This is part 4 of a one day site seeing visit to northern Israel (in the case you have missed part 1 – 3 here are the other parts)
- Weekend and Work Travel (Part 1)
- Weekend and Work Travel (Part 2 – Haifa)
- Weekend and Work Travel (Part 3 – Acre)
After writing up all of this into blog posts and trying to only post a small subset of the large set of photos (about 600) I am realizing how much I was actually able to see in just one day. (This is probably the huge advantage of visiting a small country so rich in history) I hope you have enjoyed these “touristy” pictures…because I really enjoyed being the “tourist”.
Let’s finish all of this with Caesarea… a city that was built by Herod in 22-10 B.C. Herod named both the city and the harbor after Caesar Augustus… (The port was named Sebastos which is Caesar in Greek).
The first place we visited was the theater. I was surprised to learn that it is still actually being used for plays and concerts. They have resurfaced the top of the seats but the rest is “kind of” in its original state. I am trying to imagine going to a concert or play and on the way in passing actual antiquities. You enter by a Vomitorium which is not what it sounds like… that is just what they called the entrances or exits. I can’t imagine sitting in a theatre that dates back to such ancient times… very cool!
Behind the theater is what I am going to call a “column graveyard”. I am hoping that this is their way of showing what has been excavated and not the result of some out of hand rock concert in the theater.
My favorite column top… The “sad lion” column. (not sure where this one fits in the classical Greek orders… Doric, Ionic, Corinthian… but it is my favorite). Next we move to Herod’s palace. He placed it between the theater and the hippodrome… (Entertainment is important for men…kind of like have to big screen TVs on each side of his house). There is not much left of his palace. The materials were recycled into other buildings during later times.
On the plane ride over to Israel I watched Ben-Hur… so when I saw a hippodrome before me that movi’es chariot races came to my mind and I walked through augmenting all that I was seeing with what I had seen in the movie. I would love to see an actual chariot race. (I wonder if there was as much death and maiming in the real races)
This last picture you can see the starting gates behind a statue that loosely resembles a chariot being pulled by three horses… (I can only imagine bringing someone back from that time and them saying what the heck is that…) There was something also interesting about this hippodrome. This hippodrome was covered over with pottery and rubble and another much larger one was built just a little more inland. The excavators left a small square so you can see what they had to remove.
Next… the port… This port was almost completely washed away so you are only able to see what remains on the south side along with a crusaders tower. I think that tower use to be a light house and was changed to be a fort by reinforcing it with parts of the surrounding buildings. If you look closely at the picture (the building with the green naked guy in front of a building) you will see columns laid down in the walls.. .I imagine this was done to add strength.
They were actively excavating the port’s vaults… (….little shovels and dust brushes) I wanted to stay and watch the process but I was on a “whirlwind” tour… and well they were not doing very much at all.
Here is the Nymphaeum… hadn’t heard of that word… so in my mind this was a small pool “stocked” with very pretty naked women… I am sure I have to be somewhat correct right?
This outer wall is the last picture I will be sharing on Caesarea. This is where I caught the bus and headed off for the other locations I visited. This is also the last post of my “site seeing” day… I will have one more general post on Israel with my kind of pictures. (you know the weird ones)