the Ancient City of Caesarea- Day 2

Holy cow, where has August gone!?!  I thought life was gonna slow down when we got back from all our travels.  Boy, was I wrong.  August has been filled with lots of overtime at work (the day we got back into town from our trip to the Bahamas, I started what turned into a 60-hour work week!), lots of visits to student health to get shots and paperwork for grad school, registering for grad school, re-organizing our life to adjust from being out of the country for half of July, and then coping with the death of a dear college friend.  It’s been a rough few weeks, I can assure you.  It didn’t help that mine and Greg’s schedule could not have been more opposite over the past several weeks.  Not only was I working my butt off (on night shift still, which meant we weren’t even sleeping in bed together half the time), Greg had to go out of town twice in the 2 weeks after we got back from vacation.  So the days I WAS home and off from work, happened to be the days he was out of town for work.  I’m pretty sure for 2 straight weeks, I didn’t see him for more than 30 mins at a time.  Let me tell you…it sucked BIG TIME!!!  I literally had a meltdown eventually.  Luckily, we’ve had a night or 2 since then that we’ve gotten to hang out, and we even squeezed in a date night one of those nights.  But he’s still been out of town 2 more times, and then I’ll be out of town next weekend for my friend’s funeral.  I CANNOT EXPRESS HOW READY I AM FOR OUR LIVES TO SLOW DOWN AND TAKE A BREAK!  Sigh.

So.  That’s how things are going over here 😉  Man, I have SO many things to catch up on in this world of blogging!  First things first though, I’ve got to get my Israel posts done!  So let’s do this….  on to Caesarea!

Monday, July 15, 2013

When we last left off, we had just been to the Aqueducts along the Mediterranean Sea coast. We left there and went to Caesarea.  Now, let me try to give you a SUPER brief history and highlights of the ancient city of Caesarea.

Around 25-10 BC: Herod the Great built the city and harbor and called it Caesarea, in honor of the Roman emperor, Caesar Augustus.  For hundreds of years it thrived as an administrative capital, trade city and prominent sea-port for ancient Judea.

Pontius Pilate ruled Judea from Caesarea from about 25-35 AD.  Of course we know Pilate as the ruler during the time of Jesus’ crucifixion, which means Jesus would have come to Caesarea for his trail before Pilate.

We learn in the book of Acts that the apostle Paul was imprisoned at Caesarea at one time.

Over the centuries of it’s existence, Caesarea has fallen captive to many different empires who conquered and rebuilt portions of the city over time.  Not only that, but many earthquakes and hurricanes have changed the landscape of the great city over the course of time.  To give you an idea of the changes, here is a look at what the ancient city of Caesarea looked like in it’s early years.Caesarea2caesarea4

And then here are some arial shots of the city today…caesarea3caesarea5

Quite a difference, huh?  Now let’s take a look at what we saw!  First, we entered the city and began by touring the theatre.  The only remains that are original is the first layer of stadium seats.  The rest has been reconstructed from rubble and excavated stones to recreate what the original theatre probably looked like.

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As we exited the theatre area, we walked towards the coast into the area that would have been the palace.  There was a courtyard area here, along with remains of beautiful tile mosaics that I’m guessing were palace floors thousands of years ago.  Although now, much of the structures are gone, and only some of the flooring remains, and even that is partially underwater.July15 (88) July15 (89) July15 (95)July15 (90) July15 (92) July15 (93) July15 (94)July15 (99) July15 (100) July15 (103)July15 (97) July15 (101)

This stone was discovered in Caesarea and has this inscription carved into it: (Po)ntius Pilatus, the prefect of Judea, (erected) a (building dedicated) to (the emperor) Tiberius.”  It is written in Latin, which indicates strong Romanization during this period.  For those of us who believe in the truth of the Bible, it further gives historical proof to the validity of the Word of God.

During Roman reign, the city was also a great entertainment district.  Gladiator games, chariot races, and large sporting and theatrical events took place in the thriving city.  Below is the area of the city called the “hippodrome” where many of these sporting events would have taken place.  Can’t you just picture horse and chariots whipping around that dirt track in front of hundreds of spectators?  Hercules, anyone?July15 (108) July15 (119) July15 (104) July15 (106)July15 (130) July15 (127)July15 (134) July15 (135)

Well that wraps up our first 2 days of touring!  Can you believe we did ALL THAT in 2 days?  After Caesarea, we loaded the bus and headed to Petah Tikva to the Baptist Village where we would be spending the next 4 days of the trip working at the kids camp and helping prepare for the Jewish Olympics!