|Stone inscription labeling Pontius Pilate by name|
The first major site we visited after spending the night in Tel Aviv after our adventure on El Al airlines (that's a story for another blog entry in itself) was to the remains of the Port of Caesarea. This is not to be confused with Caesarea-Phillippi, which was a different city farther up the coast.
King Herod the Great got the idea of turning what had been a little fishing village into a massive shipping outpost and Roman city. To do this, he had to artificially create a deep sea harbor using massive sea retaining walls, which when finished was one of the truly great architectural feats of antiquity. It would have looked something like this in its heyday:
By the time of Jesus, it became the headquarters of Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of Palestine (See first picture above). He would travel to Jerusalem for various occasions, as in the events of Holy Week, but his home was in Caesarea.
Over the centuries, the massive port fell into ruin due largely to earthquakes and the natural deterioration of the concrete retaining walls. It has since been archaeologically restored. Here are the pictures I took of the site:
For fun, I am also including some panoramic shots I took of the area:
The is known as Herod's aqueduct, built very much in the Roman Style. It's quite large and the section would still largely function as an aqueduct if it was hooked up to a water source: