The Model of the Ancient Port at Caesarea

Inside the Visitorís Center at Caesarea is a model of the ancient port that Herod the Great built. There were three main building stages to the port. First, Herodís architects built the southern breakwater. It was extremely important to calm the waters that circulate in a counter-clockwise fashion in the Mediterranean basin, so that sea vessels could enter from the more northern side via calmer waters. This was one of the first times in history that humans experimented with water soluble cement on a massive scale. Underwater scuba-divers positioned large wooden crates out in the sea while workers filled them with a mixture of lime and volcanic ash that solidified underwater. Second, the engineers built a string of barrel vaults that surrounded the port, from the breakwater to the upper part of the shore. Thirdly, they erected the Temple of Augustus on top of the barrel vaults along the shore. Upon entering the port by foot, we can imagine how the ancient seafarers would ascend to the temple and pay homage to their emperor.


Model of Ancient Port at Caesarea
Image Credit: Samson Tours

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