קיסריה

( Caesarea Maritima )

Caesarea ( SE(E)Z-ə-REE-ə, SESS-; Koinē Greek: Καισάρεια, romanized: Kaisáreia; Hebrew: קֵיסָרְיָה, romanized: Qēsaryah; Arabic: قيسارية, romanized: Qaysāriyyah), also Caesarea Maritima, Caesarea Palaestinae or Caesarea Stratonis, was an ancient and medieval port city on the coast of the Eastern Mediterranean, and later a small fishing village. It was the capital of Roman Judaea, Syria Palaestina and Palaestina Prima, successively, for a period of c.6...Read more

Caesarea ( SE(E)Z-ə-REE-ə, SESS-; Koinē Greek: Καισάρεια, romanized: Kaisáreia; Hebrew: קֵיסָרְיָה, romanized: Qēsaryah; Arabic: قيسارية, romanized: Qaysāriyyah), also Caesarea Maritima, Caesarea Palaestinae or Caesarea Stratonis, was an ancient and medieval port city on the coast of the Eastern Mediterranean, and later a small fishing village. It was the capital of Roman Judaea, Syria Palaestina and Palaestina Prima, successively, for a period of c.650 years, and a major intellectual hub of the Mediterranean, from the time of Herod I until the Muslim conquest of the Levant. Today, the site is part of the Caesarea National Park, on the western edge of the Sharon plain in Israel.

The site was first settled in the 4th century BCE as a Phoenician colony and trading village known as Straton's Tower after the ruler of Sidon. It was enlarged in the 1st century BCE under Hasmonean rule, becoming a Jewish village; and in 63 BCE, when the Roman Republic annexed the region, it was declared an autonomous city. It was then significantly enlarged in the Roman period by the Judaean client king Herod I, who established a new harbour and dedicated the town and its port to Caesar Augustus as Caesarea.

During the early Roman period, Caesarea became the seat of the Roman procurators in the region. The city was populated throughout the 1st to 6th centuries CE and became an important early centre of Christianity during the Byzantine period. Its importance may have waned following the Muslim conquest of 640 when the city, then known in Arabic as Qisarya (قيسارية), lost its status as provincial capital. After being re-fortified by Muslim rulers in the 11th century, it was conquered by the Crusaders, who strengthened and made it into an important port, and was finally slighted by the Mamluks in 1265.

Qisarya was a small fishing village in the early modern period. In February 1948, during the 1948 Palestine war, some of its population fled following an attack on a bus by the Zionist militant group Lehi, and the remainder were expelled by the Palmach, who subsequently demolished its houses. The ruins of the ancient city beneath the depopulated village were excavated in the 1950s and 1960s for archaeological purposes.

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