This amazing ruin of a Roman city built by Herod in the first century BC includes a theatre, aqueducts, Byzantine mosaics and an ancient harbour, as well as relics from the Crusader period. A few kilometres away is the wildlife reserve and kibbutz Ma'agan Micha'el and the town of Zichron Ya'acov, the latter is well known both for its winery, and for its connection to the Rothschild family.
Located on the shore between Hadera and Atlit, the ancient port of Caesarea was established in the third century BC as a small Phoenician anchorage called Strato's Tower. In the year 90 BC, the Hasmonean King Alexander Yanai annexed the area and, toward the end of that century, King Herod constructed a magnificent, well-planned city on the site. He named it Caesarea in honour of his Roman patron, Augustus Caesar. Building of a breakwater in the port resulted in Caesarea serving as one of the most important maritime centers in the eastern Mediterranean. In the year 66 AD, it was in Caesarea, the capital of the country during the Roman period, that the Jews of the city raised the standard of revolt against Rome, touching off the Jewish War. Following the fall of Jerusalem, the city was the site of the Roman victory celebration. During the Bar Kochba Revolt, Caesarea served as the supply base for the Roman army. It was here, after the revolt was quelled, that the Romans executed Rabbi Akiva and his disciples, the Ten Martyrs. Caesarea became an important center of early Christianity but declined after the Moslem conquest in 639. It came to life again during the Crusader period when King Louis IX of France reconstructed and fortified the city. After being conquered by Mameluke Sultan Baybars in 1265, the city underwent a steady decline.