5 oldest cities in the world worth visiting

Top 10 Oldest Cities in the World

Every city has its own history of creation, but not every one of them can boast of centuries of existence. Some of the settlements that exist today were formed a very long time ago. The age of many cities is established with the help of archaeological and historical researchers whose conclusions indicate the approximate time of their appearance. On the basis of these data we made rating: the oldest cities in the world where the most ancient urban settlements of our planet are considered.

10. Jerusalem


This city is known to many residents of all countries, as it is a holy places of Jews, Christians and Muslims. It is also called the city of peace and the city of three religions. The first traces of man on the territory of Jerusalem appeared in 2800 BC, so it is rightfully considered one of the oldest cities in the world.

During its history Jerusalem has survived multiple wars, twice it tried to destroy it completely, but it still delights us with its grandeur and beauty and happily welcomes pilgrims from all over the world. Jerusalem strikingly blends centuries-old traditions of different nations, which is reflected in the historical monuments, culture of its inhabitants and unique architecture.

9. Beirut


Beirut occupies the 9th position in the ranking of the oldest cities in the world. According to different sources, the city appeared over 3000-5000 years BC. During its existence, Beirut was repeatedly destroyed, but it always managed to rebuild.

On the territory of the Lebanese capital excavations were repeatedly carried out, during which various artifacts belonging to Phoenician, Ottoman, Roman and many other ethnic communities were found. According to studies, written records of Beirut date back to the 14th century BC. Now the city is a tourist center of Lebanon. Its population is 361000 people.

8. Gaziantep


Gaziantep is one of the oldest cities in Turkey and in the world. It is located near the Syrian border. It was first inhabited in 3650 B.C. Until 1921, the city was called Antep, but later it was given the name of Gaziantep, which means “the brave”. In ancient times, the Crusades passed through the city, and in 1183, during the Ottoman Empire in Gaziantep began to build mosques and inns, later it became a commercial center.

Gaziantep is now populated by Turks, Arabs and Kurds and has an estimated population of 850,000. Gaziantep is visited every year by crowds of tourists from different countries. There is a lot to see here: the ruins of ancient cities, museums, bridges and other unique attractions.

7. Plovdiv


The first settlements in the Bulgarian city of Plovdiv appeared 4000 years BC. According to some reports, it is the oldest city in Europe, so it was given the 7th place in the ranking of the oldest cities in the world. In 342 BC Plovdiv was called by another name – Odris. This name can be seen on ancient bronze coins.

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In the 6th century the city was under the control of Slavic tribes, later it became part of the Bulgarian kingdom and was renamed Pildin. During its subsequent history the city fell under Byzantine rule several times and returned again to the Bulgarians. In 1364 Plovdiv is occupied by the Ottomans. The modern city is famous for its many historical monuments and other attractions, known far beyond Bulgaria.

6. Faiyum (El Faiyum).

Fayyum (El Fayyum)

This Egyptian city was founded about 4,000 years BC. It is located on the site of another ancient city Crocodilopolis, southwest of Cairo. The fact that it is one of the oldest cities in the world is evidenced by excavations that confirm the visit of pharaohs of the 12th dynasty. At that time the city was called Shedet, which means sea.

Nowadays El Fayoum is flooded with numerous markets, bazaars and mosques. The city has an unusual infrastructure with a variety of attractions. Rose oil is produced here and exotic fruits and cereals are grown.

5. Sidon


The oldest city in Lebanon began its existence 4000 BC. It is located 40 km from the capital. Historical records show that Jesus and the Apostle Paul visited it. In Phoenician times it was the largest commercial center in the Mediterranean. There is a seaport built in the Phoenician era.

Sidon was many times a part of various states and empires. It was considered one of the most impregnable cities. Now the city has about 200000 inhabitants.

4. Susa


The very first settlements in Susa appeared in 4200 BC, the city is mentioned in the ancient Sumerian annals, as well as in the Old Testament and other holy writings. The city had the status of capital of the Elamite Empire until it was conquered by the Assyrians. In 668 a battle took place during which the city was sacked and burned. Ten years later, the Elamite Empire disappeared.

One of the most ancient cities of Susa suffered many bloody battles and destruction, but each time it was rebuilt. Nowadays, the city of Susa is called Shush and has about 65,000 inhabitants, most of whom are Muslims and Jews.

3. Byblos


Among the three oldest cities in the world is Byblos, not known as Jebeil. This Lebanese city was founded in the 4th or 5th millennium B.C. It was built by the Phoenicians and was called Gebal. On its territory there are many Phoenician shrines, as well as the Church of St. John the Baptist. Biblio began to be called the city by the ancient Greeks who visited the city and bought papyrus here. In ancient times, Biblios was the largest port.

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Biblio writings have never been translated, they are still a mystery left by the ancient city. They bear no resemblance to any of the writing systems of the time.

2. Damascus


The second position is occupied by the ancient city of Damascus. The first mentions of it date back to the 15th century BC. In that period, it was ruled by the Egyptian pharaohs. Later the city was the center of the Damascus Kingdom. During the rest of its existence Damascus many times became part of different states and empires. It is known that apostle Paul visited Damascus and the first Christians arrived here.

Currently, Damascus is Syria’s second largest city and a cultural capital with a population of over 1.5 million people.

1. Jericho


The top of the pedestal rightfully belongs to the oldest city in the world – Jericho. Historians have discovered on its territory the remains of ancient settlements that settled here as early as 9 millennia B.C. The city is located on the shore of the sacred Jordan River, it is known to many people by the biblical writings.

Modern Jericho is a living museum of ancient monuments. Here you can see the ruins left from the palace of King Herod, visit the spring of the Holy Prophet Elisha and various Orthodox shrines. At present it has a population of over 20,000 people.

Top 10: The most ancient cities in the world

Cities with thousands of years of history can surprise you with much more than just beautiful architecture and unique artifacts. They bear the fingerprints of previous eras and civilizations and reflect both positive and negative events of humanity. These cities are full of amazing stories and legends and are the biggest lures for seasoned explorers. Let’s take a look at cities that are almost as old as the hills on which they were built.

Top 10: The Oldest Cities of the World

10. Damascus, Syria The capital of Syria, Damascus, is also the country’s second-largest city with a population of approximately 2.5 million. The city’s history dates back to 10,000 to 8,000 B.C., although the exact time is still debated. Damascus is recognized as one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. The city, located between Africa and Asia, enjoys a favorable geographical location at the crossroads of East and West.

Since time immemorial, Damascus has been a significant cultural, commercial and administrative center. It has been a concentration of local and foreign merchants and craftsmen. The city was shaped by the several civilizations that built it: Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine and Islamic. The old fortress city impresses with its ancient architecture, narrow streets, green courtyards and white houses. Nevertheless, the centuries-old architecture is a bit of a contrast to the stream of tourists who come from all over the world to see this breathtaking place.

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Top 10: The Oldest Cities of the World

9. Athens, Greece The cradle of Western civilization, Athens is the capital of Greece with a population of approximately three million people. It has been inhabited for over 7,000 years. The city’s appearance is marked by Ottoman, Byzantine and Roman civilizations. It is the birthplace of eminent philosophers, writers, playwrights, artists, and the classical style to which they gave rise.

Modern Athens is a multicultural city. It is the cultural, media, educational, political and industrial center of Greece. The historic center of the city is the Acropolis (“high city”), a huge hill with the remains of ancient buildings and the Parthenon. Because Athens is considered a huge archaeological research center, the city is full of historical museums, including the National Archaeological Museum, the Byzantine and Christian Museum, and the New Acropolis Museum.

When visiting Athens, you should not miss the opportunity to visit the Port of Piraeus, which has been the most important port in the Mediterranean for centuries because of its geostrategic location.

Top 10: The Oldest Cities of the World

8. Byblos, Lebanon

Byblos is another cradle of many ancient civilizations. It is one of the oldest cities of Phoenicia (Phoenicia) and has been continuously inhabited for 5,000 years, although the first signs of settlement date back to earlier periods. The Bible is directly linked to the development of the Phoenician alphabet, which is in use even today. It is interesting that the English word Bible is derived from the name of the city, since Byblos was an important port through which papyrus was imported.

Nowadays, Byblos is a popular tourist destination because of how many curiosities it has, including ancient citadels and temples, with picturesque views of the Mediterranean Sea, ancient ruins and the port. Over the years, it has become a modern city, but the imprint of antiquity can be seen with the naked eye. It has an impressive combination of tradition and sophistication and is still alive with its ancient heart.

Top 10: The Oldest Cities of the World

7. Jerusalem, Israel Jerusalem is one of the most visited cities in the Middle East as well as the most important religious destination in the world. As we know, Jerusalem is considered a holy place for Jews, Christians and Muslims. According to the Bible, Jerusalem was founded by David as the capital of the United Kingdom of Israel. Today Jerusalem has 800,000 inhabitants, 60 percent of whom are of the Jewish faith.

Over the years Jerusalem has experienced many tragic events, including many attacks, sieges and destruction. The Old City was founded four thousand years ago. It is divided into four quadrants, which are known today as the Christian Quarter, the Muslim Quarter, the Armenian Quarter, and the Jewish Quarter.

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In 1981 the Old City was inscribed on the list of World Heritage Sites in danger. Modernization has spread far beyond the ancient center. Jerusalem has tremendous symbolic importance for Jewish people from all over the world as it symbolizes their desire to return home.

Top 10: The Oldest Cities of the World

6. Varanasi, India India is the world famous home of ancient civilizations, religions and spirituality. The holy city of India, Varanasi is located on the banks of the Ganges River, which the Hindus believe was founded by Shiva. The history of the city dates back to the 12th century B.C.

Varanasi, also known as Benares, was a destination for pilgrims and wanderers. Mark Twain once said this about this city: “Benares is older than history, older than tradition, and even older than legend. It looks twice as old as all of them put together. Varanasi is a prominent cultural and religious center with many famous poets, writers and musicians residing in the city.

Varanasi had great industrial potential with its high quality fabrics, perfumes, sculptures and ivory trade. It is now a center of arts and crafts. Here you can find almost anything you could imagine, including brocade silk, carpet weaving, toys, glass and ivory work, perfumes, as well as various accessories and jewelry. For some people Varanasi is a true paradise.

Top 10: The Oldest Cities of the World

5. Cholula, Mexico More than 2,500 years ago the city of Cholula developed from many scattered villages. It was home to various Hispanic cultures such as the Olmec, Toltec and Aztec. Its name means “place of flight” in Nahuatl and it was formerly called Acholollan. When the city was conquered by the Spanish, it began to flourish. Cortés once called Cholula “the most beautiful city outside of Spain.”

It is now a small colonial town with a population of 60,000. The Great Pyramid of Cholula with the sanctuary on top is the most notable landmark of the city. It is considered the largest monument ever built by humans. It consists of many tunnels and caves, but only a small part of these tunnels has been converted into passageways and is open to the public.

Top 10: The Oldest Cities of the World

4. Jericho, Palestine Jericho is now a small city of about 20,000 people. The Hebrew Bible calls it the City of Palm Trees. Archaeological excavations have shown evidence of human settlement in this city nearly 11,000 years ago with at least 20 settlements.

Jericho is located in the center of Palestine, which makes it an ideal place for trails and trade. In addition, Jericho’s natural beauty and resources have caused numerous invasions into ancient Palestine. The city was destroyed by the Romans in the first century, rebuilt by the Byzantines and destroyed again before being abandoned for centuries. In the 20th century the territory of Jericho was occupied by Jordan and Israel before becoming part of Palestine in 1994. The most famous landmarks of Jericho are Tell es-Sultan, the Hisham Palace and the mosaic floor of the synagogue “Peace be upon Israel”.

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Top 10: The Oldest Cities of the World

3. Aleppo, Syria The city of Aleppo is the largest in Syria, home to over two million people. Aleppo has an incredibly advantageous geographical location, being at the center of the Great Silk Road that connected Asia and the Mediterranean. The city has remained inhabited for over 8,000 years, but archaeological excavations have uncovered evidence of almost 13,000 years of human habitation in the area. Throughout different eras Aleppo was controlled by the Romans, Byzantines, and Ottomans and ended up being a mix of architectural styles.

The old city is overflowing with hotels, schools, hammams, and churches from the 13th and 14th centuries. Aleppo is also notable for its narrow streets and large haciendas, although the modern part is characterized by wide roads and large squares. What is interesting is that Aleppo is composed of segments, similar to cells, which are socially and economically independent. Over the years, the city has been invaded and unstable, so residents have been forced to fortify the city. Aleppo is often referred to as the “soul of Syria.

Top 10: The Oldest Cities of the World

2. Plovdiv, Bulgaria The history of Plovdiv dates back to 4000 BC, we learned about it through Neolithic excavations. Plovdiv has been ruled by many empires over the centuries, although it was originally a Thracian city. Later it was conquered by the Romans. In the Middle Ages Plovdiv was a tempting territory for the Bulgarian, Byzantine and Ottoman empires. In 1885 the city became part of Bulgaria and is now the second largest city in the country, as well as a significant economic, educational and cultural center.

The old town is definitely worth seeing. It turned out to be crowded with restaurants, workshops and museums, which were formerly famous houses. Archaeological sites, museums, churches and temples are also must-see places in Plovdiv.

Top 10: The Oldest Cities of the World

Luoyang, China While most of the old cities are in the Mediterranean, Luoyang stands as the oldest continuously inhabited city in Asia. It is listed as one of the Seven Great Ancient Capitals of China and is also considered to be the geographical center of China and the cradle of Chinese culture and history. No other city in China has survived as many dynasties and emperors as Luoyang, which has been populated for over 4,000 years and now boasts a population of nearly 7 million.

Thanks to its long and fascinating history, Luoyang has become a spectacular tourist destination. The Longmen Grottoes and numerous historic Buddhist temples are the real attractions of the city. In addition, there is also the famous White Horse Temple (Baimasi) – the first temple built in China.

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