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When Paul Left Caesarea

When Paul Left Caesarea

During the first century, the city of Caesarea was the Roman administrative capital for the entire region. King Herod constructed the second largest port in the world at Caesarea. It consisted of two "ports". The outer port is where many of the larger ships would be docked. Transportation to the outer port would take place via smaller boats which were docked in the inner port. 

The steps in this picture are from the inner port dock at Caesarea. During the first century, travelers would have used these steps to climb down from the dock to enter a small ship. This small ship would transport them to the outer dock where the larger ship would be located.

After the apostle Paul used his privilege as a Roman citizen to appeal his case to Caesar, he was loaded onto a ship and sent to Rome. It is possible that Paul used these exact steps as he left the city of Caesarea for the final time. 

Caesarea Maritima Inner Harbor

DSCN0121 Among King Herod's building projects was a huge harbor in the city of Caesarea Maritima. It actually consisted of two harbors, an inner harbor and outer harbor. It was common for boat passengers to board a smaller boat in the inner harbor which would transport them to the larger boat in the outer harbor. The apostle Paul used this harbor a number of times during his missionary journeys. (Over the centuries, silt has filled in the inner harbor. Now, as a way of protecting the harbor, the Israel National Park Service has allowed grass to grow in this area. When visiting this site, it is very common to see families eating a picnic lunch on this grassy area.)

2012 Israel Trip Favorite Picture - Part II

2012 Israel Trip Favorite Picture - Part II


Today I'm continuing the series of favorite pictures that I took while on my trip to Israel in September. Today's picture is of the remains of the inner harbor at Caesarea Maritima. Between 22-9 BC, Herod the Great constructed a huge harbor in the coastal, Roman administrative city of Caesarea. When it was built, it was the largest artificial harbor built in the open sea, enclosing around 100,000 square meters. It consisted to two parts, and outer harbor and an inner harbor. The inner harbor was for smaller boats, which granted passengers transportation to the larger boats in the outer harbor.

The picture that I have attached is of the smaller, inner harbor. For centuries, this entire area was covered in dirt and has only recently been excavated. The grassy area is where the water would have been during the first century. On top of the large platform to the left is where Herod built one of the three large temples which he dedicated to Caesar Augustus. (The other two are in the region of Caesarea Philippi and Samaria.) You can imagine the travelers at that time coming into the harbor and looking up at that large temple just before they disembarked. If you look closely where the stones and grass meet, you can still see the steps that travelers would have used to get on and off the boats.

Looking at this picture, you can't help but think of all the people that probably walked along that harbor. This is the city where Cornelius lived (Acts 10). This is also the city where Philip lived (Acts 21). No doubt, both of them would have come down here during their lives. In addition, the Apostle Paul used this port a number of times in his travels. He probably used this port during his second and third missionary journeys. And, after being a prisoner for two years in the pratorium in Caesarea, Paul left from here on his journey to Rome (Acts 27:1,2).

I wonder what Paul was thinking about as he walked on this harbor before he left for Rome? Was he excited? Was he scared? It was probably a little of both. But, he knew that he was doing what he was meant to do.