Top 10 oldest cities continually inhabited | Have you ever wondered what is the oldest city continually-inhabited by humans? London was founded in 43AD, Rome in 753BC, Lisbon in 1000BC (which indicates an impressive age of 3000+ years). But there are far older cities out there. This article will reveal the name of a city existing continually for more than 11,000 years. We pair this with some serious tourist advise. Let’s start with #10: Beirut …
Oldest Cities continually inhabited
10: Beirut (Lebanon) – 3,000 BC
Beirut was mentioned in letters to the Pharaoh of Egypt in the 14th century BC. Excavations unearthed Phoenician, Helenistic, Roman, Arab and Ottoman remains – dating the earliest inhabitants back to 3,000 BC. Since the end of the civil war (1975 to 1990) Beirut slowly dug herself out of the ashes. Demographic and religious tensions remain until today. Despite all unrest, tourists are welcome to visit Horsh Beirut – a 40 sqkm pine forest on the edge of the city, Corniche and Pigeon Rocks, the remains of Maghen Abaraham Synagogue in the north of Grand Serail, Maronite Cathedral of St. George, Roman baths, mosques and museums.
9: Gaziantep (Turkey) – 3,650 BC
Gaziantep, previously called ‘Antep’, is a city in the western part of Turkey’s Southeastern Anatolia region, just 97 kilometres north of Aleppo, Syria. Gaziantep gained it’s name in Turkey’s War of Independence in 1922 when Antep was awarded the title Gazi or warrior of the faith. But this is just a small footnote to a long history of this place. Gaziantep is packed with historical places and museums. Still our tourist advise will be: Don’t go there. Turkey is very unstable. In 2013, widespread protests erupted in many Turkish provinces, sparked by a plan to demolish Gezi Park but growing into general anti-government dissent. On 15–16 July 2016, an unsuccessful coup attempt tried to oust the government.
8: Plovdiv (Bulgaria) – 4,000 BC
The Roman writer Lucian once wrote about Plovdiv: “This is the biggest and loveliest of all cities. Its beauty shines from far away.” Plovdiv was a Tracian foundation before it become a major city in the Roman Empire. Today Bulgaria’s second largest city still keeps ancient remains, a Roman amphitheatre, an aquaduct and Ottman baths. Tourist advise: You are good to go. Bulgaria is tourist friendly and comparably cheap.
7: Sidon (Lebanon) – 4,000 BC
Just 25 miles south of Lebanon’s capital Beirut lies Sidon. It was the most important and oldest of the Phoenician cities, the base from with an impressive Phoenician empire grew. Jesus, St. Paul and Alexander the Great did visit Sidon. Tourist advise: Don’t go there.
6: Faiyum (Egypt) – 4,000 BC
Faiyum is located southwest of Cairo. Modern Faiyum consists of several large bazaars, baths and mosques. The ancient pyramids of Lehin and Hawary are found nearby. Tourist advise: Don’t go there.
5: Susa (Iran) – 4,200 BC
Susa once was the capital of an Elamite Empire before it fell to the Assyrians. Interesting side note: The oldest surviving play in the history of theatre – “The Persians” – has its origin right here in Susa. “The Persians” is an Athenian tragedy by Aeschylus. Today Susa has a population of 65,000. Tourist advise: Don’t go there.
4: Damascus (Syria) – 4,300 BC
Some sources claim that Damascus may have been inhabited as early as 10,000 BC. But this is debated. Fact is, among the top 10 oldest places Damascus would be the top destination for tourists, if there was no bitter conflict all over Syria, destroying everything for the last eight years now. Tourist advise: Don’t go there.
3: Aleppo (Syria) – 4,300 BC
Aleppo is Syria’s most populated city with 4.4 million citizens. It has always been a rough place to live. Aleppo was once controlled by the Hittite. It then passed thru Assyrian hands, Greeks, Persians, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Crusaders, Mongols, Ottomans and lately even thru ISIS. Tourist advise: Don’t go there.
2: Byblos (Lebanon) – 5,000 BC
Runner-up in our list of the oldest cities continually-inhabited by humans: Byblos. Byblos got its name from the Greeks, who imported paper from there. The English word ‘Bible’ derives from Byblos. Tourists are welcome here. The region appeared to be peaceful over the last decade. Key tourist attractions: Phoenician temples, a castle and a church built by the crusaders, a medieval city wall.
1: Jericho (Palestine) – 9,000 BC
Oldest continually-inhabited city on earth: Jericho. Today Jericho is home for 20,000 people. The city is located near the Jordan River in the West Bank of Palestine. Jericho is inhabited since 9,000 BC. It was actually thought to have the oldest stone tower in the world. But excavations at Tell Qaramel in Syria have unearthed stone towers that are even older.
Jericho is located 258 metres (846 ft) below sea level in an oasis in Wadi Qelt, Jordan Valley. Constant sunshine, rich alluvial soil, and abundant water from a spring have always made Jericho an attractive place for settlement. Although tranquility, landscapes, and heritage of the Jericho Region offer a truly unique and rich walking experience, our tourist advise will be: Don’t go there. It’s not safe.
Oldest cities continually inhabited. By Chili and Tshirp | Hugging horizons since 2004 | Header image: Byblos (Lebanon). More Travel Top Lists here.