Yarkon-Tel Afek - Antipatris

About this place

Tel Afek is an archaeological site. The name refers to the nearby Afikim Springs which provide water to the Yarkon River. The city was on the ancient trade route between Arabia and the Mediterranean and the Roman Via Maris road that connected Mesopotamia, Syria, and Asia Minor in the north to Egypt in the south. Successive cities have been established at this strategic location over the last 6000 years.

History of Antipatris / Tel Afek

Afek was inhabited as far back as the Chalcolithic period (4500-3150BC) and the first wall was built here in the early Canaanite period (3300-3000BC). Afek was one of the Canaanite cities that is mentioned in Joshua 19:30 as belonging to the Tribe of Asher. Assyrians took the city in the 8th-century BC and the Babylonians and Persians also spent time in Afek. 

During the Hellenistic period, the town of Aphik grew into a well-established city that continued to be used when the Romans took over in 63 BC. The Romans ruled Aphek for 400 years and when Herod expanded the city he renamed it Antipatris. The Roman city of Antipatris reached its peak in 132-324AD.

The city did not recover from an earthquake in 363 AD, and for most of the Byzantine period, it was reduced to a simple military station. In the 12th-century the Crusaders renamed the city Recordane and fortified the northern section of Aphik to protect the route to Nazareth. A two-story fortress has survived from the Crusader era where the lower level housed a water-powered flour mill.

Historic documents show that Afek became part of the Ottoman Empire in 1517. The Ottomans added to the Crusader mill by adding stairs to the roof, and two more wheel-chambers. Under the British Mandate (1920-1948) a pumping station was built on the tel (hill). The pump channeled water to Jerusalem until 1939. 

Highlights of Tel Afek

-The Crusader/Ottoman fortress and the 16th-century Ottoman khan which served as a hostel for caravans passing through the Holy Land.

-Reconstructed Bronze Age (1550-1200BC) houses stand on the northwest corner of the fortress.

-Ruins of the Roman city of Antipatris including the Cardo, and fragments of homes, and the forum.

-At the end of the Cardo is the excavated Roman Odeon, a small semi-circular theater.

-The abandoned British water pumping house where water was pumped up from the spring, filtered, chlorinated, and stored.

-On the western side of the archaeological site is an artificial lake that fills up from the Yarkon Springs.

To visit Antipatris feel free to book one of our private tours.

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