Monday, December 27, 2010

Caesarea Storm Damage Assessment

Ran Shapira writes about the storm damage to Caesarea in the weekend edition of Haaretz.  Here are a few snippets:

The original breakwater, Margalit explains, was built in the 1950s. On top of the foundations of an ancient ship that had sunk into the seabed not far from the Herodian port, a thick concrete, L-shaped wall was constructed. The whole vertical part, in relation to the coast line, of this wall collapsed entirely in the storm. Indeed, the waves were so powerful that boulders, each weighing a ton, which had been laid on top of the breakwater to prevent people from walking on it, was swept away as though made of cardboard.

[...]

About 10 days after that meeting, Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov came to Caesarea, where he heard from local authorities about the dangers to the most popular tourist site in Israel after Masada; Caesarea has about 1 million visitors annually. The minister promised to act - but the storm got there before him. The waves, with the help of winds of 100 kilometers per hour and more, fulfilled the darkest of predictions. At present, say Margalit and his colleagues, the ancient port is totally vulnerable to the waves, and there is no way to assess how much damage has been caused below the surface of the water. Other areas of Caesarea archaeological park, north and south of the port, did not benefit even from the protection of the breakwater, meager as it was.

[...]

"We have to merge our efforts to rescue the site," says Margalit. "However, the means at our disposal are meager. The state must join the efforts. If we don't provide an immediate solution, in the next storm the site at Caesarea is liable to collapse totally, including more of the ancient port, the aqueduct, the city wall from the Byzantine period and so on. Even the Roman theater has been left defenseless. If it is hurt, [singer] Shlomo Artzi will have to find another venue for his performances."

The full article is here.

HT: Joe Lauer

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