Did King Herod build the most magnificent harbor in the ancient world?
In 10 B.C. Augustus Caesar decided to rebuild a small coastal station called Strato's Tower into a new city, which would be renamed Caesarea Maritima, in honor of Augustus. He allotted the task to the architectural mastermind Herod the Great. Herod built a harbor at Caesarea that would become one of the wonders of the ancient world. He built a massive breakwater which formed a horseshoe of protection around the whole bay. On the coast he built some of the most impressive works of architecture in the Roman world. He built an amphitheater, a citadel, a palace, a hippodrome, city walls and gates, paved squares with huge statues, and other marvels of Graeco-Roman civilization. It was here in Caesarea where the prefect Pontius Pilate lived, the foundation of his house was on a rock in the middle of the harbor and is still there to this day.
Caesarea was also a spectacular location to build a city, because it was right in the center of the Plain of Sharon, one of the most fertile areas in the world. Centuries of rains from the clouds formed by the nearby Mediterranean Sea showered the Judean hills, and brought plenty of rich soil to irrigate the plain where Caesarea was situated. The climate was always fairly warm and never out of control. Oranges, figs, lemons, grapes, almonds, and even olives in the hills, grew in abundance. Anyone coming into Judea from anywhere in the Graeco-Roman world would marvel at this awesome Jewish city with all the spectacles of Hellenistic art, architecture and culture. It became the administrative center of the Roman procurators of the province of Judea, and also became the headquarters of the Roman legions. Caesarea was indeed a thriving place during the first century A.D., during the time of Jesus and the apostle Paul.
Acts 21:8 - And the next [day] we that were of Paul's company departed, and came unto Caesarea: and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was [one] of the seven; and abode with him.
Acts 25:6 - And when he had tarried among them more than ten days, he went down unto Caesarea; and the next day sitting on the judgment seat commanded Paul to be brought.
Acts 8:40 - But Philip was found at Azotus: and passing through he preached in all the cities, till he came to Caesarea.