Monday, February 02, 2009

Then and Now: Caesarea Theater

Visitors to ancient sites in Israel often wonder how much has been restored and how much is original.  Sometimes there is a snaking black line that the restorers have placed just to answer this question.  But oftentimes there is no such indicator, and the tourist may imagine that what he is seeing has stood intact since the biblical period.  One site that I was long unaware of the degree of reconstruction was the theater of Caesarea.  Constructed by Herod the Great, this theater was the location of the incident in Acts 12:19-24 where Herod’s grandson, Agrippa I, was struck down (see Josephus, Antiquities XIX.8.2).  But much transpired between then and now, and the photo below gives an idea of the poor preservation of the upper seating area of the theater.

Caesarea theater under restoration, db6603250808 Caesarea theater, 1966
(from Views That Have Vanished)

Caesarea theater, tb052304860 Caesarea theater, 2004

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3 Comments:

  • Wow. I knew it had been rebuilt some, but it looks like the entire upper section is a modern reconstruction. Do you know if the theater at Beit She'an is reconstructed at all?

    By Blogger psychobob, at Mon Feb 02, 10:01:00 PM  

  • Psychobob - the entire stage area of the Beth Shean theater has been reconstructed. The seating area is largely original, with work to strengthen things for safety, I'm sure. You can see a photo of it in 1965 here:
    http://www.lifeintheholyland.com/views_vanished_bivin_then_now.htm

    By Blogger Todd Bolen, at Tue Feb 03, 09:25:00 AM  

  • Wow. I thought things had changed a lot in the seven years since I was at IBEX...

    By Blogger psychobob, at Tue Feb 03, 02:44:00 PM  

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