Oldest Cities in the World
The oldest civilizations in the world date back thousands of years and are some of today’s wonders of the world. Every old city comes with its own story, traditions, and legends. The world’s oldest cities have stood the test of time through wars, invasions, and the elements. Today, they are some of the largest cultural destinations for travelers coming from afar.
It can be difficult for history to be completely accurate, especially ancient history. It can be hard to pinpoint exact dates or years without a written record of events and with the loss of archaeological evidence to time and destruction. We also face the challenge of whether a settlement or civilization became a city – which some scholars argue happens when the settlement establishes trade and other argue is when the settlement develops plumbing. Despite this, we are still able to collect information on cities from thousands of years ago B.C.
A majority of the world’s oldest cities are located in the Middle East. The Middle East was the growth place for civilization, including trade, culture, and the alphabet. These cities have cultural, economic, and religious significance in history and the present.
The eleven oldest cities in the world that are still inhabited today are:
- Damascus, Syria (10,000 B.C.)
- Jericho, West Bank (9,000 B.C.)
- Plovdiv, Bulgaria (7,000 B.C.)
- Susa, Iran (7,000 B.C.)
- Faiyum, Egypt (5,200 B.C.)
- Aleppo, Syria (5,000 B.C.)
- Byblos, Lebanon (5,000 B.C.)
- Athens, Greece, (5,000 B.C.)
- Argos, Greece (5,000 B.C.)
- Beirut, Lebanon (5,000 B.C.)
- Sidon, Lebanon (4,000 B.C.)
Damascus, Syria, is believed to be the oldest city in the world that is still inhabited today. Excavations at Tell Ramad on th eoutskirts of the city have provided indication of inhabitants as early as 10,000 B.C. Today, the city is home to about 2.5 million people and was named the Arab Capital of Culture in 2008.
Jericho is the oldest city that is still inhabited today. Dating back to 9,000 B.C., Jericho was first visited by Mesolithic hunters. Over the next few thousand years, it is believed the occupation of Jericho was intermittent due to its repeated nomadic settlers. In Biblical history, Jericho is known as the first town attacked by Israelites under Joshua (Joshua 6).
The very first cities to exist in the world were developed during the Neolithic age. Once the centers of civilization of their time, some cities still serve as capitals or large cultural centers while others only have ruins remaining and serve solely as tourist attractions.