The Aqueduct at Caesarea

Caesarea Maritima, on the Mediterranean coast in northern Israel, is a truly beautiful place to visit.  In this newsletter I wanted to share with you some photos of an aqueduct that brought freshwater to the city.  The original aqueduct was built by Herod the Great.  Emperor Hadrian expanded the project in the second-century A.D.

Aqueduct 1

In this first picture, you can see the Roman arches that support the aqueduct.  The arch was widely used by the Romans as a way of supporting large structures.  Herod, who had the original aqueduct built, is known as “the great” because of his many building projects.  Many of his projects reflect a Roman influence.  Looking through the arches you can see the Mediterranean Sea.

Aqueduct 2

In this picture, you can see the aqueduct extending northward.  This particular aqueduct is more than six miles in length.  The aqueduct was fed from a source at Mount Carmel.  While large lengths of the aqueduct were built on arches as seen in this picture, part of the newer aqueduct included a tunnel.

Aqueduct 3

This picture was taken on the Mediterranean side of the aqueduct.  This picture showcases the remarkable stonework in the aqueduct.

At the time of Paul’s visit to Caesarea, there was only one aqueduct bringing water to the city.  In the second-century A.D. a second aqueduct was built that entered the city alongside the first.  The original aqueduct is on the left and partially missing in this picture.  The newer aqueduct was on the right.

Aqueduct 4

This final photo was taken at the end of the aqueduct where we visited.  At the top of the structure you can see a channel.  This is where the water flowed.  In this image you can also get a good look at the bricks and stones used in making the aqueduct.

Aqueducts were of great importance in the ancient world as they supplied great quantities of fresh water to thriving cities and settlements.  For the people of the New Testament era these were a common site.

 

If you are wondering if Caesarea Maritima is important for New Testament studies, the answer is “yes.”  This is a city where Paul was imprisoned for a period of time and also where he appealed to Caesar (Acts 23:23ff; 25:11).  Also, this is the city where the centurion Cornelius lived (Acts 10).

 

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