Cities which stood the testimony of time have more than just ruins from the history; they depict both positive and negative influence of human civilization. These oldest cities have great tales and architecture, though only a few ancient cities are ticking today. There are some confusions regarding historical record. So, some of the cities have been added due to the cultural and religious significance of the area.
Here’s the list of oldest consistently inhabited cities worldwide –
10. Beirut, Lebanon
The largest and capital city of Lebanon along with its administrative, cultural and economic hub, Beirut has long-back history of around 5000 years. During the excavations, the city unearthed the remains of Roman, Hellenistic, Phoenician, Arab, and Ottoman civilizations. It has been mentioned in the letters to Egypt’s pharaohs in 14th Century BC. Since the Lebanese civil war ended, Beirut has become modern yet lively tourist destination.
9. Plovdiv, Bulgaria
With the population of over 341,567 citizens, Plovdiv is second largest city after capital Sofia in Bulgaria. Originally, Plovdiv was a Tracian settlement before it became a leading city of Rome. Later on, it fell into the hands of Ottoman and Byzantine civilizations, before being the city of Bulgaria. It is a leading cultural center and it has the ancient remains like Ottoman baths, and a Roman aqueduct and amphitheatre. It is a major transport, economic, cultural and educational hub of Bulgaria. It inhabits human civilizations since 6th millennium BC when it established the first Neolithic settlements.
8. Gaziantep, Turkey
It is a city located in the southeast Turkey and one of the oldest constantly inhabited cities. It is located around 127 km north of Aleppo, Syria by road and 185 km northeastern part of Adana. The history of Gaziantep extends far ahead of Hittites. Restored by Byzantines in 6th century, the Ravanda citadel is located in the heart of the city and Roman mosaics have been found too.
7. Fayum, Egypt
Located around 130km southwest of Cairo in Middle East, Faiyum is the capital city in the modern Faiyum Governance. Located around 100 km southwest of Cairo, Faiyum is originally known as the Shedet in Ancient Egypt and called as the Krocodilopolis by the Greeks. It is among the oldest cities of Egypt because of its location. The town was founded in 4000 BC, making it one of the oldest African cities. Modern Faiyum has a lot of mosques, markets and baths, and Hawara and Lehin pyramids are also located nearby. The occupations in Fayum date back to around Epipalaeolithic era, as per the archeological evidence.
6. Sidon, Lebanon
In Lebanon, Sidon is the third largest city located in Southern Governance of Lebanon, around 40km north of Tyre, on Mediterranean coast, and 40 km south of Beirut. It is perhaps the oldest and most important Phoenician cities. Sidon is a grandson to Noah and son to Canaan. In the early 20th century, it has two castles which were restored and cleaned by the French. It was the base of great Mediterranean empire of Phoenicians. Both St. Paul and Jesus are known to have visited Sidon, and Alexander the Great captured it in 333 BC.
5. Susa, Iran
Susu was actually an ancient city of the Persian, Elamite, and Parthian empires in Iran. It is positioned in lower Zagros Mountains around 250 km east of Tigris River, from Karkheh to Dez Rivers. It appears in the earliest records of Sumerians, i.e. in the Lord of Aratta and Enmerkar, it is known as one of the best places known to the patron deity, Inanna of Uruk. Susu is among the oldest settlements in the region and the world. Dates back the period of foundation of settlement to 4395 BCE and based on C14, Susa is the modern Iranian town and the administrative capital of Shush county of Khuzestan province in Iran.
4. Damascus, Syria
The second largest city of Syria followed by Aleppo and the capital of Syria, Damascus is widely known as ash-Sham in Syria and also called as the City of Jasmine. It is widely regarded as the oldest inhabited city in the world by some sources. It may have been inhabited around 10000 BC and is also debated. It became a major settlement after the inhabitation of Aramaeans, who established their canal’s network which still have the basis of its newer water networks. It is another conquest of Alexander the Great. It has been in the possessions of Arab, Roman and Ottoman. Currently, it has wealth of historical attractions.
3. Byblos, Lebanon
Founded by the Phoenicians as Gebal, Byblos was named by the Greeks who imported the papyrus from the city. It is positioned in the Mt. Lebanon Governorate. The modern Mediterranean city is known as Gibelet under the current name of Jubayl during the Crusades. It is known to have been occupied from 8800 to 7000 BC for the first time. As per the fragments related to the semi-legendary Trojan War, the city was built as the first city of Phoenicia by the Cronus. Currently, it is known to be one of the ancient consistently inhabited cities worldwide.
2. Aleppo, Syria
According to the evidences regarding habitation, Aleppo is the ancient city dates back to around 8000 years ago but excavations at around 15 miles north prove that the city was inhabited around 13000 years ago. Hence, Aleppo and its nearest region have world’s oldest known human civilization. The city is mentioned for the first time in cuneiform tablets from around 5000 years ago where it is known for its military and commercial proficiency. Since it is located between Mesopotamia and Mediterranean Sea, Aleppo was centrally located in the ancient world. Currently, it is the largest city of Syria.
In 2016, the city had been in the headlines for wrong reasons when a four years long battle’s devastation reached the terrible climax. The fight between the rebel forces and the government killed thousands of residents and forced millions to flee. The battle led the catastrophe and destroyed the Old City, which was once a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
1. Jericho, Palestinian Territories
The oldest consistently habited city in the world, Jericho is a city in Palestine near Jordan River. It is also the administrative center of Jericho Governorate. From 1948 to 1967, the Jordan ruled the city and it was occupied by Israeli occupation since the year 1967. The Palestinian Authority got the administrative control over the city in 1994. It is known as the place of return of Israelites in Judeo-Christian tradition, from bondage in Egypt to Moses. The remains of 20 settlements have been found by the archeologists.