King Herod of Judea-Builder of Caesarea

King Herod of Judea-Builder of Caesarea

One thing Jerusalem, Israel does not have is a good view of the sea.

An attempt for a beach in Liberty Bell Park was a poor substitute.

So a trip to the coast and the sea was a welcome treat.

Beach front sign in Hebrew Caesarea port

The sign “The Sea” between palm trees greets visitors to Caesarea coastal park.

Caesarea excavations

Here part of the remains of Herod’s Sebastos Harbor has been exposed.

Roman bath house excavation in Caesarea

But other portions are being worked on carefully by archaeologists.

Visitor Center in Caesarea

The trip was to attend the launch of the new Visitor Center.

Visitor center in Caesarea

Josephus wrote of Herod’s tribute to Caesar in the first century BCE.

Herod the Builder. Herod the Great. Ruler of Judea. Builder of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. Builder of the fortress, Masada. Builder of Herodion.

Scene of old port of Herod in Caesarea

Herod built Sebastos to honor Caesar Augusta and the goddess Roma.

In this photograph from the video in the new Visitor Center video, we see his vision.

Image of port Herod built today Caesarea

One scene illustrated the hundreds of boats that came through.

Herod’s building project took ten years to complete. Tons open tons of cement went into rafts sunk, along the coast which had no natural harbor.

Herod or Hordus as he is called in Hebrew began globalization in the region.

From video in visitor center in Caesarea

Caesar Augustus attended the gala opening of the one mile long piers and temple.

Screen shot of video in visitor center of Caesarea of Herod's port

However, this massive building project lay in ruins for 2000 years.

Artifacts found in port of Caesarea

Now, located in one of the fourteen vaults Herod built to support the platform of the temple of Augustus and Roma, the new Caesarea Visitor Center is open to the public.

The once-thriving area was rebuilt and hosted many rulers over the centuries – pagan, Christian, Muslim, Jewish and Samaritan.

Roman remains from building of Caesarea by Herod

In the museum, artifacts from various periods are on display.

Caesarea Visitor Center menorah

An ancient menorah was placed next to a modern visual box, hard to catch in a photograph.

Layers of history in Caesarea Israel

Visuals of the past help the visitor to see how the 60-acre site would have looked.

King Herod’s gateway to the Mediterranean Sea was constructed in the 1st century BCE.

Pieces of pottery over the years found in harbor

On display are recovered pottery pieces that span the centuries.

Visitor Center in Caesarea at sunset

This was the outside of the vault of the Caesarea Visitor Center at sunset,

Roman baths in port of Caesarea at harbor

and next to it an area where Roman baths greeted weary seafarers.

Bottles of wine at event to launch Caesarea visitor center

The Caesarea project was funded by the Rothschild Foundation and featured family wine at its launch.

Sunset by the beach of Caesarea

As the sun set, this was as close to the beach as I could get.

Because of the tight security, I was afraid if I left I might not get back in.

Lights go on at launch of Visitor center at Caesarea Isale

The lights went on, the program began.

Woman and man dressed as statutes at nigh event in Caesrea to launch new visitor center

Musicians played and the statues turned. Oh my, they turned out to be live performers.

Israel president Rivlin speaking at launch of visitor center in Caesarea

President Reuven Rivlin arrived after a tour of the new museum and spoke.

President Rivlin and Arianna Rothschild cutting ribbon at new visitor center in Caesarea, Israel

Cutting the ribbon with Baroness Ariana de Rothschild before he headed back to Jerusalem.

Then the party and music really got going.

Perhaps that is why the neighbors were invited along with media and dignitaries?

Fancy ladies loo at launch of Caesarea visitor center.

Though I do not usually take selfies, this outdoor portable toilet fit for royalty needed a photo. Sorry, I cannot share the pleasant smell. This was not your usual portaloo.

The Caesarea harbor is to be once again a major stop for visitors.

I took a short clip from the video, which should be the first stop on a visit to the new Caesarea Visitor Center.

King Herod. King of Judea. Hard to describe in a few words in a blog.

Visitors can now experience parts of his story in Caesarea.

 

Jerusalem after Shavuot – Festival Season

Jerusalem after Shavuot – Festival Season

Oh, time seems to fly in Jerusalem, Israel.

One holiday and major event goes into another on the Jerusalem streets.

Jerusalem Day sign in Hebrew

Yom Yerushalayim, Jerusalem Day, with its multiple events, is over.

Only a few leftover signs and flying flags remain.

Rainbow colors for Pride Parade at Jerusalem Israel e First Station with Italian travel bloggers

Italians were here for an international travel bloggers summit and posed in First Station.

They did not realize the colorful shades were for the Jerusalem Pride Parade.

Pride Parade in Jerusalem Israel and religious men say mincha before start

Before the parade began, near the Liberty Bell Park starting point, I saw this group of security personnel gather for afternoon prayers.

Jerusalem American Center lit at night with colorful lights, Gay Pride month

The American Center is still lit with rainbow-colored lights at night.

Learning for Shavuot night in Jerusalem

There were tens of thousands of visitors in Jerusalem for Shavuot. Synagogues and streets were filled day and night. In this photo, you can see a few of the hundreds of lectures and classes offered.

Israel Festival

Though it’s called the Israel Festival, the decades-old festival is held in Jerusalem, in various venues. This year it runs from May 30 to June 15, with enough programs to fill a newspaper supplement.

I want to share one production by the Elad Theatre held at the Museum of Natural History.

Jerusalem Museum of Natural History entracne

This was the main entrance, back in days of the protests to save the Nature Museum. 

Museum of Natural History in Jerusalem in evening

Coming up the stairs from the parking lot near Emek Refaim as the sun was setting, lights were on at the Jerusalem Museum of Natural History.

Jerusalem Museum of Natural History grounds and pond

Was there always a pond on the grounds? For sure there wasn’t special catering.

The Nature Museum was best known for its large live snakes and tortoises.

Israel Festival Elad Theater setting for Romeo and Juliet

But on the grounds this night there was a table set for a banquet dinner. Dining, dancing with live music, and Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet was on the menu for this Israel Festival event.

Israel Festival production of Romeo and Juliet

Here was Juliet on the balcony of the Nature Museum for the Masquerade Ball.

Romeo and Juliet outdoor in garden of Jerusalem Natural History Museum

At the opening scene, the audience donned masks and mingled with the actors. After drinks, the party was getting going with enthused production extras.

Stage for Romeo and Juliet in the garden of Natural History Museum

Romeo and Juliet met at the ball, but the main scenes were held as the audience dined on the catered food and more wine.

Romeo and Juliet in Jerusalem Israel Hebrew adaptation

The actors used the entire area, including on the tables. There were no bad or back row seats. There was interaction with the audience throughout this Hebrew language adaptation of the Bard.

Romeo and Juliet stage in grounds of Jerusalem Natural History Museum

Shakespeare is not routinely taught in Israeli schools. So in case, you do not know the conclusion of this famous story, I will end with one photo of the fight scene.

The location and weather were fabulous.  It was a great production, even if I did not try the food or drink. I hope this is not the last production of this type.

Sign for Tzamid Festival in Jerusalem Israel

But as soon as the Israel Festival is over, Tzamid Festival, Arts without Boundaries, begins.

Design Week at Hansen House at night

Design Week at Hansen House looks to be bigger than ever.

And the annual Shavuah Hasefer, Hebrew Book Week starts tonight at First Station.

Hebrew Book Week at First Station Shavuah Hasefer

I tried to get a photo of the new signs on the other side near the entrance from the parking lot. But an overly conscientious security guard would not let me get close enough after I walked all the way around.

Graduations and end of year performances, an International Freedom of Press Conference at the Jerusalem Press Club and a Camera event on antisemitism in the mainstream media were all happening last night, along with a concert at the Tower of David for the Israel Festival.

"picture Damascus Gate", "pinball photo", "image of Damascus Gate"

And the annual Jerusalem Light Festival is coming soon.

Amazing and diverse things happening on these Jerusalem streets!

More Romeo & Juliet – The Last Supper – photos HERE

 

Yom Yerushalayim, Jerusalem Day, What Next?

Yom Yerushalayim, Jerusalem Day, What Next?

Yom Yerushalayim. Jerusalem Day.

Another fabulous day of celebrations has passed, celebrating 52 years of reunification in Jerusalem, Israel.

Remembering the divided city and nineteen years under Jordanian occupation is more important than ever as anti-Israel groups spread their narratives.

Yom Yerushalayim posters Jerusalem Day

Celebrating Jerusalem 52 signs lined Jerusalem streets.

On Yom Yerushalayim a large morning prayer service was held at the Kotel, Western Wall, and another with music on the Tayelet Promenade, with the Temple Mount in view.

The official memorial ceremony for Ethiopian Jews who perished on their way to Israel is held in the morning at Har Herzl Military Cemetery.

Israeli Ethiopian memorial in cemetery on Mount Herzl

A government minister and a representative of the bereaved families spoke at the event along with President Rivlin near the memorial for those who died during the treacherous journey from Ethiopia to the promised land.

Then there was another Har Herzl official memorial ceremony for the fallen of the Six-Day War and the War of Attrition.

The list of municipality events is too long to mention, and it was certainly impossible to attend them all. There were free tours, including the reopening of the sifting project, plus musical events and parades.

King George Street Yom Yerushalayim

The long-established parade dancing with flags went through the Old City. While a family-friendly parade begun four years ago was held elsewhere.

Roads were closed. Cyclists rode in from Gush Etzion.

To end the day, there was an official ceremony marking the 52nd anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem, with the President, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion in attendance, at Ammunition Hill.   At the Kotel, the singing and dancing went on until well after dark.

Flags along Jaffa Road for Yom Yerushalayim

Flags lined major routes, such as Jaffa Road along the light rail line. The trains did not run Yom Yerushalayim in the afternoon as thousands walked this way to Jaffa Gate and the Kotel. 

Jerusalem street repair on Yoel Salomon Street

Construction somewhere in Jerusalem is a given, as here on Yoel Salomon Street.

Repairs and painting were slower as this has been the month of Ramadan.

Muslims fast by day and break their fast at sunset meal called Iftar.

President Rivlin hosted iftar meal at Beit Hanasi

President Rivlin hosted an annual Iftar meal in the gardens of Beit Hanasi, the Israeli President’s residence, for 200 guests, including the Ambassadors of Egypt and Jordan and Muslim leaders.

Ben Yehuda Street Muslim women shopping during Ramadan

There is less shopping in Jerusalem by Muslim women during the heat of the day on Ramadan. However, these women were out on Ben Yehudah Street.

Jews were allowed on Temple Mount in the early morning Yom Yerushalayim. Police had to control the Arabs who rioted, screaming and throwing chairs.

Sheikh Jabari and Avi Zimmerman pose after press conference at Media Central

However, this past week Sheikh Ashraf Al Jabari from Hebron joined Avi Zimmerman from Ariel at Media Central for a press conference to discuss the Judea-Shomron Chamber of Commerce, economic cooperation and plans to go to Bahrain.

US Rep Eliot Engel in Jerusalem Israel with IDI and Brookings Institute

Also this week, US Rep Eliot Engel was at the Israel Democracy Institute to discuss his views on US and Israeli relations.

Signs for Israel Festival on Jerusalem Theater

While across the street, the Jerusalem Theater was being readied for the two-week Israel Festival opening night musical event.

Jerusalem Theater stage on Sherover Plaza for Israel Festival

A huge stage was erected in the plaza for bands to play at night.

Jerkily exhibit at Islamic Museum

The Islamic Museum has a new exhibit on jewelry, where old pieces are given a new look by new artisans.

Street sign for Bear Sound

Not just art and design, but the music of Beat/Second filled the Jerusalem streets.

If that is not cultural enough, opera is coming back to Jerusalem.

Opera in Jerusalem Israel in Sultan's Pool

Nabucco, “the beloved opera with the Hebrew slaves choir” is to be performed in the Sultan’s Pool, on June 20.

President Rivlin opened his Yom Yerushalayim evening remarks:

“My brothers and sisters, lovers of Jerusalem, 52 years ago this city was liberated, 52 years since the hearts of millions of Jews, Israel and the world heard the ‘Temple Mount in our hands’…52 years since we stood on the summit of Mount Scopus, touching a dream, a united Jerusalem.”

After dark,  Yom Yerushalayim did not ebb away quietly. Near the Kotel, music, and dancing continued. as tens of thousands of people filled the plaza.

Jerusalem Old City Walls for Yom Yerushalayim

On the walls of the Old City, Facebook comments were projected.

White night for Jerusalem Day

White Night in Gan Sacher, Sacher Park, with live loud music continued all night long.  People as far away as Baka and Arnona said they were kept awake by the music.

But not to worry, no downtime in Jerusalem!

Design Week and Shavuot Hebrew signs in Jerusalem Israel

Another Jerusalem Design Week is coming.

But first, the holiday of Shavuot begins as soon as Shabbat is over.

Again people plan to stay up all night, this time learning Torah.