A 2,000-year-old Roman access road found near Jerusalem. A 2,000-year-old Roman access road found near Jerusalem. The date of the road's construction is believed to be around the year 130, when Emperor Hadrian came to the area. (Photo: Israel Antiquities Authority)

'Extraordinary' 2,000-year-old road lets you take a stroll through Roman history

The road, recently discovered near Jerusalem, was once the route for emperors.

The Roman Empire's success was due thanks in large part to its system of roads, parts of which continue to be discovered to this day.

In Israel, that's exactly what happened recently when archaeologists came across a 2,000-year-old Roman roadway in an "extraordinary state of preservation," just outside Jerusalem.

Aerial of 2,000 year-old Roman road.An aerial view of the Roman road uncovered during excavations ahead of the installation of a water line near Jerusalem. (Photo: Israel Antiquities Authority)

"The road that we discovered, which 2,000 years ago passed along a route similar to [Israel's] Highway 375 today, was up to [20 feet] wide, continued for a distance of approximately [1 mile], and was apparently meant to link the Roman settlement that existed in the vicinity ... with the main highway known as the 'Emperor’s Road,'" said Irina Zilberbod, who led excavations on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

Shot of archaeologist Irina Zilberbod who led the excavation.Archaeologist Irina Zilberbod led the excavation of the road (which she is standing in the middle of). (Photo: Israel Antiquities Authority)

As the Roman Empire grew to encompass much of the known world, authorities realized the importance of developing road systems that would allow for easy navigation. Often impetus for their construction would come at the behest of visiting rulers.

That's exactly what inspired the "Emperor’s Road," which is believed to have been built ahead of Emperor Hadrian’s visit to the area, and which necessitated the roadway.

Aerial view of 2,000-year-old road found near Jerusalem.The road is 20 feet wide at points and runs nearly a mile. (Photo: Israel Antiquities Authority)

Archaeologists also made a significant discovery amongst the pavement stones that constituted the road: several coins including one from the Umayyad period and one of Agrippa I from 41 CE that was minted in Jerusalem.

Coins found amidst 2,000 year-old Roman road near Jerusalem.These coins were an additional find at the newly discovered site of an ancient Roman road outside Jerusalem. (Photo: Israel Antiquities Authority)

And in what is sure to be welcome news to antiquities buffs, authorities say because the road sits near part of the Israel National Trail, a modern-day cross-country hiking route, it will be preserved for public viewing.

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