Antipatris, one of two places known as Tel Afek, was a city
built by Herod the Great, and named in honour of his father,
Antipater II of Judea. It lay between Caesarea Maritima and
Lydda, two miles inland, on the great Roman road from
Caesarea to Jerusalem.
Tel Afek served as a fortress and major strategic points in
battles between the Egyptians, Israelites and Philistines in
the Bronze Age, until it fell into ruin prior to Herod's
rebuilding. The city was destroyed in 363 CE by an
earthquake. It was later used as a fort by the Crusaders,
Arabs and Turks when it was known as Majdal Yaba.
The city ruins are located in Tel Afek (Hebrew: תל אפק),
east of Petah Tikva and west of Kafr Qasim and Rosh HaAyin,
near the source of the Yarkon River.
Ottoman records indicates that there might have been an
older, possibly Mamluk fortress on the site. However, the
present Ottoman fortress was built following the publication
of a firman in 1573 A.D. (981 H.):
"You have sent a letter and have reported that four walls of
the fortress Ras al-Ayn have been built, [..] I have
commanded that when [this firman] arrives you shall [..have
built] the above mentioned rooms and mosque with its minaret
and have the guards remove the earth outside and clean and
tidy [the place].
The fortress was built to protect a vulnerable stretch of
the Cairo-Damascus highway (the Via Maris), and was provided
with 100 horsemen and 30 foot soldiers. The fortress was
also supposed to supply soldiers to protect the hajj route.
The fortress is a massive rectangular enclosure with four
corner towers and a gate at the centre of the west side. The
south-west tower is octagonal, while the three other towers
have a square ground plan.
There was a Palestinian village at the site which, however,
became deserted in the 1920s.