The Ottoman fortress at the site of Aphek (Tel Afek) is impressive. It was constructed in the 16th century at a choke point between the foothills of the Heartland’s central spine and the swamp of the Yarkon River.* The fortress had a massive enclosure wall and four corner towers, all quite visible today.
The lowest courses of the fortress are seen in this shot. But look closely. The foundation for this portion of the structure is a (Late?) Roman street! The angular pavers and curbing clearly run under the fortress.
Long before the Turks sought to control this space, Herod the Great claimed it and built a city. He named it after his father Antipater. Antipatris, as the Roman city was known, played an important role in the region and is noted in the writing of Josephus and the Bible.
The Apostle Paul traveled through this place after his arrest as recorded in the book of Acts. To prevent Paul’s assassination, the Romans sneaked him by night from Jerusalem to Antipatris. There, the footsoldiers returned to their base while the horsemen carried the Apostle on to Caesarea. See Acts 23:31-32.
Don’t you wonder if Paul himself came into Antipatris on this street?
*The fort is known by the locals as Binar Bashi, a corruption of the Turkish for “fountainhead.”
Our current group of Bible Land Explorers is headed for the Tel Aviv airport this evening. We have had a good time!
If you would like to explore the place where faith begins, you should check out our list of future trips. The remainder of 2020 is sold out, but we have seats available for 2021 and are currently working on group reservations for 2022. Find a trip by clicking the link here or contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.