Aqueduct of Caesarea

The Aqueduct brought running water to the old city of Caesarea, along a raised aqueduct. The source of the water was the springs of Shummi, 10KM away. Herod build the aqueduct in the 1st C BC. later, in the 2nd C AD it was expanded by the Romans. Later, 2 more aqueducts were built.

 

 

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Contents:

Background

History

Location

Photos

 * Southern

 * Along the beach

* Aerial views

 * Beit Hanania

Links

Etymology

Background:

 

   The old city Caesarea required a steady flow of running water.  Initially its waters came from the local wells. However, as the  population grew to several hundred thousand people, a large scale aqueduct was required to bring the water from a distance.  The aqueduct was built in several phases, starting from King Herod.

 

History of the place:

 

   The first aqueduct was built by Herod (37BC to 4BC), at the time the new city was founded and dedicated to the Roman Caesar, Augustus. It brought the water from the southern side of Mount Carmel, at Shummi, about 10KM to the north east of the city. The water flowed on a single raised canal, and in one section it is dug into the rock (at  Jiser-e-zarka, an Arab village north of Caesarea).

 

    Since even this was not sufficient,  a second  "lower" aqueduct was built by the Legions of the Emperor Hadrian (2nd C AD). It brought water from Tanninim (Crocodiles) river, farther from Shummi. This section, with a tunnel of about 6KM long, was tapped into the older aqueduct, and doubled its capacity.  This new source of water was added to the right of the first canal, and the aqueduct was thus doubled in width. The builders used the same building materials and style, so it is hard to see that the pair of tunnels were built in different ages.

 

   The aqueduct continued to supply water for 1200 years. During the ages it was repaired several times. In the marsh lands east of Jiser-E-Zarka a bypass canal was built to overcome the damages.

 

   After that time the aqueduct was beyond repair. Therefore, in the Crusaders period (12th C aD), a third, smaller,  canal was built that replaced the first two.  At that time the City was smaller and required less water, so the third smaller canal was sufficient.

 

   Another (forth) lower aqueduct was built from a new source of water: the springs at Maagan Michael, several kilometers north to Jiser-E-Zarka. Since the water level was too low, a dam was built in order to create a lake, thus raising the water levels at the source. Then, a canal was dug in the sandstone ridge and brought the water to the city. This canal was laid lower and to the east of the raised Aqueduct.

 

Location:

  

The aqueduct can be seen in several easily accessible places:

 

Photos:

 

(a) Southern edge of the Aqueduct:

 

   The following photo shows the southern end of the aqueduct from the beach side,  just north of the old port. It is easily accessible from Modern town of Caesarea, and has a popular beach. Although it seems that the aqueduct ends here,  it once continued on south into the city, but that section was damaged by the sea.

 

Click on the photos  to view in higher resolution...

 

Note that the left canal of the aqueduct, broken at the middle of the photo above, is actually older by 150 years than the right side.

 

Another view from the land side (from the parking lot, towards north) is seen below:

 

 

A sun-baked view of the southern edge is seen below:

 

Caesarea Aqueduct.

photo by Gal Shaine

 

   Another covered aqueduct is located about 100M to the east, as seen below. This view is towards the north, and the arched aqueduct is seen on the far left side. Mount Carmel is seen on the right background.

 

Lower aqueduct on the east side.

 

(b) More photos along the beach

 

You can walk along the sandy beach and see other sections of the aqueduct. The following photo is another view, at a more northern section.

 

Caesarea Aqueduct.

photo by Gal Shaine

 

Yet another view  of another section  (the magical view is irresistible!). Notice that the upper level was fixed at a later stage with smaller stones.

 

Caesarea Aqueduct.

photo by Gal Shaine

 

Some enhanced photos from the west side:

 

Caesarea Aqueduct

 

A view from the east side:

 

Caesarea Aqueduct

 

(c) Aerial views

 

   An aerial view of the aqueducts is seen in the photo below. Two parallel aqueducts are seen: the closer one is the famous (higher) aqueduct, while the other (lower) aqueduct is seen in the background. The ruins of Caesarea are located in the right background.

 

Flight over the aqueduct

Photo by Y. Mizrachi

 

   The next photo is taken closer to the ancient city. The two aqueducts, badly damaged from the waves, merge together and enter the city.

 

Flight over the Caesarea aqueducts

Photo by Y. Mizrachi

 

(d) View in Beit Hanania:

 

   In the entrance of Beit Hanania, a community close to the south edge of Mount Carmel, the northern section of the aqueduct is located  here, and the second aqueduct (Hadrian's time) connecting to the older one (Herod's time ). The following photo shows the aqueduct and the Carmel in the background.

 

 

   In this photo, taken towards the west, there is a split in the aqueduct: one tunnel goes towards westwards to the sea through the underground pass at Jiser- a- Zarka (seen in the far background), and another section turns south.

 

 

  

Over the long years of use, the deposits from the water accumulated in some spots, as in the photo below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can notice that the right side of the aqueduct is based on clay pipes. At this section there were 3 pipes.

 

   In the aqueduct there are 10 tablets that were placed by Roman soldiers that fixed the aqueducts. In this section there are two stone tablets were built into the wall by its builders- the Legions of the Emperor Hadrian (2nd C AD). The right tablet clearly shows: "IMP CAES(ar) TRIAN HADR(ianus)". The other tablet is of the tenth Legion.

 

 

  A Roman milestone is located under one of the arches, dated to the 2nd or 3rd C AD . It indicated the distance of 4 Roman miles, probably the distance along the coastal road from Caesarea.

 

 

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Etymology (behind the name):
  • Beit Hannania:

    Hannania - in Hebrew: "God (-ia) has pardoned (Hannan-).

    Beit - in Hebrew: house

    Beit Hannania - in Hebrew: the house where God has pardoned

    Note that there are other places with this name, such as Kefar Hannania in the Galilee

 

 

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