Top 10 Oldest Cities in the World

These cities are really old.

by Iva Rizova

The first humans appeared tens of thousands of years ago. Over time, their appearance and their way of life evolved until the first cities appeared. Which are the oldest cities in the world? We did a study and gathered the most ancient ones. But you have to keep in mind that new archeological finds are constantly being discovered, and history is changing, and that is why there is controversy among scholars about the age of cities.

Damascus, Syria


The first evidence of the appearance of people in the area of ​​the Syrian city is from 11,000 years ago. It is believed that the lands were permanently inhabited around 6300 BC, but a large settlement was built four millennia later.

The first historical information about Damascus is from the 15th century BC in the geographical list of Thutmose III. At that time, the city was under the rule of the Egyptian pharaohs.

Damascus became part of Egyptian territory by signing the world’s first peace treaty between Ramses II and Hattushil. The city was part of the territory of many countries, but the Crusaders never managed to capture it, despite several attempts.

Luxor, Egypt


The unification of Upper and Lower Egypt in 3150 BC marked the beginning of the world’s first nation. The history of Egyptian civilization is vibrant, and, logically, at least one of the oldest cities in the world is located on the territory of Ancient Egypt.

If you can’t think of the ancient city of Luxor, it’s because its old name is actually Thebes. The capital of Upper Egypt was also known as the city of a hundred gates.

In the region of Luxor are the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens. UNESCO protects the ruins of Thebes, and, like most Egyptian cities, Luxor also relies on tourism.

Athens, Greece


According to legend, Athena and Poseidon argued over who would be the patron saint of the city. Poseidon created a spring of salt water, symbolizing the power of the sea, and Athena, an olive tree, symbolizing peace. The inhabitants chose Athens, and she became the patron goddess of the city.

The first settlers appeared around the fourth millennium BC. For a long time, Athens was one of the most powerful polises and imposed political hegemony over the entire region. After the conclusion of the Delian League and the ensuing Peloponnesian War, its influence weakened.

In the following centuries, the homeland of democracy was part of the states and empires that included the Greek territory.

Susa, Iran


Before the Assyrians conquered it, Susa was the capital of Elam. The first traces of permanent habitation in the area date back to 7000 BC. The settlement was founded around 4395 BC.

In the 13th century BC, a stone column with the laws of the Babylonian king Hammurabi was placed in the city. Six centuries later, the Assyrian king Ashurbanipal completely destroyed the town.

Despite having a significant cultural and historical heritage, Susa is better known for a fortress built by French archaeologists in the late 19th century to protect the old city than for the ancient ruins.



The holy city of Christians, Muslims, and Jews is the cause of the dispute between Israel and Palestine. Its long history includes 52 attacks, 44 conquests, 23 sieges, and two complete destructions.

The first evidence of the existence and functioning of Jerusalem as a city dates back to the second millennium BC. However, evidence suggests that the Jerusalem area has been inhabited for at least four millennia BC.

Jerusalem was the reason for the Crusades. The goal of the European kings was to return the sacred land to the possessions of the Christians.



The city appeared about 5000 years before Christ, meaning it has had a permanent population for 7,000 years. Due to its strategic geographical location, Argos is in an almost constant dispute with Sparta over control of the Peloponnese, making it an ally of Athens.

During the Roman and later the Byzantine period, the city acquired great importance and did not stop developing.

Several years after the liberation of Greece from Ottoman rule, the government made plans to move the capital from Athens to Argos, but this was never realized, making Athens the oldest capital in Europe.

Aleppo, Syria


According to archeological finds, the area was inhabited about often a millennium BC. However, some scholars believe that the city appeared a millennium later.

Over the years, Aleppo has been part of many kingdoms, sealing its prosperity and decline in its territory. The rich cultural heritage is the reason why in 1986, it passed under the auspices of UNESCO.

Unfortunately, Aleppo is the worst-hit city of the Syrian civil war, and much of its architecture is still being reconstructed. This is probably because Aleppo is the Syrian city with the largest population.

Plovdiv, Bulgaria


The territory of Plovdiv has been inhabited since the Neolithic era, and during the Stone-Copper Age, there were already permanent residents. This means that Plovdiv is a city of over 8000 years and is one of the oldest permanently inhabited cities and the oldest European city.

Such an old town is bound to be full of history. Plovdiv was a settlement of different peoples: Thracians, Romans, Byzantines, Slavs and Bulgarians, Ottomans. In addition, it was an important administrative center of each state of which it was a part.

There are over 200 archeological sites in the region, which attract many tourists, and because of which in 2019, Plovdiv was declared the European Capital of Culture.

Byblos, Lebanon


Archaeological excavations show that the area was first inhabited between 8800-7000 BC. However, the settlement was developed much later – around the fourth millennium BC.

The Phoenician alphabet was created in Byblos, and almost all Phoenician inscriptions found come from there. When it was part of the Kingdom of Egypt, the city was an important trading center because it had one of the largest ports in the Mediterranean Sea.

In 1984 they included it in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Although the Lebanese war in 2006 caused a lot of destruction, today, Byblos is again a popular tourist destination.

Jericho, West Bank (Palestine)


The exact date of the first settlers in the Jericho area is not precise, but they are thought to have appeared between 9600-9000 BC. It may have happened even earlier, which is why Jericho is considered the oldest city globally.

The oldest settlement has the most ancient city wall in the world, built about 10,000 years ago. The reason Jericho has been permanently inhabited for so long is the availability of many sources of freshwater.

For the past hundred years, Jericho has been within the borders of Jordan, Israel and is now part of Palestine.

It does not matter which of these ten cities is the most ancient, as each of them has an extremely rich cultural and historical heritage, preserved over the centuries despite wars and natural disasters. What matters is that nowadays we have the opportunity to visit them and feel the spirit of past eras in their ancient ruins.

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