- Written by Silvia G Golan
With an investment of more than NIS 150 million by the Edmond de Rothschild Foundation, the complex and challenging engineering design of the Caesarea Development Corporation and five years of research and intensive work by the best archaeologists of the Israel Antiquities Authority and experts from the Israel Nature and Parks Authority:
Herod as no one has dared to show him before…
Treasures hidden for over 2,000 years in the land of Caesarea have been revealed and the immense Harbor Vaults have been restored
Honorable President of the State Reuven Rivlin and Baroness Ariane de Rothschild inaugurated the monumental preservation and restoration project of the Harbor Vaults at the Caesarea National Park, as well as the innovative Visitors’ Center that brings the audience face to face with the daring, complex and conflicted figure of Herod- presented as never before.
President of the State of Israel, Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin:
History is not about dry facts or statistics. It is about the lives people lived, the places they loved, and their stories. The Caesarea Vaults restoration project Ensures that the story of this place, and of its connection to the Jewish people, will be told for many, many years to come. On behalf of all Israelis, I would like to thank The Baron and Baroness de Rothschild, And the Edmond de Rothschild Foundation, sincerely
Baroness Ariane de Rothschild:
"Caesarea is an inspiration for our call to co-create the future. We go beyond just acknowledging human diversity. We engage in building a society that is strengthened by all its members, believes and tradition. This call is to improve our selves and pave to way for future generations.
It is a call not only for sharing a history but also to honor our responsibility"
The President of the State of Israel, Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin and Baroness Ariane de Rothschild, inaugurated the massive preservation and restoration project of the Harbor Vaults at the Caesarea National Park and the innovative Visitors' Center established by the Caesarea Development Corporation within the monumental building. The structure was erected by the Great Builder King Herod on the unique harbor pier, built on the open sea, and was the first of its kind in the ancient world.
Herod built the huge vaults- standing 740 meters high and 21 meters in depth, with an average width of 5.2 meters. The vaults were part of the storage system at the port and served as a base for the temple podium dedicated to Herod’s patron, Emperor Augustus. The temple was the beating heart of the impressive city, which in antiquity was a central junction of the global economy and trade between the East and West. The Visitors’ Center, which was built within the reconstructed vaults, combines artifacts from Caesarea's hidden treasures with innovative technology, and introduces the audience to the daring, complex and conflicted image of King Herod- as no one has dared to show him before.
The restoration of the vaults, which were in danger of collapse, was particularly complex and required more than five years of intensive, collaborative work by archaeologists, engineers and preservation architects. In addition to the archaeological excavation, engineering buttresses were required, a meticulous examination of the stability of the walls and the soil layers throughout the area of the vaults, and the careful dismantling and reassembly of the walls of the complex. During the excavation, it was revealed that Herod’s original vaults had collapsed in the past and were reconstructed in the Byzantine period. Notably, the Byzantine restorers were careful to preserve them in the original outline.
The exhibition halls within the heart of the vaults, which include a variety of exhibits and archaeological treasures uncovered during the excavations, are also safely accessible to visitors with special needs. At the center of the exhibition is a screening of an internationally produced historical epic about the very complex figure of King Herod.
The lavish production brings back to life the great vision, intrigues, desires, passions, murders, and dreams that Herod experienced, right here- in the heart of Caesarea’s antiquities. The film was filmed entirely in a vertical format, corresponding to the "screen" which takes the form of an arched vault, standing at a height of 7 meters and built by the hero of the epic- King Herod himself. Hundreds of hours of filming and editing, dozens of extras and sophisticated studios in Europe were required to complete the unique experience now offered by the new Visitors’ Center, in addition to the authentic exhibits uncovered by archaeological excavations at the port, sea and in the region.
President of the State of Israel, Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin: The Caesarea we all see today holds the promise of becoming just as magnificent as the ancient city was, If not more. The Harbor Vaults Project, Which we have gathered here to commemorate, brings us one step closer to this goal. Already, Caesarea attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. And I believe that One day soon, Caesarea will take its rightful place as one of the world's most impressive windows, to the ancient past. A project of such scale and importance would have been impossible without the support Of the Caesarea Development Corporation and the Rothschild family. The Rothschild family has helped lay the foundations of the State of Israel. Especially, in their support of higher education in Israel, And in their commitment to bring together all "tribes" of Israeli society, The Rothschild family makes a real and positive impact on the future of this country. On behalf of all Israelis, I would like to thank The Baron and Baroness de Rothschild, And the Edmond de Rothschild Foundation, sincerely.
Baroness Ariane de Rothschild: "Caesarea is an inspiration for our call to co-creates the future. We go beyond just acknowledging human diversity. We engage in building a society that is strengthened by all its members, believes and tradition. This call is to improve our selves and pave to way for future generations.
It is a call not only for sharing a history but also to honor our responsibility."
The excavation, preservation and restoration of Caesarea Harbor, with a huge investment of more than NIS 150 million, included the preservation and restoration of the ancient synagogue, the construction of a promenade at the Crusader walls, restoration of the Roman aqueduct and the restoration and preservation of the temple vaults, the temple platform and the staircase leading to it. The newly inaugurated Visitors' Center further enriches the experience of visiting the National Park and Caesarea Harbor- one of the leading tourist sites in Israel. The project is another historic step in the work of the Edmond de Rothschild Foundation, led by Baron Benjamin and Baroness Ariane de Rothschild, the successors of the vision set forth by Baron Edmond de Rothschild- the founder of the foundation. This is another link in the chain of generations of the Rothschild family, who continue to work towards the fortification of the State of Israel - through settlement, industry, science, culture and higher education, in the spirit of the vision of the father of all settlements, the famous philanthropist, Baron Edmond Benjamin de Rothschild.
The Edmond de Rothschild Foundation is spearheading the project through the Caesarea Development Corporation, led by the Vice Chairman of the foundation, Guy Swersky, and CEO Michael Karsenti. The excavation, restoration, and preservation of the harbor vaults and the other hidden treasures of ancient Caesarea are managed by the archaeologists and staff of the Israel Antiquities Authority, headed by Israel Hasson and in coordination with the Israel Nature and Park Authority, headed by Shaul Goldstein.
As part of the project, digs of the Israel Antiquities Authority, have recently uncovered three more exciting finds near the vaults: A mosaic floor from the Roman period, which was found in a bathhouse next to the temple's podium and has been replicated in the entrance area to the Visitors' Center. The colorful mosaic floor with geometrical patterns was part of a semi-dome structure that may have been used for ritual or public purposes and was probably built during the 2nd or early 3rd century CE. It was part of the embellishment of the western façade of the podium of the Temple of Augustus and Hera, the goddess of Rome in Caesarea. The walls of the building were covered with marble slabs, and in front were two pedestals originally carrying statues or other architectural decorations.
The second archaeological find uncovered during the excavation was a cache of about 500 bronze coins from the Byzantine period (6th-4th centuries CE). The treasure, identified by Dr. Donald Zvi Ariel of the Israel Antiquities Authority, was probably buried in a leather bag or other material that had eroded over the
years. It was discovered when one of the vaults was exposed. In the absence of a “bank”, as known to us today, the coins were hidden "under the tiles," that is, under the floor of a magnificent church building from the Byzantine period- probably the cathedral of the city, which served as the bishops' seat. According to Dr. Peter Gendelman and Dr. Uzi Ad, excavation managers on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, "It’s possible that the burial of the coins is related to the construction of the church complex on the temple podium, since it is known that during this period, the church also took part in the administrative functions of
the city." According to Dr. Gendelman, "The owner of the treasure did not return to retrieve it, and so we found it instead. The reason for his non-return will probably remain a mystery."
The third recent discovery was a mosaic from the 5th century CE bearing a Greek inscription "He who knows all is Hosea and he is blessed." During an archaeological dig in the huge warehouse complex that was built at the port in the Byzantine period, an inscribed greeting was discovered in one of the entrances to the warehouses. It appears to have been intended for the warehouse operators and sea farers. The inscription, located within a mosaic circle, was deciphered by Dr. Leah Di-Segni of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. During the Byzantine period, Caesarea was a bustling port city and one of the largest ports of the Byzantine Empire. The warehouse area, which served as transit warehouses for the entire region, extended over 2,500 square meters and included public and private goods. The excavations revealed evidence of trade with Italy, Greece, Turkey, and even the area known today as England.
Caesarea Harbor and its antiquities is one of the most popular tourist sites in Israel. The new Visitors' Center was designed and created by Breeze Creative, which specializes in the planning and construction of museums and visitor centers. The Visitors’ Center is included in the entrance fees to the National Park. Each year, tens of thousands of Israeli families and hundreds of thousands of tourists from abroad enjoy the compound all year round. They visit the beautiful Roman theater, tour the fort promenade with its fortifications and watchtowers, admire the ancient synagogue that attests to Jewish life in the city, walk among the remains of the palace and temples and marvel at the aqueduct. During holidays and breaks, horse racing shows and
performances are held in the ancient hippodrome preserved on the site. In between, you can spend time in the artists' square, the cafes and the variety of enticing restaurants, overlooking the open sea.
The new visitors’ center will open to the public on June 1st.
Entrance to the center is free of charge for National Park ticket holders (NIS 39 per adult, NIS 24 per child, free of charge for Israel Nature and Parks Pass Members).
Video from the event:
- Video in English- https://youtu.be/GrmF3Gldj0w
Credit: Breeze Creative
Photos Silvia G. Golan
- Written by Talma Gotteiner
Tightening Ties: Sichuan Airlines Celebrated its Direct Flights to Tel-Aviv
A high-level delegation headed by the district president of Sichuan, the largest province in China arrived in Tel Aviv in honor of the success of the airline that opened between Tel Aviv and Chengdu, the capital of the province.
The first flight between Israel and Chengdu, the capital of China's largest Sichuan province, was made in September, and a high-level delegation headed by the Sichuan province secretary, Peng Qinghua, arrived in Israel.
The event, which was held in Tel Aviv with the participation of some 100 senior officials who first arrived in Israel from Sichuan, alongside the senior officials of the tourism and aviation industry in Israel, was aimed at strengthening trade and tourism ties between the two countries.
President of the province Pen Qinghua estimate that in 2019 more than 20,000 Israelis will fly on the direct flights to Sichuan. He added that Sichuan has established itself as a rich and technologically advanced business capital, alongside a tourist destination attracting millions of tourists.
Among the industry leaders who honored the event were Amir Halevi, Director General of the Ministry of Tourism, Gideon Tahler, Chairman of Tal Aviation, the official representative of Sichuan Airlines in Israel, Nissim Sagis, VP of commerce for Tal Aviation, Hanny Sobol, CEO The Israel Association of Travel Agencies & Consultants, Prof. Israel (Izzy Borovich) Dean, School of Management and Economics at The Academic College of Tel Aviv Yaffo, Li Haiying, Chairman of Sichuan Airlines Group and many more.
Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province in China has for more than 2,400 years been the center of life and the main artery of China. The panda has become one of the symbols of the province thanks to the world's largest conservation reserve in Chengdu and is one of the most important breeding centers in the world of pandas.
The south of the province is considered the rice basket of China, and in the north, there are amazing nature reserves, the most beautiful in all of East Asia. In the west is the Tibetan plateau, which is characterized by valleys with peaks of 5,000 meters or more. Tibetan minorities live in this area and maintain a traditional lifestyle and celebrate colorful festivals. Sichuan cuisine is considered the best in China.
Sichuan Airlines operates two direct weekly flights, which are considered the shortest between Israel and China, and is soon planning to add a third flight.
In honor of the occasion, the company has launched special prices.
A plane ticket including taxes and baggage to Chengdu will start at $553, and to Beijing from $517.
Sichuan Airlines is represented in Israel by Tal Aviation.
Photos by Silvia Golan
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- Written by Israel Tourism Ministry
- Campaign launched in Europe in advance of Eurovision
- The ministry is leveraging Eurovision as an opportunity to market Israel as an attractive culture and lifestyle tourism destination
Tourism Minister Director-General Amir Halevi: “We see Eurovision as an opportunity to promote Israel throughout the year as a culture and lifestyle destination and we will continue to feature Eurovision in our marketing materials in the coming months. We are in a period of record incoming tourism, with about 400,000 tourists arriving every month to enjoy Israel’s pleasant year-round climate, its beaches, culture, lifestyle and, in particular, the unique atmosphere of Israel.”
“Douze Points” video: In April, the ministry launched a video clip in Europe, featuring Shir Elmaliach, the Israeli presenter for Israel tourism, and Sagi Braitner. The video clip, which is called “Douze Points”, has been widely viewed across Europe, with more than 50 million views (in all the countries), more than 200 million impressions and 2.5 million clicks to the dedicated landing page established for this purpose.
Click here for the movie (Credit LAPAM)
Tours: During Eurovision week, the Israel Ministry of Tourism has arranged tours to the Dead Sea and to Jerusalem for hundreds of journalists who arrived from around the world to cover the Eurovision. Yesterday (Monday), the ministry, in cooperation with the Global Tel Aviv and the GPO, arranged a tour to the world’s largest natural health spa, the Dead Sea. The Tamar Regional Council set up a VIP area for the journalists, complete with complimentary massages, Dead Sea mud, buffet, cocktail bar, music and more. Tomorrow, Wednesday, the ministry will lead more tours to Jerusalem.
Information booth for tourists: At Ben Gurion airport, incoming tourists are greeted at a special Israel Ministry of Tourism Eurovision-branded information stand staffed by the Tourism Ministry and volunteers from the Tel Aviv-Jaffa municipality, where they can receive information, recommendations etc. Photo attached, no credit needed.
Rights to use Eurovision content: As part of the marketing activities related to Eurovision, the Israel Ministry of Tourism has purchased the rights from Kan, the Israel Public Broadcasting Corporation to use material from the Eurovision, including video segments, logo, etc, in order to leverage the competition overseas, which is where the heart of the ministry’s activities lie.
Other PR activities in Europe include, among others:
- The Israel Government Tourist Office in London is collaborating with Attitude, the UK’s best-selling gay magazine, in co-sponsoring the live broadcast of the final at a Soho club to an invited audience of leading figures in the travel and LGBT communities
- In Sweden, the local IGTO with the Stockholm municipality is co-sponsoring the live broadcast of the final in the main square. This event will include the broadcast of the “Douze Points” from the Swedish jury. Digital screens throughout the city carry the message “From Stockholm to Tel Aviv, good luck in the Eurovision!” and carry the latest Israeli tourism commercials. In addition, a branded truck is currently touring cities in Sweden and Denmark, giving away tourist information and competition prizes of city breaks to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
Photos by Israel Tourism Ministry
- Written by Silvia G Golan
NEWS FROM THE DAN HOTELS ISRAEL Happiness is Around
Dan Hotels is excited to announce the re-opening of Dan Caesarea
After eight months of renovation work, Dan Hotels is re-launching Dan Caesarea under a unique concept. The iconic Dan Caesarea Hotel, established in the 1960s by Baron Rothschild, has now become an updated innovative resort at an investment of NIS 80 million. The entire complex, comprising 116 guestrooms and suites; lobby; dining room; children's Danyland club and all the public areas are renovated and upgraded and completely transformed. In addition, the property’s 62 verdant dunams have been newly landscaped.
Salon Bocca replaces the lobby area, offering delicious cocktails prepared especially for the resort by the Suramare group, (an exclusive Tel Aviv culinary bar), to accompany an original and appetizing menu. Beside the pool, you can enjoy the casual atmosphere of Limonada Bar providing a refreshing selection of summer drinks alongside exclusive cocktails.
Greek Style Tavern
here is a new Greek-style ‘Tavern” that will supply you with a well-stocked picnic hamper to enjoy in the resort’s spacious and welcoming gardens.
Throughout the hotel, you will find contemporary Israeli art, with 15 monumental sculptures by the award-winning Israeli sculptor, Yaakov Dorchin, in the gardens, and works of art in the guestrooms, created by the late Rita Alima.
Ronen Nissenbaum, CEO commented: "We are proud and excited to re-launch Dan Caesarea with a unique and innovative concept that will offer guests stylish rooms, fascinating art, a culinary experience with contemporary bars, all set in beautifully landscaped gardens that create a magical atmosphere. We have invested heavily in the development of this concept, which has become an up-to-date resort that offers an exceptional hospitality experience for both Israeli clientele and tourists. "
The renovation project was a complex task, headed by Daniel Federmann, who with his talented team created this new and up-to-date concept. Architect Ilan Pivko redesigned all the public areas and Roni Federmann, the project's architect, together with Esti Robinson and the staff of the Dan Hotels technical division, redesigned the rooms ensuring great satisfaction for every guest. Designers Philippe Boulakia and Dikla Robinson created a new and refreshing approach that connects the location with nature. The guestrooms have been designed to ensure they are light and airy and allow the view to wrap itself around each room. The unique balcony structure allows visitors to enjoy an open view with maximum privacy with a double seating area overlooking the grounds.
Bentzi Arbel, who is responsible for some of the leading concepts of the Tel Aviv culinary scene, created the concept of Happiness is Around, which describes the spirit of the resort from its design to the service. The art displayed throughout the Resort is from the Gordon Gallery collection, adding another unique touch to this magnificent property.
The materials used in the rooms are natural walnut veneer combined with original woodwork and furniture, gathered from around the world. A fine Italian walnut floor is set at an angle to the view and the unique mask installed in every room was created by the artist Tzachi Nevo especially for this project. The addition of a floating ceiling designed by Roni Aloni enhances the atmosphere of freedom.
The separate sleeping area contains a queen-size bed wrapped in cloth, with a pampering mattress to ensure a good night’s sleep. Guests will be delighted with the Bluetooth gramophone, a mood lamp and focused reading lamps, as well as a 55-inch high-end TV. The extra spacious bathroom, complete with bathtub, shower, and an expansive marble surface in a classic cut stone finish, is separated from the room by a light Italian sliding door. All rooms are equipped with a well-stocked bar and a unique coffee machine complete with a selection of fresh coffee beans for grinding. Consideration has also been given to guests’ sense of privacy, resulting in each room having its own private entrance hall.
The perfect resort:
The renovated Dan Caesarea is the perfect location for families, as it provides a wide range of activities for all ages. The spirit of innovation did not skip the guests’ children, as a new and unique Danyland has been built for our younger generation of visitors. This new complex, never seen before in Israel, was designed by Philippe Boulakia and Dikla Robinson, who chose attractive pastel colors for the decor. The activity areas were designed with a deep understanding of what today’s children enjoy, combining a selection of retro games and technological innovations. Among the attractions that the Danyland club offers are a unique aquarium; a world of dinosaurs that combines a classic sandbox with a 3D projection, and a wealth of possibilities for an exciting gaming experience.
The swimming pool has a pool table standing in the water and tree houses have been embedded into some of the trees around the pool, enabling a delightful play experience. There is a variety of sports activities on offer such as a basketball court designed with unique graphics, a soccer field, a tennis court, mini golf, table tennis and more. Many guests will also be enthralled with the variety of retro games reminiscent of the carefree days of the 60s and 70s.
Finally, the renovated Dan Caesarea would not be complete without a pampering spa complex. There are wet and dry saunas and a state-of-the-art gym with high-quality equipment connected to advanced systems. From June there will be six advanced treatment rooms available, offering an exciting and pioneering treatment menu.
All these facilities together with a beautiful view of the resort’s pool and lawns - Dan Caesarea is ready to welcome its guests for a wonderful new experience
Hotel Tel. +972-4-6269111
Photos by Silvia G. Golan
- Written by Mihal Mizrahi
On May 13, 2019, the Embassy of Ireland hosted a ُEurovision party. The celebration was held at the home of the Ambassador of Ireland to Israel, H.E. Alison Kelly, and the embassy of Austria was hosted as well, with the Eurovision contestants from both countries attending.
The home of the ambassador was decorated with the colors of Ireland: green and orange, as a festive environment enveloped guests in anticipation of the Eurovision contest.
The evening featured performances by both singers with their respective songs. Ambassador Alison Kelly wished good luck to the contestant of Austria, Pænda, but she also said that she “Firmly believes that Ms. McTernan will win the competition and make the best representation of her country.” The ambassador reiterated the importance and relevance that Austria has for her personally since she represented Ireland in Austria when she was just starting her diplomatic career.
The Austrian contestant, Pænda, was well prepared and took the stage playing the keyboard as well as singing. The star of the night, of course, was the Irish contestant, Sarah McTernan, who told the guests how thankful she was for being able to perform there and how much she and her crew had prepared for this moment.
Diplomacy.co.il and Debate for Peace wishes the best of luck to the contestants and the embassies
Mihal Mizrahi is a member of DebateforPeace
Photo Silvia G. Golan