Getting old is not something that most people look forward too, but when it comes to cities it’s a different matter. Age adds to these oldest cities a lot of history, ancient monuments, and unique cultures (most of the time) that makes them intriguing places to visit. The Top 10 Oldest Cities list brings to you those cities which have stood the test of time and have managed not to get wiped off the face of the earth! It’s not the easiest task to work out exactly which is the world’s oldest cities, and historical records become more unclear the more you go back. The other thing is that many of the oldest cities were founded before the ones mentioned in this Top 10 oldest cities list, but have now disappeared into the mists of time due to invasion, drought or other factors. They may be included in the lost cities list but that is another issue. Here is a top ten list of oldest cities that still exist on earth. We recommend that you book your next vacation to one of these 10 locations and discover the beauties before they disappear.
1. Gaziantep, Turkey
Coming to the oldest city in the list (you may have never heard of it), a little background would be useful. The city of Gaziantep is in Turkey, and used to be called just Antep. Largely thought to be the oldest cities of the world which were continually inhabited, the ancient Gaziantep Fortress still stands and gives everyone who visits this place a stark reminder of its age. It’s thought to have first been a city belonging to the Hitties, a Bronze Age people who were some of the first to use chariots. With records found of Gaziantep as far back as 3650 B.C., so it officially takes 1st place in the Top 10 Oldest Cities list!
2. Jerusalem, Israel
Jerusalem has got to be one of the most famous as well as oldest cities in the world. We know lots about Jerusalem and here are a few interesting facts about it. It’s been attacked 52 times, captured and recaptured 44 times, besieged 23 times, and completely destroyed twice! Despite all this, Jerusalem still stands today and has become an oldest cities turned modern cities which are very popular with tourists. There are lots of sacred religious sites here, including Solomon’s Temple and the Tomb of King David. Religious and political has plagued Jerusalem since the beginning and continues to do so today. Also, thought to have been populated since at least 3000 B.C., the ancient city of Jerusalem takes the silver medal in this Top 10 List of Oldest Cities.
3. Kirkuk, Iraq
Off to Iraq next, and the city of Kirkuk. The modern city that you’ll see if you go there now is actually on the same site as the ancient city of Arrapha, the capital of the Assyrian kingdom. It’s been fought over many times through its history, but was most important around 1000 B.C., when the Assyrians claimed it as the hub of their empire. Now it’s not quite so important, although Kirkuk was given the status of the ‘Capital of Iraqi Culture’ in 2010. It’s changed a lot over the thousands of years that people have lived here, but estimates are that it’s been continually inhabited since around 3000 B.C., so it ranks as the third on the Top 10 oldest cities.
4. Zurich, Switzerland
The Swiss city of Zurich was once named the city with the best quality of life in the world. It is one of the wealthiest as well as oldest cities in Europe, and is a big global financial centre. That aside, it is also really old too, coming long before other European cities. The city was first known as Turicum, then as Ziurichi, and for the last thousand years just Zurich! Funnily enough, the Roman’s used the city as a tax collecting point for goods travelling along the Limmat River, so its ties with money are old too! A city that has been inhabited since around 3000 B.C., Zurich takes 4th place in the Top 10 Oldest Cities list.
5. Konya, Turkey
The Turkish city of Konya is a certain mention when we talk about the oldest cities of the world. Konya, Turkey has been mentioned in the ancient texts of the Greco-Roman world, referred to as Iconium in Latin, and also Ikonion in Greek. Apparently, Perseus drove the natives out by using Medusa’s severed head. Whether that’s really true or not we’ll never probably know, but science has been able to determine roughly what period in history the city of Konya was inhabited. Beating all of the Egypt’s oldest cities, Konya comes in as the 5th oldest cities in the world.
6. Giza, Egypt
Back to Egypt again and to one of the oldest cities that everybody knows about. It’s the city of Giza, and this one is famous for the Great Pyramids of Giza and the Great Sphinx, along with all the other smaller pyramids and temples. These astonishing ancient monuments attract thousands of visitors from all over the world. Giza itself has grown to accommodate this influx of tourism, becoming a popular place to live. Dating back to well before 2568 B.C., Giza comes in at number six in the List of Top 10 Oldest Cities list.
7. Xi’an, China
For our next contender on the oldest cities list, we head over to the Far East, and the city of Xi’an in Shaanxi province, China. This city also had a different name to begin with, and used to be called Chang’an. One of the Four Great Ancient Capitals of China, Xi’an is the place to go if you want to see the famous Terracotta Army. Nowadays the city is a massive metropolitan area with more than 8 million inhabitants! In such a crowded and polluted city, some of the local people are resorting to using electric motorbikes to get around. Residents here know better than most to insure a motorbike, because they are a favorite among the opportunist thieves here. The city of Xi’an is believed to have been around since 2205 B.C., ranking it 7th in the oldest cities list.
8. Asyut, Egypt
Here comes another Egyptian city that ties with Luxor in the rankings for oldest cities in the world. Visit Asyut now and there is not much left to show that it’s over 4000 years old, unlike other oldest cities in Egypt. In fact, the leaders of Luxor and Asyut had a battle thousands of years ago, and Luxor won, so Asyut wasn’t regarded as an important city after its defeat. Like most ancient and oldest cities, it fell into ruin before being inhabited again, but now it’s transformed itself into a modern city with around 400,000 people calling it home. Reliable records date back to around 2160 B.C. making Asyut the 8th oldest cities in the world.
9. Luxor, Egypt
Egypt may be best known for its Pyramids, but there is much more to the country than the tombs of old pharaohs. Luxor is an ancient city that actually used to be Thebes, and is often referred to as the “world’s greatest open air museum.” The Karnak Temple complex found within the city is the largest ancient religious site in the world. Luxor was once the capital of Egypt but slowly other cities in the country overtook it, and then fell into ruins after being attacked by an Assyrian emperor. Now one of the oldest cities of the world thrives from all the tourists that come to wander around the many different temples here. No-one is exactly sure when Luxor was founded, but it was sometime before 2160 B.C. which makes it the 9th oldest cities of the world.
10. Lisbon, Portugal
The first on our list of top ten oldest countries is the Portuguese capital of Lisbon. It beats Paris, London, and even Rome hands down. Here you can find monuments like the Belém Tower and Jerónimos Monastery, which are over 500 years old. Lisbon owes much or its status as one of the world’s oldest cities to the Tagus River and the calm, secure natural harbor that its estuary created. It attracted the Phoenician sailors from the Mediterranean as long ago as 1200 B.C. The harbor here has grown into the busiest seaport on the European Atlantic coast. Founded around 2000 B.C, Lisbon, actually called Lisboa in Portugal, ranks 10th in the Top 10 Oldest Cities.