Caesarea was a planned city built by Herod the Great. The Romans had awarded the land to him in 30 B.C. After Caesarea was built, Herod ruled from there until he died. It was a large, beautiful port city overlooking the Mediterranean. The entire port sank into the sea long ago as a result of earthquakes and is now being excavated by underwater archeologists.
Caesarea became the headquarters of the Roman government in 6 B.C. Vespasian was declared Caesar here. It had all the amenities of a Roman city, including baths, a hippodrome seating 30,000 for chariot races, and the amphitheater in the photo above. The amphitheater was built to accommodate 4,000 spectators. It is the most ancient theater in Israel and it is still in use.
Caesarea is mentioned often in the book of Acts. Cornelius lived here (Acts 10:1), and Paul was imprisoned here (Acts 25:4). Caesarea Phillipi, mentioned in the Gospels, is a different place.
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