The earth is ancient. Though humans have not always called our amazing rock home, the world is dotted with great cities that can lay claim to a long history. Our endearing species did not settle down for a time. The brutal apathy of history has robbed mankind of many of its early settlements, yet the planet’s oldest cities are examples of a wide variety of cultures and civilizations. What is the world’s oldest city, then? A controversial query, but perhaps you can find the solution here. These are the world’s oldest cities, and they can be found on every continent except Antarctica. Despite being the oldest capital in the world and one of the oldest cities in the world, Damascus is currently off the table due to the unrest in Syria. Additionally, the oldest cities on each continent are included in the list out of geographical fairness.
China is home to many ancient cities, but few are as significant as Xi’an. Xi’an, which was once known as Chang’an, has been inhabited for more than 3,000 years and has been the seat of 13 dynasties (or, if you are keeping score, 73 emperors). It is not without justification that they refer to it as the cradle of Chinese civilization. Any other army of terracotta warriors feels out of place. Not many discoveries are as well-known as archaeological ones.
Archaeologists recently made headlines for finding the full ruins of a 1,800-year-old Roman city near Luxor. Being the location of the Ancient Egyptian capital Thebes, Luxor is no stranger to important historical discoveries, and it is not impossible that more will be made in the upcoming years. Although Luxor is an archaeologist’s paradise, regular travelers will also find a lot to appreciate there. Put on your walking shoes and tour the temples, tombs, and other sites in Luxor, which is sometimes referred to as the largest open-air museum in the world.
On most lists of the oldest cities in the world, Beijing is frequently found close to the top. China’s chaotic capital, one of the largest cities on earth (population hovering at 22 million at the time of writing), is also one of the oldest, with more than 3,000 years of recorded history. Additionally, the enormous metropolis is bordered by historical landmarks, including a particular section of the Great Wall that you may or may not be familiar with. The oldest temple in Beijing, Tanzhe Temple, is usually credited with having sparked the growth of the city. As they say, Tanzhe comes first, then the city…
No, your eyes are not deceiving you. Djenne, a historic city on the banks of the Bani and Niger rivers, may like a scene from a movie, but it is actually a very real location. Despite a turbulent history, Djenne has been inhabited since roughly 2000 BC. The same is true with visitors, however the current scarcity allows for a tranquil trip. Although most people arrive via Mopti in the north, Djenne is eight hours by car from Bamako. The biggest mud-brick building in the world may not be the oldest object in Djenne, but it is certainly one of the oldest things there is. Although mosques have stood here since the 13th century, Djenne’s Great Mosque’s present design was built in 1907.
The world’s oldest religion’s holy city must be quite ancient, right? Varanasi has been a hub of study and culture for more than 3,000 years, and both believers and skeptics have spent generations investigating it. Varanasi may be even older—Shiva is credited with founding the city—but it is now a magnificent city of temples. There are several temples in Varanasi, but the grand Shri Tilbhandeshwar Mahadev Mandir is the city’s first. It was built in the 18th century, which may not seem very ancient given the antiquity of the city, but it is still a beautiful building.
Plovdiv, which is frequently referred to as the oldest continuously inhabited city in Europe, is a city that is still growing and changing. The second-largest city in Bulgaria has been inhabited for 8,000 years, yet a thriving restaurant and cafe culture demonstrates Plovdiv’s desire for adventure. However, there is still a lot for history enthusiasts to appreciate, from amphitheaters to historic villages and more. Nebet Tepe must be visited. Ruins from this hill, which surrounds the city, date to 4000 BC, marking the beginning of human settlement in this region.
It may seem weird to have a city founded in 1788 on our list, much less one on a continent that has been home to people for at least 65,000 years, but the world is a funny place. When a ship of convicts and soldiers headed by Arthur Phillip arrived at Sydney after an arduous trip from the other side of the globe, Sydney became the first city to be founded in modern Australia. The day of the city’s establishment, January 26, is also observed as Australia Day, further highlighting Harbour City’s significance in Australian history. Do not forget to see the Old Government House. It was built at the start of the nineteenth century, making it Australia’s oldest public structure.