Caesarea Walking Tour and Scenic Drive to Mount Carmel
- Ancient ruins: See what remains of Herod's palace with its Olympic-size pool, the 20,000-seat hippodrome for chariot races, a five-mile long aqueduct, and the famed man-made harbor.
- Amphitheater: This impressive reminder of the glory of Rome was designed to accommodate 3,500 patrons, and still offers beautiful views of the Mediterranean.
- Crusader fortifications: Linking Caesarea to another period in Israel's history, the defensive walls and moats were enhanced by King Louis IX of France, who lived in this coastal town for a year.
- Mount Carmel: Ride a motorcoach to the peak where the prophet Elijah challenged the followers of the god Baal, and enjoy panoramic views of Haifa.
About this Ashdod Tour
Herod the Great wasn't particularly popular with his people. He had built the magnificent Second Temple in Jerusalem, yet he was despised by most of his fellow Hebrews. And in the city of Caesarea, you can see what he did to secure his power: He sucked up to the Romans.
Herod had been appointed King of the Jews by the Roman Senate, so he was expected to support Rome's interests. In order to show his allegiance, Herod built non-Jewish temples and brought in foreign entertainment, like chariot races – none of which sat well with his people. At Caesarea, he kicked it up a notch.
Built in 1 B.C., Caesarea was part of Herod's plan to transform the Holy Land into a classic Greco-Roman city. Sophisticated. Lavish. With a stadium, an amphitheatre, and an ingenious aqueduct bringing fresh water in from miles away. And of course, it was named after Caesar.
But the crowning jewel was the harbor.
Caesarea harbor was the very first to be built in the open sea instead of the sheltering confines of suitable coastal crannies. The 12-year project, which required an estimated 44 shiploads of materials for the waterproof concrete pilings that protected ships from waves, was one of the technological marvels of the ancient world. When finished, the harbor could accommodate 300 ships. It was one of the most impressive engineering feats of its time.
Today, the Romans are gone, the breakwaters are some 15 feet below the surface, and Herod is still unpopular with the Jewish people. (And with Christians – he ordered the massacre of thousands of Jewish male infants around the time of Christ's birth, according to the Gospel of Matthew.) But he's had "the Great" attached to his name for 20 centuries now, and when you see his city, you'll understand why.
Pontius Pilate's priceless plaque
Look inside the gate of the Caesarea amphitheater and you'll see the replica of a plaque that now resides in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. The plaque reads "TIBERIVM" and "TIVS PILATUS," Latin for Rome's Emperor Tiberius and Pontius Pilate, governor of Judea. The plaque is priceless because it's the only archeological evidence of Pilate's existence.
On a cruise ship? Meet your guide on the pier, in front of the ship. Please look for the GoBe Representative holding our logo sign with your name. Staying at a hotel? Be sure to advise the GoTo Crew so we can meet you in the lobby.
There are some great views seen along your drive. If taking pictures from the bus, turn your flash off, set your camera on manual focus, use the fastest shutter speed possible, and zoom as far as you can.
Plan to walk for a total distance of about 2 miles, over paved/gravel/cobblestone paths and up steps. If your mobility is limited, this tour will be too challenging for you to enjoy and maintain the pace of the group. It is not wheelchair accessible.
Bus Tour, Cultural, Scenic
46-seat Air-conditioned Motorcoach
Tour Participation Requirements
This experience is rated moderate. Full participation may require extended periods of walking over even and uneven surfaces, steep terrain and/or water activity in a slight current. There may be steps, inclines, cobblestone surfaces, and extended periods of standing. Participants with physical limitations should take this into account.
Suitable for all ages.
Full refunds issued for cancellations made 7 full days prior to the date and time of requested services. Cancellations made within the 7-day and 72-hour window will receive a 50% refund of purchase total. Purchases are non-refundable inside of 72 hours.
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