandate
The Jewish kibbutz of Sdot Yam was established 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) south of the Arab town in 1940. The Arab village declined in economic importance and many of Qisarya's Arab inhabitants left in the mid-1940s, when the British extended the Palestine Railways which bypassed the shallow-draft port. Qisarya had a population of 960 in 1945, with Qisarya's population composition 930 Muslims and 30 Christians in 1945. In 1944/45 a total of 18 dunums of Arab village land was used for citrus and bananas, 1,020 dunums were used for cereals, while 108 dunums were irrigated or used for orchards.
The Civil War began on 30 November 1947. In December 1947 a village notable Tawfiq Kadkuda approached local Jews in an effort to establish a non-belligerency agreement. The 31 January 1948 Stern Gang attack on a bus leaving Qisarya, killed 2 and injuring 6 people, precipitated an evacuation of most of the population, who fled to nearby al-Tantura. The Haganah then occupied the village because the land was owned by Palestine Jewish Colonization Association, but, fearing that the British would force them to leave, decided to demolish the houses. This was done on February 19–20, after the remaining residents were expelled and the houses were looted. According to Benny Morris, the expulsion of the population had more to do with illegal Jewish immigration than the ongoing civil war. In the same month the 'Arab al Sufsafi and Saidun Bedouin, who inhabited the dunes between Qisarya and Pardes left the area. Palestinian historian Walid Khalidi described the village remains in 1992: "Most of the houses have been demolished. The site has been excavated in recent years, largely by Italian, American, and Israeli teams, and turned into a tourist area. Most of the few remaining houses are now restaurants, and the village mosque has been converted into a bar."

State of Israel
After the establishment of the state, the Rothschild family agreed to transfer most of its land holdings to the new state. A different arrangement was reached for the 35,000 dunams of land the family owned in and around modern Caesarea: after turning over the land to the state, it was leased back (for a period of 200 years) to a new charitable foundation. In his will, Edmond James de Rothschild stipulated that this foundation would further education, arts and culture, and welfare in Israel. The Caesarea Edmond Benjamin de Rothschild Foundation was formed and run based on the funds generated by the sale of Caesarea land which the Foundation is responsible for maintaining. The Foundation is owned half by the Rothschild Family, and half by the State of Israel.
The Foundation established the Caesarea Edmond Benjamin de Rothschild Development Corporation Ltd. (CDC) in 1952 to act as its operations arm. The company transfers all profits from the development of Caesarea to the Foundation, which in turn contributes to organizations that advance higher education and culture across Israel.

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