“This magnificent city, built by Herod the Great on the site of Strato’s Tower, stood on the Mediterranean shore 37 kilometres south of Mount Carmel and about 100 kilometres north-west of Jerusalem. Named in honour of the Roman emperor Caesar Augustus, it was the Roman metropolis of Judaea and the official residence both of the Herodian kings and the Roman procurators.” (Baker Encyclopedia of Bible Places, page 74).
The beautiful city of Caesarea was a very important place during New Testament times. The city stood on a busy caravan trade route between Tyre and Egypt. Though the city had no natural harbor, it nevertheless was a center for maritime trade as well. Herod the Great, when he constructed the city, built a remarkable “artificial” harbor to protect boats from stormy seas. The elaborate structure was built with materials that call to mind the concrete of our day. Volcanic ash was the major ingredient of the building material, and it proved itself to be remarkably resiliant. In fact, the walls remain to this day, though the remnant is below the level of the water, and is difficult to see from shore. Herod was a prolific builder, and the construction he mandated was characterized by the grandeur and beauty of Hellenistic influences. Continue reading » Caesarea