Map of CaesareaLoad map
The coordinates shown for all tentative sites were produced as a community effort. They are not official and may change on inscription.
Caesarea was the very first site I visited on the private small-group tour I took in Israel, Jordan, and Palestine back in April-May of 2018. We drove north from Tel Aviv and had our National Park passes stamped for the first time out of many. The tour of the site started with a short film of the history of the city, which was remarkable to say the least. The site, being our first Roman ruin out of many, also seemed quite remarkable.
We toured the ancient theatre, through all the pedestals of Roman carvings found on site, which we would later find to be a staple in ruins in Israel, past my first public toilets which our guide sat on to demonstrate, and finally to the edge of the water where we saw the remains of the palace, now mostly underwater. A few scattered simple mosaics were still visible by the shore. It is said that the site extends far into the water, so much that there is an underwater park for all the remains there. From that viewpoint, ahead was the hippodrome and at the far end of the shore, the crusader fortress. A few kilometers' drive away, however, was the most unique part of the site, the aqueduct by the beach. Out of all the structures I saw, it appears the most authentic and interesting despite being outside the park boundaries.
After a few days, however, the impact of Caesarea greatly waned in the shadow of all the greater ruined sites of Israel we visited. On closer inspection, the theatre, the grandest monument in the national park, is actually heavily reconstructed, and even uses cement, resulting in a lack of authenticity. The rest of the site seems to lack a refined layout, maybe due to parts of the city being submerged. Based on everything I saw, the Caesarea of today just doesn't live up to the hype of its great history. It isn't anywhere close to the grandest, most beautiful, and especially best preserved of the countless Roman sites across the country.
Despite having lived in Caesarea for several years I see no reason to inscribe it. Bet Shean is a much more impressive Roman city in Israel and is on the T list as well. Caesarea's best feature is its aqueduct which is very nice to visit being located along the sea shore. It used to serve as the province's Capital and was the largest city in Israel at the time and a major sea port. Only a small part of what is known to have been its territory has been excavated though, so if excaviations continue its perspectives may change accordingly.
The Crusadean fortification are very impressive and merit a visit on their own right. This could also be an additional card to play when applying.
2000 Added to Tentative List
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