Caesarea is an ancient city that was the capital and most important city in Israel/Palestine during the Roman-Byzantine period. It includes remains of a pagan temple, a theater, a hippodrome, a bath-house and a sculpture garden.
King Herod renamed the city in honour of the Roman emperor. The site is significant for Roman, Jewish as well as Christian history. Here the Jews and the Syrians started fighting from which the Great Revolt erupted. Here Rabbi Akiva was tortured and executed by the Romans during the Bar Kochba Revolt.
It is the only place where evidence proving Pontius Pilates’ existence in form of an inscription was found. During the third century it was a center of Christian teaching and learning.
Caesarea is therefore an important site in Christian history. It was the place where Pontius Pilate governed during the time of Jesus. This was where Simon Peter converted the Roman, Cornelius, the first non-Jew to believe in Jesus. Paul was also imprisoned here for two years .
During the 4th century, the site converted to Christianity and became a major center of the Christian Roman Empire.
In 640 Caesarea was the last Palestinian city to fall to the Muslim invaders who swept out of Arabia and across the Middle East, driving out the Romans.
In 1101, the Crusaders captured the city under the leadership of Baldwin I, only to lose it in 1187 to Saladin. From 1251-1252, the city was entirely reconstructed by Louis IX of France .
In 1265, Caesarea fell to Baybars, the Mamluk sultan of Egypt, who destroyed the city, which remained in ruins until 1884.