Top 10 Oldest Cities In The World

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Think you know a little about historical cities? Well, we’re about to test that. We’ve compiled an in-depth list of the top 10 oldest cities in the world. The ages of some of

these towns will completely blow your mind. These cities have all been continuously inhabited, meaning that they weren’t abandoned for hundreds of years at a time. Some historians disagree about the exact ages and ranking of these cities, but overall, this list contains some very old cities.

 

10. Balkh, Afghanistan

Balkh, Afghanistan Oldest Cities

The ancient city of Balkh is located in modern day Afghanistan. It dates back to about 1500 BC. Marco Polo described it as a “noble and great city”. It is well known for its old age. Modern Balkh is known for its cotton industry, produce such as almonds and melons, and processing sheep skins. 

9. Luoyang, China

Luoyang, China

This city is located between the Luo River and the Yellow River in Central China. It is one of the cradles of Chinese civilization and is one of the Four Great Ancient Capitals of China. It has been continuously inhabited since 2070 BC. Luoyang is home to China’s only tomb museum, the Luoyang Ancient Tombs Museum. It opened to visitors in 1987 and is located in the northern part of the modern city. 

8. Damascus, Syria

Damascus, Syria Top 10 Oldest Cities In The World

Some have claimed Damascus to be the oldest continuously inhabited city, but within the area of the city of Damascus proper, there is no evidence of that. Most evidence dates it to the second millennium BC. There is some evidence of civilization in the surrounding Barada basin dating back to 9000 BC, however. You can see why Damascus deserves to be on a list of the top 10 oldest cities in the world! Modern day Damascus is a major cultural and religious hub in the Middle East. 

7. Beirut, Lebanon

Beirut, Lebanon Old City

Beirut, the capital of Lebanon, has been inhabited since 3000 BC. It is located on a peninsula on Lebanon’s Mediterranean coast. It is the country’s largest seaport. In 2015, Beirut was recognized as one of the New7Wonders Cities, so it clearly has cultural significance, both historically and present day. 

6. Luxor, Egypt

Luxor, Egypt Ancient City In The World

Luxor has been continuously inhabited since 3200 BC. It was first established as the capital of Upper Egypt. It is sometimes called the “world’s greatest open-air museum” because ruins of the temple of Karnak and Luxor still stand in the modern city. It is adjacent to the River Nile and is close the Valley of the Kings and Valley of the Queens. 

5. Susa, Iran

Susa, Iran Oldest City In The World

The modern-day town of Shush, Iran is located on the site of ancient Susa. It is located about 150 miles east of the Tigris River. It has been continuously inhabited since long time ago, with archeological digs showing evidence of people living there as early as 3000 BC. It was a major metropolis during the Ancient and Medieval times but was diminished in the 13th century due to being invaded. 

4. Jerusalem, Israel

Jerusalem, Israel

The Old City Jerusalem dates back to about 3200 BC. It is home to many important religious sights for several different religions. It was added as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1981. The Old City is divided into four quarters- the Jewish, Armenian, Muslim and Christian Quarter. Many Christians today make pilgrimages there to visit historical sites relevant to their faith. 

3. Athens, Greece

Athens, Greece Oldest Cities In The World

Historians and paleontologists sometimes disagree on which is older, Athens or Argos, both located in Greece. Both have a civilized human presence distinguishable from about 3200 BC. It can sometimes be hard to determine if a city has been constantly inhabited since its founding. Athens is the capital of Greece as well as the largest city in Greece. Athens is home to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites and many more ancient sites. 

2. Argos, Greece

Argos-Greece-Old-City

A mostly urban settlement, Argos dates back to 3300 BC. Argos is located in the fertile plain of Argolis, and it was a major settlement during the Mycenaen era. It was a rival of the powerful city of Sparta for control of the fertile farming ground in the surrounding areas. Argos was shunned by other Greek cities for staying neutral during the Persian Wars. Many ancient structures still stand today. 

1. Jericho

Jericho Oldest City On Earth

Jericho is a city located near the Jordan River in the West Bank. Paleontologists have discovered traces of habitation there as early as 3400 BC. It is without dispute the oldest walled city, with its fortification dating back early times. Evidence seems to indicate that Jericho was destroyed and rebuilt several times. The city has been held by Israel for 30 years; in 1994 administrative control was given to the Palestinian Authority. Jericho definitely tops our list of the top 10 oldest cities in the world!

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