Archaeological evidence proves that the settlement was built there during the Persian period, in roughly the 5th century BCE. That’s more than a thousand years before the Muslim founder Mohamed was ever born. Check out the stunning Fortress!
History of the Fortress
The Crusader city and fortress, now known as Apollonia-Arsuf, were built on a cliff in Israel by the Mediterranean Sea. During the Hellenistic period, people there made a special purple dye and exported it. Later, during the Roman period, the town grew and the town even had an elegant villa. During the Byzantine era, the town became very wealthy and grew to an area of about 70 acres. However, during the Early Arab period, people reduced its area to about 22 acres.
The Crusaders and the Fortress
In 1101, the city fell to the Crusader army led by Baldwin I, King of Jerusalem. The Crusaders constructed a fortress on the cliffs by the sea. They made thick walls and many layers of defense. These inhabitants even dug their own reservoirs to collect rain water for drinking.
In the 1990’s, archaeologists excavated the Apollonia-Arsuf historical site. In 2002, Israel opened the Apollonia National Park for visitors. As there was still much to discover, excavations continued on. The remains above ground before the excavations included the medieval city wall and moat, enclosing an area of about 90 dunam. It also has a Crusader castle with a double-wall system with an area of about 4 dunam. A sandstone reef protects a port with jetties. Archaeologists recovered large amounts of pottery in the area surrounding the city, mostly of the Byzantine and early Islamic period, indicating that the city extended significantly beyond its old walls in the 7th century.
So the next time you’re in Israel, enjoy a visit to this very interesting place! It’s a fascinating area packed with history.