Map of Ports of Israel, 1918
This page shows four small maps of the port cities of Athlit (Atlit), Kaisariyeh (Caesarea), Jafa (Jaffa), and Yebna (Yavneh) that was in the planning stages at the time. The map was created in London in 1918 by Frederick Bedford who created many maps throughout the Middle East with details of the shores and all the information necessary for the ships arriving in the ports. This map was probably intended for use by the British Navy during World War I.
The map of Jaffa highlights certain landmarks such as the city gates, mosques, the British, French, Russian, and Greek consulates, cemeteries, and agricultural lands around the city. Above the map there is a picture with the title: “View of Jafa from the Northern Rock.”
The map of Atlit includes a subtitle with name of the fortress Castrum Perigirinorum that appears on the site. Templar knights began building the fortress in 1218 during the Fifth Crusade, and it was one of the major crusader fortresses until its conquest in 1291 by the Mamluks. In addition to markings of the beach and the signs of the fortress, the map also features a cemetery, orchards and fields, and an ancient wall.
The map of Caesarea refers to ancient sites and also marks places where important sites once existed such as a temple and a theatre. The map also features the various walls that surrounded the city in different historical periods.
The map of Yavne is titled “Probable Site of the Port of Yebna.” While there wasn’t a port in this area at the time, the British seemed to have deemed it suitable for a new port. The map is marked with ruins, a well, foundations, and “sandhills thickly strewn with broken pottery and marble.”
These maps describe places that exist in Israel today. Jaffa (or Yafo) is an ancient city that is now the southern part of Tel Aviv. Jaffa’s rich history includes biblical stories and historical figures such as King Richard the Lionheart, the Ottoman Sultans, and Napoleon to name a few. Atlit is a small village that was founded in 1903 by Baron de Rothschild. Adjacent to Atlit is a submerged Neolithic village, a crusader outpost, and, from more recent history, a British detainee camp for Jewish refugees who smuggled into Israel illegally in the 1930s and 1940s. Since the establishment of the State of Israel, there has also been a navy base at Atlit. Yavneh was an important Jewish village thousands of years ago when Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai transferred the Sanhedrin (the Jewish court) here after the destruction of the Second Temple. An Arab town was later built on the site, followed by a Crusader castle called Ibelin, and in the Ottoman period, a village. In the twentieth century a nearby kibbutz was named Yavne, and with the establishment of the State of Israel, various Jewish villages were built around Yavne, which officially became a town in 1986. Caesarea today is a national park which includes the ancient remains of the coastal city. It was built by Herod the Great, but changed hands many times in the ensuing years and was a Roman, Byzantine, and Arab village. Next to the ancient ruins is the new town of Caesarea, one of Israel’s more exclusive communities.
Geography and History teachers can use this map to teach about the significance of port cities throughout history, specifically in the Land of Israel.
Geography teachers can also use it in lessons on the geography of Israel to compare between these cities then and now.
It can also be integrated into a History unit about the British Mandate and the need for such maps at the time.
Which places appear in the maps?
What do all four maps have in common?
What landmarks are shown in the maps?
List three items that are marked on each of the maps.
What is the picture that appears on the page?
Reading Between the Lines
In the map of Jaffa there are various consulates.
What is their purpose, and why are they often located at ports?
These maps were made by the British Navy.
Why do you think they wanted maps of port cities of Israel?
The names of the maps also include their historical names.
Research the different places and find out who used these ports throughout history.
Why did the British need maps of ancient ports?
Were there any modern ports in Israel at the time?
Compare these maps to modern-day port cities.
What are the differences?
Choose one of the ancient Israeli ports that appear on the map.
What is in this place today?
One of the maps is Jaffa.
Have you been to Jaffa? Have you been to Tel Aviv?
What were your impressions? (If you haven't been, look for information on the internet).
Create a timeline of the history of one of the ports on the map.
Add pictures or maps to illustrate the different historical periods.