Caesarea was built by Herod the Great to honour Augustus Caesar over a period of 12 years. Two stone breakwaters were constructed and a fresh water pool was carved out of the rocks below the huge rock wall surrounding the town. The hippodrome is in good condition as it was buried under huge layers of debris washed down by the rivers during storms. It was interesting to see how much damaged clay plates and other pieces of pottery were amongst the layers. Over the years the town was conquered by many different nations – the Crusader Fort at the northern end was built during one of the times the Crusaders were in control.
There is a carved stone which mentions Pontius Pilot, the only reference ever seen of the man who sentenced Jesus to death.
We then headed inland to reach Megiddo – believed to be the Armageddon referred to in the Bible. There are over 30 civilisations built on top of each other. This is definitely not a place for the weak hearted. We climbed a smooth pathway to reach the top of the hill, past the ruins of homes and altars – even the stable for the king’s horses – however our exit out of the site was somewhat crazy. We descended 30 metres by a steep stairway under the city then along a 60 metre tunnel before climbing back up to the surface. The well and tunnel were built when an Assyrian army laid siege to the city. They would have been able to access the spring which supplied water to the city, so in order to keep it within the city area, the well was dug. The well was extremely deep and was linked to the spring by a gently sloping tunnel ensuring the water ran backwards into the well. The Assyrians gave up and left.
Unfortunately it was too nerve-wracking to take photos. Everyone was using both hands to hold onto the railings. The valley running below the city is to this day, very fertile.
We made one last stop before our destination of Tiberias on the Sea of Galilee. We stopped in Cana at the Church of the Wedding where the first miracle by Jesus supposedly took place. There was a mass in progress in the Roman Church built on top of the old synagogue where Jesus prayed. During the excavations they discovered the jars where water was turned into wine.