Last updated March 28th 2019
The Romans arrived in Israel around 63 BCE and remained for just under 400 years. It is a period remembered for the destruction of the Second Temple and the crucifixion of Christ, but it was also a period that brought infrastructure, organisation, and prosperity to the region.
During much of the period, Israel was an autonomous region within the Roman Empire: it paid taxes, but was pretty much free to rule itself. If it didn’t pay taxes, the Roman army was at hand to enforce the law – with a large army based out of Caesarea, and later out of Syria.
The Romans were replaced by the Byzantines around 325. The Byzantines were an offshoot of the Romans that survived the fall of the Roman Empire, with a capital out of Constantinople and a mission to spread Christianity – they built lots of beautiful churches around the country.
IMPORTANT ROMAN CITIES
Caesarea | Coast
The most important Roman City in Israel, this was home to the Roman Governor for the region, and the Roman Army. The Caesarea National Park One is one of the most of impressive archaeological sites Israel has to offer.
- Roman Amphitheater,
- the Hippodrome
- Roman Temple
- Roman Aqueduct – and an amazing aqueduct which brought fresh water to the city from Mount Carmel to the north.
Take a ride to Caesarea with Abraham Tours every Monday, Thursday and Saturday with Abraham Tours.
Apollonia / Arsuf | Coast
- Apollonia National Park
- Roman Villa
Acre | Coast, North
Beit She’an | Sea of Galilee, North
Beit She’an was an important strategic town located south of the Sea of Galilee on the trading route from Syria down to Jerusalem and the Mediterranean. It grew in importance during the Greek times, and was inherited by the Romans when they conquered Israel in 63 BCE. It became a wealthy and successful city.
Walk through one of the most preserved Roman cities in the Middle East
- Roman Streets – Walk through original Colonnaded streets
- Roman Theater – Where the Actors performed. Holds 7000.
- Ampitheatre – Where the Gladiators battled. Holds 6000.
- Bath/Gym complex – Original Romans baths, swimming pools and public bathrooms with plumbing.
- Roman Basilica – Roman administration building
- Mosaic – The Roman goddess of good fortune
- She’an Nights – An after dark multimedia attraction that brings the ruins to life.
Looking for somewhere nice to stay. Check out the Setai Sea of Galilee Hotel.
Jerusalem | Jerusalem
- Western wall
- Temple mount
- Davidson visitor center
- Ophel Archeological Park
OTHER IMPORTANT SITES
Masada | Dead Sea, Near Jerusalem
- Northern Palace – Herod’s private palace
- Western Palace – Largest structure on the mount
- Bath House – Large Roman style bath house
- Synagogue – From stable to Synagogue
- Ramps – Roman ramps used during the siege (spoiler alert)
- Water Cisterns – Herod brings water to the Desert
- Masada museum – A nice first stop to get a background of Masada
- After Dark Light show – A multimedia attraction that tells the story of Masada
Herodion | Near Jerusalem
- One of Herod’s many structures
- Built between 23-20BCE
- Burial place of Herod
- Used by the Zealots during the Great Revolt (66CE) – Convert public structure to a synagogue and added two mikvehs.
- Used by the freedom fighters during the Bar Kochva Revolt (132-135CE)- Made escape tunnels
Banias | North
- Palace of Agrippa II
- Herod Philip And Agrippa II’s burial place
- Roman Cardo
- Roman Bridge
- Byzantine Church
- Byzantine Bath house
Tiberias | Sea of Galilee, North
The Roman client king Herod Antipas, son of Herod the Great, made it the capital of his realm in the Galilee and named it for the Roman Emperor Tiberius. The city was built in immediate proximity to a spa which had developed around 17 natural mineral hot springs.
Ellah Valley – Roman Road
- 5 Original mile stone markers from 200CE – Givat Yeshayahu area.
- From Ashkelon to Jerusalem, was a major route connecting the coast to Jerusalem
- Bar Kochva’s last stand against the Romans took place at Betar, along the route.
CONQUERED NABATEAN CITIES
Mamshit | South
- Bath house
- The Western Church
- Roman Fortress
- City Gate/Market
- Nabato House
- City Reservoir
Avdat | South
- Roman burial cave
- City fortress
- Byzantine Churches (2)
- Bath house
- Wine press