This guide goes over attractions in Caesarea (Caesarea National Park, Ralli Museum, and Aqueduct Beach) and answers common questions.
Table of Contents
- 1 Caesarea
- 2 Map
- 3 Directions
- 4 What is The Meaning of Caesarea?
- 5 Caesarea in the Bible
- 6 Attractions in Caesarea
- 7 Caesarea National Park
- 8 Ralli Museum
- 9 Aqueduct Beach
- 10 Birds Mosaic
- 11 Where is the Ancient City of Caesarea?
- 12 Where is Modern Day Caesarea?
- 13 Is Caesarea worth visiting?
- 14 Was Caesarea in Rome?
- 15 How Much Time to Spend in Caesarea?
- 16 Where to Stay?
- 17 Are Caesarea and Caesarea Philippi the same?
- 18 Where is Caesarea Philippi Located?
- 19 Is Caesarea in Jerusalem?
Caesarea is a town in north-central Israel, which inherits its name and much of its territory from the ancient city of Caesarea Maritima. Located midway between Tel Aviv and Haifa on the coastal plain near the city of Hadera, it falls under the jurisdiction of Hof HaCarmel Regional Council. With a population of 5,127, it is the only Israeli locality managed by a private organization, the Caesarea Development Corporation, and also one of the most populous localities not recognized as a local council.
The modern Israeli Jewish town of Caesarea was established in 1952 near the ruins of the ancient city, which received protection within the national park of Caesarea Maritima.
Map of the area:
The easiest way to get to Caesarea is by car. And there are many free parking spaces near each attraction. Arriving by public transport is not convenient. You can take the bus (for example, Egged line #910 from Tel Aviv to Haifa) to Or Akiva interchange. And walk from there (the distance depends on the attraction), or take a taxi. Another option would be to take the train to Caesarea station. But the train station is even further away (than the bus stop), and you must choose either a bus or a taxi.
Here is a link to Moovit, where Caesarea National Park is already set as the destination. Change the origin from Jerusalem to your location, and you will get updated directions.
What is The Meaning of Caesarea?
Herod the Great built Caesarea in honor of “Caesar.” Today the remains of that old city can be seen in Caesarea National Park.
Caesarea in the Bible
You probably heard of Pontius Pilate. But just in case, here is a short reminder.
Pontius Pilate was the fifth governor of the Roman province of Judaea, serving under Emperor Tiberius from 26/27 to 36/37 CE. He is best known today for being the official who presided over the trial of Jesus and ordered his crucifixion. Pilate’s importance in modern Christianity is underscored by his prominent place in both the Apostles and Nicene Creeds. The Coptic and Ethiopian Churches venerate Pilate as a saint.
You can find Pontius Pilate’s Inscription at Caesarea National Park as evidence of his rule.
Caesarea in Christian History
Caesarea is an important site in Christian history. It was the place where Pontius Pilate governed during the time of Jesus. That was where Simon Peter converted the Roman, Cornelius, the first non-Jew to believe in Jesus. Paul was also imprisoned for two years in Caesarea. During the 3rd century, Caesarea was a center of Christian learning. In the 4th century, the site converted to Christianity and became a major center of the Christian Roman Empire.
Source: Jewish Virtual Library
Attractions in Caesarea
There are three popular attractions in this city. They are Caesarea National Park, Ralli Museum, and Aqueduct Beach. And now, we are going to elaborate on each one.
Caesarea National Park
Caesarea National Park can be divided into Caesarea Maritima and the Port / Harbor. And in the guide to Caesarea National Park, we will tour the whole national park, including the amphitheater. But is it indeed an amphitheater? Read this guide, and you will find out.
In this scope, I will only say that if you love archeology, especially Roman remains, then Caesarea National Park and Bet Shean National Park should be your top priority.
Ralli Museum is famous for its Dali Collection. But beyond this collection, you can find a lot of beautiful paintings, statues, and architecture in the museum. Moreover, it has free entrance.
You can find additional details at Ralli Museum.
Another popular attraction in Caesarea is Aqueduct Beach. It is located north of the National Park (see map and the beginning of this post), and as the name suggests, you can find an old Roman aqueduct.
The Romans constructed aqueducts throughout their Republic and later Empire, to bring water from outside sources into cities and towns. Aqueduct water supplied public baths, latrines, fountains, and private households; it also supported mining operations, milling, farms, and gardens.
Aqueducts moved water through gravity alone, along a slight overall downward gradient within conduits of stone, brick, or concrete; the steeper the gradient, the faster the flow. Most conduits were buried beneath the ground and followed the contours of the terrain; obstructing peaks were circumvented or, less often, tunneled through. Where valleys or lowlands intervened, the conduit was carried on bridgework, or its contents fed into a high-pressure lead, ceramic, or stone pipes and siphoned across. Most aqueduct systems included sedimentation tanks, which helped reduce any water-borne debris. Sluices and castella aquae (distribution tanks) regulated the supply to specific destinations. In cities and towns, the run-off water from aqueducts scoured the drains and sewers.
The aqueduct on the sandy beach makes it unique, and many people visit it just for photo opportunities, without swimming in the sea. If you are interested in swimming, there are lifeguard services. But beyond that, there are no additional services. There are no cafes, shops, or restaurants (I am not sure if there are restrooms).
Birds mosaic is a part of a large mansion from the Byzantine period. And I suggest combining your visit with other nearby attractions.
You can find additional details at Birds Mosaic.
And now, let’s go over some common questions.
Where is the Ancient City of Caesarea?
The ancient Caesarea is located next to the modern city of Caesarea. And they are both positioned on the Mediterranean coast, halfway between Tel Aviv and Haifa. See the map at the top of this post. Today, the ancient city of Caesarea is Caesarea National Park.
Where is Modern Day Caesarea?
The modern Israeli town of Caesarea was established in 1952 near the ruins of the ancient Caesarea, on the coastal plain near the city of Hadera.
Is Caesarea worth visiting?
It depends on your interests. But it is worth checking out Caesarea if you love archeology, history, beaches, or art. You can find more in the attractions section of this post.
Was Caesarea in Rome?
Yes. Caesarea was a Roman city. In the Roman period, the town was the home of governors (Procurators), and it was the capital of the Province of Judea.
How Much Time to Spend in Caesarea?
Caesarea National Park is extensive, and you can spend one hour to half a day there. A typical visit will take 2 – 4 hours. Seeing everything in the Ralli Museum took us two and a half hours. Thus, a routine visit will be 2 – 3 hours. And at Aqueduct Beach you can spend from half an hour to half a day. Therefore, your time in the city depends on the chosen attractions. I guess, for most people, it will be around a half day.
Where to Stay?
The modern city of Caesarea is a suburb of the upper class. And here is a widget by booking.com where you can check prices and the availability of properties in this area.
Are Caesarea and Caesarea Philippi the same?
No. Today both Caesarea and Caesarea Philippi are Israeli National parks separated by about 150 km.
Where is Caesarea Philippi Located?
Philip was Herod’s son, and after Herod’s death, he inherited an area near Banias Springs. In 2 BCE, Philip founded his capital and called it Caesarea Philippi. Today it is more commonly known as Banias Nature Reserve, located at the Golan Heights.
Is Caesarea in Jerusalem?
Caesarea is located on the Mediterranean coast, while Jerusalem is higher in the mountains. On average, to get from Jerusalem to Caesarea, you will have to drive for one and a half hours and pass 125 km.
That’s all for today, and I’ll see you in future travels!
Have you ever been to Caesarea? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.
Additional ResourcesHere are several resources that I created to help travelers:
- Israel Trip Planner is the page that will help you to create your perfect travel route.
- National Parks And Nature Reserves page lists and put all national parks on the map. There is also a top list, information about ticket types and campsites.
- If you are looking for things to do, here are the pages for Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Sea Of Galilee, and Makhtesh Ramon.
- Wondering what events are there in Israel? Here is the Events And Festivals By Season guide.