The Ruins of Caesarea Maritima | Israel

Before proceeding to Mount Carmel in the city of Haifa, we made a pit-stop at the ruins of an ancient city founded by Herod the Great in 25 BCE. The Caesarea Maritima is an ancient city situated on the coast of Mediterranean Sea on the edge of Sharon Plain. Despite being flattened by passage of time with scattered ruins today, this old city formerly known as Strato's Tower, still abounds with historical remnants of a glorious past.

Caesarea Maritima

Caesarea Maritima flourished as a major port city during the height of the Roman Empire. After Herod's death, it started to witness a tumultuous period before seeing a rebirth during the Byzantine period. In the middle ages, the city of Caesarea was conquered by Muslim invaders and became under the Rashidun Caliphate until the Crusaders liberated the city in the 11th century.

Caesarea Maritima
Me, posing beside the ruins of the Roman double aqueduct
In the aftermath of the First Crusade, the city was declared as a lordship within the Kingdom of Jerusalem before Saladid—the first sultan of Syria and Egypt and the founder of the Ayyubid Dynasty—briefly recaptured it as a Muslim city in 1187.

Caesarea Maritima
Standing on the grounds of the Herodian hippodrome
The Third Crusade of 1191 took control of the city back to the hands of the Crusaders. Eventually, Caesarea succumbed to Mamluk warriors of Sultan Baibars—the fourth Sultan of Egypt—in 1265.

In the ensuing centuries, Caesarea became part of the Ottoman Empire (1516) before being deserted in ruins for many years before immigrants from Bosnia called the Bushnaks, settled here in 1884.

Roman double aqueduct was used to bring water from the foot of Mt. Carmel to Caesarea

In 1961, the Pilate Stone, the "only archaeological item that mentions the Roman prefect Pontius Pilate, by whose order Jesus was crucified" was discovered in this ancient city.

Today, a great deal of ruins still stands over the old site of the ancient city of Caesarea—adjacent to the modern town inhabited by more than 4,000 people.