A visit to Caesarea during your Christian tour to Israel is programmed in your tour itinerary. A tour through this ancient port city, and Caesarea’s antiquities park is like walking through a story that spans history between the Old and New Testament.
Built by the Roman Empire and Herod the Great, the name of Cesarea derives from the Roman Emperor Caesar Augustus, which in the New Testament is the Emperor according to the Gospel of Luke, who orders a census making Joseph and Mary (pregnant with Jesus), travel on a long journey from Nazareth to the Kingdom of Judea in Bethlehem.
Besides the presence of Caesarea in Jesus times, the city is featured throughout the New Testament in the lives of St. Peter and Paul. Its in Caesarea where St. Peter baptizes the first man that is not a Jew, the Roman Officer Cornelius, and it is from Caesarea where the message of the Lord is first introduced to the Gentiles. Here in Caesarea, Paul was captured and imprisoned by the Romans, and after two years in prison he sails from Caesarea to his country Tarsus. Paul makes many more visits to Caesarea during his mission in the early Christian church. Also, Philip the Apostle lives in Caesarea, and is a follower of Jesus from this very city.
Caesarea’s antiquities park is perhaps Israel’s most important national treasures, with archaeological excavations and buildings from different periods, and Caesarea bears witness to many battles in its long history of 2,300 years. Here you will find remains from the 3rd century BC to the Crusader period in the 12th century, when Caesarea was a major port and for many years the countries capital. Caesarea was a gift to King Herod by Augustus Caesar and is named after Caesar. Herod built a massive port alongside entertainment facilities, bath-houses and pagan temples. In the Byzantine period, Caesarea became an important Christian center. Many early Christians lived here including Origen and Eusebius, and it was here where the first idol worshiper was converted - the Roman centurion Cornelius. In the Crusader period the city was fortified with walls and gates, which are still visible today.
Alongside all the ruins which include a beautiful Roman Theater, towers, castle and temple ruins, and a large hippodrome to race horses you will find during your holy land trip to Caesarea modern cafes, quaint restaurants, along gorgeous sandy beaches and crystal blue waters for your enjoyment during your visit to Caesarea.