Passage through Antiquity A Voyage of Discovery - Israel
© Nova Fisher

Acre and Caesarea


Crusader Halls

We drove to Acre, one of the oldest continuously inhabited sites of the region and once the chief port of the Crusaders. Our first visit was to see the work of a copper and silver craftsman. He made a copper bracelet, which was presented to me as it was my birthday a few days later. We then went to the underground city to see the Crusader halls (built by the Knights of St John) and the crypt.
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Templar’s Tunnels

We then walked along the narrow streets, through the bazaar and past the Al Jazzar’s Mosque, which was built in the 18th Century. We descended into the Templar’s tunnels used as a secret route to the port. The tunnels were discovered in 1994 when a woman resident, who lived above the tunnel, complained about a sewerage blockage and while searching for the blockage, the tunnel was discovered. It was cleaned from nearly 800 years of dirt and filth and after adding a walkway, access and lighting, it was opened to the public in 1999.


After lunch we visited the impressive ruins at Caesarea, which are on the coast halfway between Haifa and Tel Aviv. This grand ancient city and harbour were built by Herod the Great between 22 and 10 BC and reigned capitol over its region for almost 600 years. Named after the Roman Caesar Augustus, it had all the amenities of a splendid Roman city: - a palace, baths, a hippodrome and a theatre. We then drove to the dual channel aqueduct that supplied water to Caesarea. The first channel was built by Herod in 37BC to 4BC at the time that Caesarea was founded. It brought the water from the southern side of Mount Carmel, at Shummi, about 10KM to the north east of the city. this was not sufficient, a second aqueduct was built by the Legions of the Emperor Hadrian (2nd C AD). It brought water from Tanninim (Crocodiles) river, farther from Shummi.