Caesarea, Some Rubby Fishing Village and Ma’agan Michael Kibbutz, Israel, January 10, 2023
No one new arrived in our room during the night and Paul from Germany, who is a light snorer, did not keep me up, nor did I wake him with my coffee making, shower and 7:30 departure.
I joined 3 others and we went to Caesarea which is a bunch of ruins but interesting all the same. Caesarea Maritima was built by Herrod the Great about 25-13 B.C. as a major port during the Roman Empire (37 B.C. - 324 A.D.). Later it was the capital of the Byzantine (324 - 638 A.D.) province of Palestine Prima. The Muslims (638 - 1099 A.D.) conquered in the 7th century and it was the last city to fall. People moved away but under the Crusaders (1099 - 1291 A.D.) it became a big port again. The Mamluks (1291-1561 A.D.) destroyed it but in 1884 Bosnian immigrants established a fishing village. It was attacked in 1948 then things calmed down and it became a National Park in 2011.
This was a “self guided tour” which means you walk around with a brochure that explains next to nothing, taking pictures of things you don’t have a clue about and try to feel like you’re getting something out of the $15 you paid to get in. Anyway…
There’s a great theatre with 2 seating areas. It can hold 4000 people. Towards the end of the Byzantine period it was converted into a castle and was deserted after the Arab conquest-
and next door is the amphitheater - the race track. The seven lap counter clockwise races thrilled the crowds especially because the turning points had sharp curves which posed a major challenge to the skilled charioteers and their horses. The location perfectly matches Flavius Josephus’s description (so it must be true) that the hippodrome was built for the inauguration of the city in 10/9 B.C. It was the venue for the Actian Games which were held every four years and instituted by King Herod to honour Emperor Augustus. It’s 250m long and 50m wide and could hold 10,000 spectators-
There were 12 rows of seating all the way around-
Remnants of six public bathhouses have been found. They had cold and hot running water (much better than many public bathrooms I’ve visited this trip), were a service for travellers, a prestigious thing to have in your city and a great place for socialization, naked socialization I guess-
The Caesarea Nymphaeum was the public fountain at the centre of town. It was decorative, provided water and was a gathering spot-
Carrying on… I came upon a Byzantine (313 - 636 A.D.) building with a marble floor-
There’s an aqueduct in the distance but time was up so I had to return to the bus-
We carried on to a fishing village but first we heard about its beginning from a descendant who only spoke Arabic and had to be translated. He would talk a couple of minutes and then the translator would talk about 30 seconds. He had a lot to say but she didn’t! Basically there were two families who settled in a swamp area just off the coast. No one in Israel owns any land; it is all leased so when a dam was built, their land flooded, a bunch of them got malaria and they moved to a smaller area closer to the sea and began a fishing village. They interbreed and have many children and now most of them are mentally handicapped. They are Indigenous and education has only recently become important. What is it with Indigenous people? Anyway … as they get better educated they will be able to rise out of poverty. The man who spoke Arabic has a guest house in hopes to bring tourists to the area. I felt sorry for him because he has a dream for a better life for his people. Good luck is all I can say.
The beach is all shells-
A fishing net-
I was thinking this tour was a waste of time and money but then we drove to the Ma’agan Michael Kibbutz which saved the day! The kibbutz is in the centre of the picture and all the fish pools are along the coast-
2000 people live here. They receive money every month - our guide is married and has twins so a family of 4 gets $4649. They live in their home for free and when they eat at the cafeteria-
People 70 get a scooter-