Caesarea Maritima
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Panoramic photo by Alex Avgustinov - Valentis Studio EXPERT Taken 07:03, 08/05/2009 - Views loading...

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Caesarea Maritima

The World > Asia > Middle East > Israel

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Caesarea 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 the most populous localities not recognized as a local council. It lies under the jurisdiction of the Hof HaCarmel Regional Council.

Early history
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. It was probably 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 emperor. In 22 BCE he 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.

Caesarea also flourished during the Byzantine period. In the 3rd century the Jewish sages exempted the city from Jewish commandments 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.

Caesarea lay in ruins until the nineteenth century when the settlement of Qisarya 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. Many of the village's inhabitants left before 1948, when a railway was built bypassing the port, ruining their livelihood. The fishing village had a population of 1,148 at the last census taken in 1948. 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.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caesarea

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This panorama was taken in Israel, Middle East

This is an overview of Middle East

Modern civilization began right here in the Tigris-Euphrates river valley. Also known as the Fertile Crescent or Mesopotamia, this is the place where, six thousand years ago, agriculture, writing and mathematics were brought into widespread use.

The term "Middle East" comes from the British navy, which used it to describe the countries on the trade route from Europe to India and China. Everything from Afghanistan to Morocco may possibly be classified as "middle eastern", depending on whom you ask -- and when.

Only a partial list of past Empires in the middle eastern territory includes Sumeria, Babylonia, Persia, the Ottoman Empire and the Roman Empire!

When northern Europe was still lurking about in slimy cold stone castles playing chess, the Middle East was enjoying the flowers of poetry, luxurious craftsmanship, music and literature. In fact, the Renaissance in Europe was partly inspired by stories brought back from the middle east by travelers along the trade route.

Strategic location, religious history and the world's largest supply of crude oil have kept the Middle East at the center of world activity for centuries. The saga continues.

Text by Steve Smith.

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