The Middle Coast: Caesarea, Apollonia & Zichron Ya’akov

This tour is primarily for people staying in either Tel Aviv or Haifa as all sites are within 1 hour. It includes Archaeological sites as well as one of the first Jewish communities established in the 19th century.

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The Keep at Arsuf

Our day begins with the Crusader Castle at Arsuf. The fortress was initially built in the early 12th century but changed hands a couple of times before its final destruction by the Muslim leader Baybars.  As a final act of humiliation the Crusader defenders were forced to dismantle the structure themselves. We will explore the castle and fortifications and see remains from earlier periods.

 

 

King Herod decided to use the latest Roman innovation of Hydraulic Concrete to build his new port city Caesarea. It would help this town become the largest harbor in the Eastern Mediterranean. In the Hippodrome Foot Races and later on, Horse Races were held. If you saw the movie Ben Hur (the Charleton Heston version I choose to ignore the more recent nonsense) the famous horse race is the type which happened in this stadium. We can try to imagine the screaming Romans rooting for their favorite charioteer.

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Bath House at Caesarea

There are restaurants so we can have a Lunch Break before continuing our tour. The sprawling Park boasts sites from different periods including the later Byzantine and Crusader Periods. We will also talk about the more modern history of the place including a Bosnian community which is oddly related to the last part of the day.

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Zichron Ya’akov Water Fountain

Our final stop is one of the first Jewish communities in the country to be established in the late 19th century by Zionist Pioneers: Zichron Ya’akov. We will visit the NILI House and learn about a spy operation during World War I. Here we will learn the connection between this community and the Bosnian mosque we saw at Caesarea.