At a recent press conference of the Edmond de Rothschild Foundation, Israel Antiquities Authority, Caesarea Development Corporation and Israel Nature and Parks Authority it was announced that an unparalleled renewal project would be undertaken with the aim of upgrading this popular tourist destination and exposing the hidden treasures of the ancient Port City, situated on the coastal plain midway between Tel Aviv and Haifa.
After the establishment of Caesarea (also called Caesarea Maritima) about 2030 years ago it became one of the major cities during the Roman and Byzantine Empires. Excavations that have been conducted at the site by and on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority have exposed remains ranging in date from the time of Herod up until the Crusader period.
Director General Shaul Goldstein of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority announced that the project would renovate sites, including an ancient Second Temple-period synagogue that was associated with Rabbi Akiva, one of the 10 outstanding Jewish sages who were murdered by the Romans.
It was also announced that a number of archeological discoveries have recently been uncovered that are now open for visits by the public such as the altar of a temple built by King Herod to honor Emperor Augustus and the goddess Roma, and mentioned in the writings of Josephus Flavius which is next to the synagogue of Caesarea.
This unprecedented renewal project will be one of the most important and largest conservation projects ever undertaken in Israel and upon completion, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority together with the Caesarea Development Corporation will construct a contemporary Visitors Center as well as an attractive promenade beginning at the ancient Aqueduct and connecting to the promenade of ancient Caesarea.
The Israel Antiquities Authority director Israel Hasson stated that “the joint project is meant to expose, conserve and make use of Caesarea’s secrets for the enjoyment of the general public.” Hopefully the vision of 3 million tourists in Caesarea by the year 2030 will be realized which will benefit the residents of the region.
A public fountain (nymphaeum) from the Roman period. Photographic credit: Yoli Shwartz, Israel Antiquities Authority.
The beginning of conservation work on the vaults at the front of the temple platform that Herod built in honor of Emperor Augustus and the goddess Roma.
Conservation work and reinforcement of the vaults at the front of the temple platform that Herod built in honor of Emperor Augustus and the goddess Roma.
The small tablet engraved with a seven-branched menorah and a coal pan. Photographic credit: Clara Amit, Israel Antiquities Authority.
The altar that Herod built in honor of Emperor Augustus and the goddess Roma at the front of the temple. Photographic credit: Griffin Aerial Photography.
Volunteers participating in the excavation and conservation work in the Caesarea project. In the picture: Architecture students from the Tel Aviv University. Photographic credit: Yoli Shwartz, Israel Antiquities Authority.
The Crusader market. Photographic credit: Assaf Peretz, Israel Antiquities Authority.