Caesarea, Israel

Coordinates: 32°30′10″N 34°54′20″E / 32.50278°N 34.90556°E / 32.50278; 34.90556
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Hebrew transcription(s)
 • standardKeisarya
 • officialQesarya
Caesarea is located in Haifa region of Israel
Caesarea is located in Israel
Coordinates: 32°30′10″N 34°54′20″E / 32.50278°N 34.90556°E / 32.50278; 34.90556
Country Israel
CouncilHof HaCarmel
Founded30 BCE (Herodian city)
1101 (Crusader castle)
1884 (Bosniak village)
1952 (Israeli town)
35,000 dunams (35 km2 or 14 sq mi)
 • Density170/km2 (440/sq mi)

Caesarea (/ˌsɛzəˈrə, ˌsɛs-, ˌsz-/ SE(E)Z-ə-REE-ə, SESS-; Hebrew: קֵיסָרְיָה, romanizedQēsarya, pronounced [keiˈsaʁja]), also transliterated as Keisarya or Qaysaria,[2] is an affluent resort town in north-central Israel, which was named after the ancient city of Caesarea Maritima situated 1–2 kilometres (0.62–1.24 mi) to the south[2] in the adjacent Caesarea National Park.

Located midway between Tel Aviv and Haifa on the coastal plain near the city of Hadera, it falls under the jurisdiction of Hof HaCarmel Regional Council. With a population of 5,997,[1] it is the only Israeli locality managed by a private organization, the Caesarea Development Corporation,[3] and also one of the most populous localities not recognized as a local council.


The Roman theatre

Caesarea Maritima[edit]

The modern town is named after the nearby ancient city of Caesarea Maritima, built by Herod the Great about 25–13 BCE as a major port. It served as an administrative center of the province of Judaea (later named Syria Palaestina) in the Roman Empire, and later as the capital of the Byzantine province of Palaestina Prima. During the Muslim conquest in the 7th century, it was the last city of the Holy Land to fall to the Arabs. The city degraded to a small village after the provincial capital was moved to Ramla and had an Arab majority until Crusader conquest. Under the Crusaders it became once again a major port and a fortified city. It was diminished after the Mamluk conquest.[4] In 1884, Herzegovinian Muslim immigrants who left Austria-Hungary were settled there by the Ottoman authorities.[5] At the time, Caesarea was a semi-demolished archaeological site.[6] Seferović writes that the Herzegovinian Muslims were completely assimilated into Arab culture.[7] In 1940, kibbutz Sdot Yam was established next to the village. In February 1948, the village was taken and depopulated by a Palmach unit commanded by Yitzhak Rabin, following an earlier attack on a bus by the Lehi paramilitary group.[8]

Rothschild Caesarea Foundation and Development Corporation[edit]

After the establishment of the State of Israel, the Rothschild family agreed to transfer most of its land holdings to the new state. A different arrangement was reached for the 35,000 dunams of land the family owned in and around modern Caesarea: after turning over the land to the state, it was leased back (for a period of 200 years) to a new charitable foundation. In his will, Edmond James de Rothschild stipulated that this foundation would further education, arts and culture, and welfare in Israel. The Caesarea Edmond Benjamin de Rothschild Foundation was formed and run based on the funds generated by the sale of Caesarea land which the Foundation is responsible for maintaining. The Foundation is owned half by the Rothschild family, and half by the State of Israel.[citation needed]

The Rothschild Caesarea Foundation established the Caesarea Edmond Benjamin de Rothschild Development Corporation Ltd. (CDC; Hebrew: החברה לפיתוח קיסריה אדמונד בנימין דה רוטשילד) in 1952 to act as its operations arm. The company transfers all profits from the development of Caesarea to the Foundation, which in turn contributes to organizations that advance higher education and culture across Israel.[citation needed] The goal of the CDC is to establish a unique community that combines quality of life and safeguarding the environment with advanced industry and tourism.[citation needed]

Today, the Chairman of the Rothschild Caesarea Foundation and the CDC is Baron Benjamin de Rothschild, the great-grandson of Baron Edmond de Rothschild.

As well as carrying out municipal services, the CDC markets plots for real-estate development, manages the nearby industrial park, and runs the Caesarea's golf course and country club, Israel's only 18-hole golf course.[citation needed]

Modern Caesarea, or Kesariya, remains today the only locality in Israel managed by a private organization rather than a municipal government. It is one of Israel's most upscale residential communities. The Baron de Rothschild still maintains a home in Caesarea, as do many business tycoons from Israel and abroad.[citation needed]

Location and structure[edit]

The town from the air

Caesarea is located on the Israeli coastal plain, approximately halfway between the major modern cities of Tel Aviv (45 kilometers [28 mi] to the south) and Haifa (45 kilometers [28 mi] to the north), and 1–2 kilometers (0.62–1.24 mi) north of ancient Caesarea Maritima. It is situated approximately 5 kilometers (3 mi) northwest of the city of Hadera, and is bordered to the east by the Caesarea Industrial Zone and the city of Or Akiva. Directly to the north is the town of Jisr az-Zarqa.

Caesarea is divided into a number of residential zones, known as clusters. The most recent[citation needed] of these to be constructed is Cluster 13, which, like all the clusters, is given a name: in this case, "The Golf Cluster", due to its close proximity to the Caesarea Golf Course. These neighborhoods are affluent, although they vary significantly in terms of average plot size.[citation needed]


Caesarea is a suburban community with a number of residents commuting to work in Tel Aviv or Haifa.[citation needed]

The Caesarea Business Park is on the fringe of the city. About 170 companies are in the park; they employ about 5,500 people. Industry in the park includes distribution and high-technology services.[citation needed]

The residential neighborhoods have a shopping concourse with a newsagent, supermarket, optician, and bank. A number of restaurants and cafes are scattered across the town, with a number within the ancient port.[citation needed]

Companies founded in Caesarea include supply chain technology developer Wiliot.[9]



  • Beyond the eastern boundary of the residential area of Caesarea is Highway 2, Israel's main highway linking Tel Aviv to Haifa. Caesarea is linked to the road by the Caesarea Interchange in the south, and Or Akiva Interchange in the center.
  • Slightly further to the east lies Highway 4, providing more local links to Hadera, Binyamina, Zichron Yaakov, and the moshavim and kibbutzim of Emek Hefer.
  • Highway 65 starts at the Caesarea Interchange and runs westwards into the Galilee and the cities of Pardes Hanna-Karkur, Umm al-Fahm, and Afula.


Caesarea shares a railway station with nearby Pardes Hanna-Karkur, which is situated in the Caesarea Industrial Zone and is served by the suburban line between Binyamina and Tel Aviv, with two trains per hour. The Binyamina Railway Station, a major regional transfer station, is also located nearby.[citation needed]


The Ralli Museum in Caesarea

The Roman theatre located at Caesarea Maritima often hosts concerts by major Israeli and international artists, such as Shlomo Artzi, Yehudit Ravitz, Mashina, Deep Purple, Björk, Alanis Morissette, Idan Raichel and his project, as well as the Caesarea Jazz Festival. The Ralli Museum in Caesarea houses a large collection of South American art and several Salvador Dalí originals.[10]


Caesarea Golf and Country Club

Caesarea has the country's only full-sized golf course.[11] The idea for the Caesarea Golf and Country Club originated after James de Rothschild was reminded by the dunes surrounding Caesarea of Scotland's sandy links golf courses. Upon his death, the James de Rothschild Foundation established the course. In 1958, a Golf Club Committee was established, and a course was built. American professional golfer Herman Barron, the first Jewish golfer to win a PGA Tour event, helped develop the course.[12] It was officially opened in 1961 by Abba Eban. The Caesarea Golf Club has hosted international golf competitions every four years in the Maccabiah Games. The course was redesigned and rebuilt by golf course designer Pete Dye in 2007–2009.[13]

Notable residents[edit]

Laetitia Beck


  1. ^ a b "Regional Statistics". Israel Central Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 21 March 2024.
  2. ^ a b "Caesarea". The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. HarperCollins. Retrieved 8 September 2022.
  3. ^ "About the CDC". Archived from the original on 8 July 2011.
  4. ^ "Caesarea". Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. Retrieved 26 September 2015.
  5. ^ Seferović 1981, p. 47: "После аустроугарске окупације Босне и Херцеговине 1878. године, једна група херцеговачких Муслимана населила се у Турску Царевину. Тадашње отоманске власти населиле су ову групу у блискоисточној провинцији, у месту Кајреију, на палестинској обали Средоземног мора.".
  6. ^ Seferović 1981, p. 56.
  7. ^ Seferović 1981, pp. 51–52.
  8. ^ Morris 2004, pp. 129–130: "As we have seen, Haganah policy until the end of March was non-expulsive. But there were one or two local, unauthorised initiatives ... And there was one authorised expulsion. The inhabitants of Qisarya, south of Haifa, lived and cultivated Jewish (PICA) and Greek Orthodox church lands. One leading family evacuated the village on 10 January. Most of the population left – apparently for neighbouring Tantura – immediately after the 31 January LHI ambush of a bus that had just pulled out of Qisarya in which two Arabs died and eight were injured (one of the dead and several injured were from the village). The Haganah decided to occupy the site because the land was PICA-owned. But after moving in, the Haganah feared that the British might eject them. The commanders asked headquarters for permission to level the village. Yitzhak Rabin, the Palmah's head of operations, opposed the destruction – but he was overruled. On 19–20 February, the Palmah's Fourth Battalion demolished the houses. The 20-odd inhabitants who were found at the site were moved to safety and some of the troops looted the abandoned homes. A month later, the Arabs were still complaining to local Jewish mukhtars that their stolen money and valuables had not been returned. The Qisarya Arabs, according to Aharon Cohen, had 'done all in their power to keep the peace . . . The villagers had supplied agricultural produce to Jewish Haifa and Hadera . . . The attack was perceived in Qisarya – and not only there – as an attempt by the Jews to force them (the Arabs) living in the Jewish area, to leave . . .'"
  9. ^ Mike Freeman (27 July 2021). "Internet of Things sensor startup Wiliot pulls in $200 million from SoftBank Vision Fund". San Diego Union Tribune. Retrieved 8 July 2022.
  10. ^ "Caesarea". Weizmann Institute. Archived from the original on 19 January 2008. Retrieved 26 January 2008.
  11. ^ Golf Digest magazine, May 2010
  12. ^ "Herman Barron".
  13. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 8 July 2011. Retrieved 22 November 2008.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Country Club – About
  14. ^ "State approves repairs to pool in Netanyahu's Caesarea home – report". Times of Israel. 30 January 2024.


  • Morris, Benny (2004). The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited. Cambridge Middle East Studies. Cambridge University Press. p. 130. ISBN 978-0-521-00967-6. Retrieved 6 October 2023.
  • Seferović, Nina (1981). "Колонија херцеговачких муслимана у Кајзерији у Палестини". In Vlahović, Petar (ed.). Зборник радова Етнографског института (in Serbian). Vol. 12. Belgrade: Етнографски институт Српске академије наука и умјетности.

External links[edit]