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Caesarea, Caesarea

Israel's insider take:

Located on the coast 35 miles north of Tel Aviv, Caesarea is one of Israel's most important archaeological sites. Built by Roman-appointed King Herod the Great, the settlement of 100,000 people included a harbor, a stone amphitheater, an aqueduct, and a hippodrome. Remnants—including Herod's palace—now dot Caesarea's tourist zone, along with 12th-century forts built during the Sixth Crusade. While Caesarea's aboveground attractions are among Israel's most compelling (especially that chariot-ready hippodrome), in 2006 Caesarea opened an underwater archaeological park—the world's first—spread over 239,000 square yards of the sea floor. Aimed at both advanced and novice divers (the latter can opt to snorkel around the harbor), the underwater park offers four different routes (printed on waterproof maps) for viewing sunken anchors, statues, and Roman shipwrecks.

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