Mediterranean Sea, Bethlehem Date(s): April 2012. Album by Kathie Muench. Photos by Kathie Muench. 1 - 42 of 42 Total. 285 Visits.
1 Countryside in Caesarea.
2 Ruins of a Roman aqueduct on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea built by Herod the Great in 25-13 BC.
3 The aqueduct brought running water to the old city of Caesarea from a spring 6 miles away on Mt Carmel. Aqueducts were built on an incline so the water could flow down to the place where it was needed.
4 Mediterranean Sea. The water was warm and inviting.
5 Herod also built the largest of his palaces here on the Mediterranean Sea. It was built on 2 levels.
6 Ruins of Herod's palace.
10 Herod also constructed a hippodrome next to the palace that held 20,000 spectators for chariot races. It is still identifiable, though it is now a banana field. In 2 A.D. an amphitheater was constructed in the hippodrome that was used for gladiatorial contests. It had (and has) a seating capacity of 3,500-4,000. Originally, there was a large stage that blocked the view of the Sea.
11 Near the amphitheater, a stone tablet was found in 1961 with an inscription of the name Pontius Pilate, and dedicated to Tiberius Caesar who nominated him as procurator. This is the only archeological evidence of Pilate's existence that has been found.
12 The 2 level building top left is the ruins of the Governor's house, not far from the palace. It is thought that Pontius Pilate lived there.
13 Floor at Herod's palace.
14 Swimming pool by the lower level of the palace. In Herod's Day it was filled with fresh water.
15 Ruins of the formal dining rooms next to the pool where guests ate reclining on couches, surrounded by pillows.
16 Decorative sculptures remain in the palace ruins.
19 View from the palace ruins.
20 Water cistern at Herod's Palace by the Sea.
21 Two lovely views of the Mediterranean Sea from the site of the ruins of Herod's Palace.
23 Ice plant on the shore of the Mediterranean.
24 The ruins of the ancient biblical city of Bet (or Beit)Shemesh were just recently discovered by archaeologists.
25 The digs. The most ancient iron workshop in the world as well as an advanced water system from the time of the early Kingdom of Judah were found here.
26 Samson traveled down this valley numerous times including the time when he killed the lion and later when he tied the tails of 300 foxes together.
27 The Philistines returned the ark of the covenant to Bet Shemesh through this valley in a cart pulled by a cow (See 1 Sam:6).
28 Cacti at Bet Shemesh.
29 The thistles in my yard aren't this beautiful!
30 Fields of wheat flourish at Bet Shemesh.
31 Crops on fields seen out the bus window as we drive to Bethlehem.
33 In Bethlehem, we wait in line at the Church of the Nativity, one of the oldest continuously operating churches in the world. It is built over the cave that has been traditionally thought to be the birthplace of Jesus Christ.
34 There are actually 2 churches in this building--a Greek Orthodox Church and the Church of St. Catherine, Roman Catholic. There is a cave under each church too. Our guides steered us to the Catholic half of the building because the line was shorter and the cave has fewer decorations so you can see what it might have looked like at the birth.
35 The Sanctuary is ornately decorated and filled with visitors to this place that is important to Christians. We sang Christmas carols in our corner of the room, to honor the Savior's birth. In spite of the noisy crowd, there was a very peaceful, special spirit in this place.
36 We see many early Christian artifacts as we descend the stairs to the cave.
38 The cave where historians say the Savior was probably born.
39 This was hanging on the wall of the cave.
40 St Jerome's statue stands in the courtyard of the church. He spent 30 years translating the Bible from Hebrew and Greek into Latin in a cave beneath the Church of the Nativity. His translation was called the Vulgate and it has been the most enduring version ever translated.
41 As we left the Church of the Nativity, school was over for the day, and the young students at the parochial school there swarmed past us.
42 The girl on the lower right with the pink backpack turned back to face me, smiled broadly, and said "Shalom!"