- The city originated as a Phoenician settlement in the 3rd or 4th century BC.
- It was inherited by Herod, who began rebuilding the city in 22 BC.
- The city was dedicated to the Roman emperor Augustus Caesar and was built to be the most grandiose city in his honor, daring to challenge nature’s heavy Mediterranean storms on the rocky seashore.
- The ancient harbor served as the second largest port in the known world, encompassing 40-acres and designed to accommodate 300 ships.
- The Promontory Palace served as a “magnificent palace” for Herod, jutting out into the waters with a nearly Olympic sized-pool filled with fresh water.
- An aqueduct brought fresh water to the city from springs at the base of Mount Carmel, some 10 miles away. The ruins of this ancient aqueduct are still prominent along the beach leading from the old city.
- Following Herod’s death, the city became the local Roman capital.
The ancient city of Caesarea holds significance in Christian history as a place of tremendously tragic and uplifting events.
- While it serves as both the location of the Holy Spirit’s outpouring on the Gentiles, it was also the place of torture and execution of tens of thousands of persecuted Christians.
- The first place that the New Testament identifies Caesarea is the home of Pontius Pilate, the Roman prefect from AD 26 to 36. In fact, in the ruins of the theater, one can find Pontius Pilate’s inscription in stone. 
- Caesarea was the place of the Apostle Paul’s imprisonment before his trip to Rome (Acts 23:35).
- It is the site of the first converted Gentile, a Roman centurion garrison, baptized by Peter (Act 10).
- During the growing tensions in the Roman Empire, a pagan sacrifice in front of the synagogue in Caesarea lead to massive protests. Later, Roman troops marched on Jerusalem, killing thousands of Jews throughout the Land.
- After the First Jewish Revolt (AD 66 to 70) against the Romans, tens of thousands of captives were executed in Caesarea’s amphitheater. 
- The arena continued to be a place of cruel entertainment as Jewish sages were tortured some 65 years later.
- In the aftermath of the Second Judean Revolt, many Jews were sold into slavery taking port in Caesarea and being dispersed all throughout the world, resulting in the Jewish exile that would last for nearly two-thousand years.
Middle Ages & Ottoman Period
- In 640 AD, the city was seized by Arabs.
- In 1101 the Crusaders took Caesarea after finding a relic they believed to be the Holy Grail. The green-glass bowl was believed to be the vessel from which Jesus drank at the Last Supper, and is now kept a the Cathedral of St. Lorenzo in Genoa.
- In 1251, King Louis IX of France captured the city, and during that year, he added most of the fortifications visible today.
- Only a decade later, the Mamluk sultan Beybars broke through the Crusader defenses and destroyed the city.
- From this point, the city remained deserted and became subject to the shifting sands blown in by the Mediterranean winds.
- More than 600 years later, groups of Bosnian refugees inhabited the area from 1878 until the Turks were driven out during the 1948 war.
- The rediscovery of Caesarea is due thanks to the establishment of the Kibbutz Sdot Yam. The ancient fortifications were found by farmers while tilling the land. Soon, archeologist followed, rewarding local children with sweets for finding valuable pieces.
The State of Israel
- Today, the foundations of Caesarea are open to the public for tours and leisure.
- Since the purchase of the land of Caesarea by Baron Rothschild in 1875, Caesarea remains to be the only city in Israel that is managed by a private organization, the Caesarea Development Corporation, rather than a municipality government.