On day three (June 12) we hit the ground running. After an early breakfast, we boarded the bus with all our luggage and were on the road by 8:00 a.m.
Our first stop was Caesarea Maritima (or Caesarea by the Sea—a port built by Herod). As our itinerary explained:
“Here Pontius Pilate had his base, Cornelius lived and was baptized (Acts 10), from where Paul embarked to Tarsus (Acts 9:30) and where Philip preached (Acts 8:40).
Our guide began by schooling us in the art of choosing a city site. A good ancient city site needed four things: 1] water; 2] protection from enemies (e.g. elevation so enemies could be seen); 3] access to transportation (near the road system); 4] nearness to arable land to provide food.
Caesarea ticked none of these boxes yet Herod built a thriving city at this site on the Mediterranean.
We saw many ruins. There was a theatre, which has been revamped for current-day use.
There were capitals and pillars, and a stone on which Pontius Pilate’s name was engraved.
There were hippodrome ruins (site of sports like chariot races) with its arched areas of exit (vomitoria).
We walked to the port site, where informational signs explained a bit about the harbour.
I snapped a Caesarea Nymphaeum.
We walked through some of the ruins of the Crusader City (a section rebuilt centuries after Caesarea Port was first built) and saw the moat that apparently never held any water.
On the drive away from Caesarea by the Sea, we stopped briefly at the aqueduct—a raised structure which carried water from springs 10 Km. distant to the city of Caesarea when city wells could no longer supply the city’s water needs.