While it may not look like much nowadays, Caesarea was one of the great cities of antiquity, rivalling other ancient harbours such as Alexandria and Antioch. Despite efforts by various conquerors to keep the city alive, time and warfare eventually had their way and by the 14th century AD most of Caesarea had disappeared under the shifting dunes. Major excavations have been made over the past 15 years and Caesarea is now one of the country’s top archaeological developments. The impressive renovations include a new visitor centre with a dynamic multimedia display. Cafés and restaurants add to the scene and even after the park closes you can still visit and dine alfresco by the sea.
A more modern Caesarea of shopping malls and gated communities has developed outside the archaeological area. The Israeli developers will have to go some way, however, to exceed the almost megalomaniacal achievements of the founder of Caesarea, Herod the Great.