Archaeology: ancient Caesarea back to its splendor

Investments on tourism

18 June, 11:29

    (by Aldo Baquis)

    CAESAREA - Two thousand years since its construction as the main port of the region - one of the many monumental projects built 2,000 years ago by King Herod thanks to an advanced Roman technology - Caesarea is going through a period of growing prosperity and is vying to become Israel's main archaeological site. In this area - which is visited each year by a million Israeli and foreign tourists - a new attraction has just been inaugurated. A walk on the walls built in 1251 during the visit of the King of France Louis IX.
    Visitors will be able to walk through the ancient market and a secret tunnel used during sieges to ensure the city had enough food and ammunition.
    ''Caesarea represents a particular model of success among Israeli archaeological sites'', Shaul Goldstein, the director of Israel's nature and parks authority, told ANSA. ''First of all because archaeological remains here were preserved in an excellent manner'', starting from the Roman period until the Crusaders. Moreover, the archaeological park of Caesarea also has restaurants, coffee shops and stores. Due to its perfect acoustics and location right in front of the sea, the Roman theater attracts thousands with its concerts and musical performances. ''A bit like the Acropolis in Athens, here too - said Goldstein - it is possible to spend relaxing hours inside structures that date back to an ancient past''.
    The development of tourist attractions in Caesarea is supported, along with the Israeli government and other agencies, also by the Foundation Edmond de Rothschild which over the past decade invested 150 million shekel, or 40 million euros. The objective, said Ariane de Rothschild during the inauguration of the walk, is to strengthen the social network between Caesarea and two neighboring cities. While the first has a high life style, in the Jewish area of Or Aquiva and Arab Jisser a-Zarka there are also more low-income households. A little port for fishermen that will be connected to the site of Caesarea is being planned for Jisser a-Zarka. A small part of the Roman aqueduct will also be renovated in the area. The expansion of tourism in Caesarea should thus reflect on the economy of neighboring areas.
    ''Our vision - concluded Israel Hasson, director of the Israeli authority of antiquities - is to give back to Caesarea its glory days, when it was a vibrant port offering visitors cultural experiences''. 

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