Caesarea was the port and capital that Herod the Great built on the coast. It was located on the earlier Phoenecian seaport of Strato's Tower, but Herod built a whole new artificial tower and filled his new city, peopled mostly by Greek-speaking Gentiles, with all of the amenities of a Roman city of the day (see towards the end of this earlier post). Later, after Judea and Samaria were converted into a Roman province, the Roman governor had his headquarters here, so this is where Paul was brought to be tried before Felix and then Festus.
The first part of Caesarea that we looked at was the theater at the south end of the site. This was the first time that either Mother or Lindsay, or perhaps even Elaine, had been in a Roman theater. It was the first time for Samuel, too, so we occupied him by encouraging him to explore "secret passages." Rachel was not with us for this phase of the northern trip, because she had gone ahead to Galilee as part of a district youth conference.
|Samuel going down to his "secret passage"|
Next we walked through the archaeological garden into the area that was occupied by Herod's palace. This was built on two levels, both extending out into the sea. The upper tier consisted of the public and ceremonial rooms, while the lower, surrounded by the sea on three sides, comprised his luxurious private apartments.
|This audience chamber may well have been where the apostle Paul was tried|
|Samuel taking his turn helping Nana|
|Watching the waves|
|Splashed by the waves!|
|Samuel taking a turn in Nana's wheelchair|
|The remains of the large Herodian harbor|
|Within the smaller Crusader-era harbor|
|I clambered up into the water channel|
|the water channel at the top of the aqueduct|
By the time we had arrived in Nazareth it was time to lunch. Nazareth is the largest Arab city in Israel. Like Bethlehem, it was formerly a majority Christian town, though a continued influx of displaced people as now made both majority Muslim. But whereas Nazareth and Bethlehem were once very similar, the economic impact of the separation wall, as well as those opportunities afforded by being part of the larger Israeli society (not ignoring the social and other challenges faced by Israeli-Arabs), have made them very different now. Nazareth by comparison was quite prosperous, as we saw in the mall at the edge of town where we got . . . yes, wait for it . . . Kentucky Fried Chicken for lunch!
|A mall called "Big Fashion"|
|A fun thing about Nazareth was all the Christmas decorations|
|This meal was hard to order when no one spoke English and it was SO expensive, but it was worth it!|
I have blogged earlier about the sites at Nazareth, but it was exciting to have my family there to see them with me this time.
|Basilica of the Annunciation|
|The grotto or cave system under the Church of the Annunciation|
|Mother under the American Madonna|
|Closeup of the Nativity creche|
|The upper sanctuary|
|Church of St Joseph|
We then picked up Rachel in Nazaret Ilit, or "Upper Nazareth," and then drove on to En Gev, where we stayed for the next two nights.