Today we left Haifa and made our way to Caesarea Maritima, one of my favorite sites in Israel. This was the seat of the Roman governors (Pilate, Felix, Festus, et. al.), as Jerusalem was not a pleasant place to live, according to Pilate anyway (you can read what he wrote about it elsewhere). As you will see from the pictures, it’s beautiful:
This is the northern part of the city, a 12th Century addition by the Crusaders. They built a citadel there to guard the port and provide a way station for pilgrims to the Holy Land.
However, evidence of the Romans is still evident at the site as the Crusaders recycled building materials:
After passing by the port (the very one that Paul sailed from after appealing to Caesar), you see the hippodrome:
We finally get to the good stuff. This is the main hall where in all likelihood, Paul preached the gospel to Felix, Druscilla, Agrippa, and Festus (Acts 24-26). Finally, feeling that he had no recourse, he appealed to Caesar himself.
Paul would have been held in one of these small rooms while waiting to make his case. You can imagine the prayer that happened in this place:
We finished by looking at the amphitheater:
This is probably where Peter preached the gospel to the Gentiles after meeting with Cornelius (Acts 10). The panoramic is not great, as it is in a semi circle, but this was taken from center stage.
The aquaduct for Caesarea Maritima, destroyed by Muslim forces during the Crusades in hopes that the city might not be resettled again:
We then headed to the walled city of Acre. It gets mention in the Bible as a Phoenician city, but the Crusades put it on the map. Some prisoners who tunneled in order to escape in the 20th century ended up uncovering one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of the century. Underneath all the centuries of sand, dirt, and rock, was an underground Crusader city. The Hospitaller Knights of St. John had built the site for protection and housing for the pilgrims:
The soil level covered the bottom arches. Where you see the railing was ground level:
The group arrived safely at the Sea of Galilee and I had some great ministry conversations with some folks in our group—very encouraging.