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Mediterranean Sea in Gaza City

Gaza city

In antiquity, Gaza port was the principal port on the Mediterranean serving the Incense Road. Strabo and Ptolemy referred to it as Gazaion limen. The port was distinct from the city, which was located opposite it. Under Constantine the Great, the settled area around the port was granted city status and named Konstaneia. Under the emperor Julian, it was downgraded and the name was changed to Maioumas ("harbor place"). It became associated at this time with a pagan festival.

The Port of Gaza was at the end of the Nabataean spice road where trade was conducted in herbs, spices incense, drapery, glass and food. Goods arrived in the port on the backs of camels from Southern Arabia (the Kingdom of Sheba) through Petra, the Arava Valley and crossing Negev Desert via Avdat. At the port of Gaza, these goods were dispatched to the European markets.