Caesarea in Wikipedia
Caesarea (Hebrew: קֵיסָרְיָה; Arabic: قيسارية, Kaysaria; Greek: Καισάρεια) is a town in Israel on
the outskirts of Caesarea Maritima, the ancient port city. It is located mid-way between Tel
Aviv and Haifa (45 km), on the Israeli Mediterranean coast near the city of Hadera. Modern
Caesarea as of December 2007 has a population of 4,500 people, and 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. It lies under the
jurisdiction of the Hof HaCarmel Regional Council.
Further information: Caesarea Maritima
Caesarea is believed to have been built on the ruins of Stratonospyrgos (Straton's Tower),
founded by Straton I of Sidon. and was likely an agricultural storehouse in its earliest
configuration. In 90 BCE, Alexander Jannaeus captured Straton's Tower as part of his policy
of developing the shipbuilding industry and enlarging the Hasmonean kingdom. Straton's Tower
remained a Jewish city for two generations, until the Roman conquest of 63 BCE when the Romans
declared it an autonomous city. The pagan city underwent vast changes under Herod the Great,
who renamed it Caesarea in honor of the Roman emperor, Caesar Augustus.
In 22 BCE, Herod began construction of a deep sea harbor and built storerooms, markets, wide
roads, baths, temples to Rome and Augustus, and imposing public buildings. Every five years
the city hosted major sports competitions, gladiator games, and theatrical productions in its
theatre overlooking the Mediterranian Sea.
Caesarea also flourished during the Byzantine period. In the 3rd century, Jewish sages exempted
the city from Jewish law, or Halakha, as by this time the majority of the inhabitants were non-
Jewish. The city was chiefly a commercial centre relying on trade. The area was only
seriously farmed during the Rashidun Caliphate period, apparently until the Crusader conquest
in the eleventh century. Over time, the farms were buried under the sands shifting along the
shores of the Mediterranean.
In 1251, Louis IX fortified the city. The French king ordered the construction of high walls
(parts of which are still standing) and a deep moat. However strong the walls were, they could
not keep out the sultan Baybars, who ordered his troops to scale the walls in several places
simultaneously, enabling them to penetrate the city.
Further information: Qisarya
Caesarea lay in ruins until the nineteenth century when the village of Qisarya (Arabic:
قيسارية, the Arabic name for Caesarea) was established in 1884 by Muslim immigrants from Bosnia
who built a small fishing village on the ruins of the Crusader fortress on the coast. The
kibbutz of Sdot Yam was established 1 km south in 1940. Many of Qisarya's inhabitants left
before 1948, when a railway was built bypassing the port, ruining their livelihood. Qisarya had
a population of 960 in 1945. During the 1948 Arab-Israeli War part of the population fled
for fear of attacks before it was conquered by Jewish forces in February, after which the
remaining inhabitants were expelled and the village houses were demolished. During the
conquest of Qisarya a number of the Arab inhabittants were killed. According to a testimony
collected from Battalion members obtained by Israeli historian Uri Milstein: "In February 1948,
the 4th Batallion of Palmach, under the command of Josef Tabenkin, conquered Caesaria."...