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Day trip to Caesarea National Park in Israel

On the first day of Chol HaMoed Passover, we decided to visit the Caesarea National Park in Israel. Despite the expected load, we decided that since this is a large area, it will not interfere with our visit.

We started the visit at the Roman theater that people mistakenly call it an amphitheater, but an amphitheater is a round structure like the Colosseum in Rome while the theater is half circle.

We sat on the seats of the theater built by Herod in the last decade BCE, as a large port city named after Julius Caesar whose under Herod tutelage. Although the theater is not as large as the Colosseum and has only 6,000 seats, it is well maintained and undergoing regular maintenance because it is one of the most prestigious live performances in Israel.

From here we continued toward the remains of Herod's magnificent palace built on a reef that protruded into the sea. After his death in 4 BCE the palace served as the city's governors.

This site is well preserved remains of the mosaic floor in the geometric. After descending to the beach along with Noa and Roy that was searching and founded a beautiful shell then we continued walking along the Boardwalk, On the other side of the sea, the waves hit hard and splashed cool water, and on the other side the hippodrome, which served as a racing arena and chariot, as an arena for athletics competitions, and a scene of struggle between slaves and animals, As is customary in Roman culture. On the day of the visit, as in the days of Passover, there is a horse racing and chariots as restoration of the Roman period, when hundreds of spectators sat on the stone seats of the Roman period.

Although the blazing sun, we decided not to give up a visit to the remains of the magnificent Roman temple built in honor of Emperor Augustus of white marble. Other remains from the Byzantine period were found near the temple, among them the remains of the bathhouse. Before entering the bathhouse, the bathers entered the Falastra where they practiced as part of the body cult that characterized the Hellenistic culture and after bathing they returned to it again for a massage.

From here we continued to the northern area of Caesarea, an area that includes several souvenir shops, galleries, food stalls and a cafe that we used to break for cold coffee, ice cream and good pralines. After a refreshing break we watched the ancient port built by Herod, one of the largest construction projects of antiquity. In the absence of a natural bay, Herod built a giant artificial breakwater that would allow the ships to dock in the thriving port city he built. The breakwater was built from huge wooden boxes that were brought into the sea, and volcanic ash was deposited in the water, which was hardened to the level of reinforced concrete. The boxes sank with the hardened ash and formed a firm and strong foundation for building the harbor in the water. Over the years the port was destroyed by earthquakes that hit the country and today it is possible to visit its remains by diving in the Caesarea Marine Archaeological Park.

Near the port are remnants of the village buildings that the Ottomans built for Muslim Bosnian refugees who were absorbed by the Ottoman Empire at the end of the 19th century and settled in Caesarea, which was the Ottoman administrative center on the coastal plain that was at the time one of the most neglected areas in the Land of Israel. From here we went on to the audiovisual display that presents the story of Caesarea throughout the ages, including its being an important Jewish center in the Roman period, until the systematic destruction of Caesarea by the Mamluks who conquered the Land of Israel from the Crusaders. The most prominent remains of Crusader Caesarea are the northern entrance gate of Caesarea, which was almost entirely intact from the Crusader period and the remains of the impressive moat that surrounded the northern area of Crusader Caesarea.

After the visit to Caesarea, we stopped by the aqueduct, Herod's impressive waterway to transfer water from the springs of the Taninim River to Caesarea. after that rove to Noa's request throughout the prestigious settlement and continued on our way to the north of Israel.

By Maayan Hess Ashkenazi


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