Humans have walked the earth for a long time. After many years of wandering and surviving the harsh conditions of the planet, a group is usually formed. This group eventually grows into communities that further expand to become organized cities with unique cultures. While many of the cities that were formed this way were destroyed by the numerous wars waged in the times of old, some stood the harsh test of time and the brutal blows of war, hosting humans till date. The inhabitants might not be the same throughout the city’s history but the fact remains that these cities have hosted humans long enough to now be regarded as the oldest continuously inhabited cities around the world.
9 Jericho, West Bank
Jericho is arguably the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world. Evidence from archaeological evidence reveals that this city has been inhabited as far back as 9000 BCE or 11,000 years ago while an organized community was founded in 8000 BCE. Throughout its existence, Jericho has been destroyed and rebuilt several times and has also hosted the Romans at some point. One popular mention of this city is in the Hebrew Bible where it was attacked by the Israelites under the leadership of Joshua. Today Jericho is home to approximately 20,000 people and there are lots of attractions in the city that shine a light on the city’s very distant past.
8 Athens, Greece
Athens is popular for many reasons including being the birthplace of democracy and philosophy. Its long existence, however, is no doubt the reason this city stands out among others. Athens is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world and perhaps the oldest city in Europe. This Greek city named after the goddess Athena has hosted humans continuously from as early as 5000 years ago. Much of the ancient creations of the inhabitants of this city can still be seen today and the Acropolis is no doubt the most popular site to learn about the city’s long history.
7 Aleppo, Syria
The city of Aleppo located in the northwestern part of Syria has been inhabited since the sixth Millennium BC, making it one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. One fascinating fact about Aleppo is that it still occupies the exact location where the ancient city stood. This has made it difficult for archaeologists to thoroughly study the site for more information about the city’s history and the exact time it was inhabited by humans. Aleppo has undergone several periods throughout its history from war to destruction, capture, recapture, change of name, and eventual reversal to its old name.
6 Plovdiv, Bulgaria
The second-largest city in Bulgaria has played host to humans since 6000 BC. Like many ancient cities around the world, Plovdiv has seen several battles and has been ruled by different people around the world some of which included - Macedonians, Romans, Persians, Crusaders, and Goths, among others. Plovdiv is the cultural capital of Bulgaria and some of the cultures that inhabited the city over the years even left behind interesting creations one can still see today. The ancient Amphitheatre and the Roman theatre are some of these ancient structures that can still be seen in the city. The city also features an archaeological museum where one can go to learn more about the extensive history of this ancient region.
5 Beirut, Lebanon
The capital and largest city in Lebanon has experienced human activity since 3000 BC or 5000 years ago as it was the emerging place of the Phoenicians. Beirut is even believed to have hosted humans long before the Phoenicians arrived which means it could be older. Despite the city’s history of war, food shortages, natural disasters, and a mass exodus, Beirut remains one of the oldest cities in the world with lots of history worth exploring.
4 Jerusalem, Israel
With evidence of human occupation from the 4th millennium BCE, Jerusalem is no doubt one of the oldest cities in the world. The city is considered a holy city as it plays a major role in Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. The worldwide recognition of Jerusalem; however, does not come without a price. The city has a long history of crises motivated by various things including - religion and land ownership. Throughout its existence, Jerusalem has been destroyed, captured, and recaptured several times. While it remains one of the most bitterly contested cities in the world, Jerusalem is also one of the most historic and one can visit to see the various ancient ruins and the religious sites across different parts of the region.
3 Luxor, Egypt
Located in Southern Egypt, Luxor is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Egypt known for lots of ancient ruins and temples. The city’s numerous historic attractions are the result of its long years of human inhabitation. Luxor was once known as Thebes and has been inhabited since 3200 BC making it one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Throughout its history, this region now known as Luxor has hosted Babylonians, Assyrians, Hittites, and Phoenicians. Visitors to this historic city will find numerous temples as well as tombs where Egypt's most popular kings were laid to rest.
2 Sidon, Lebanon
Sidon was previously an old Phoenician city known as Sidonia. Now located in Lebanon, this ancient city has seen human habitation since the distant 4000 BCE. Besides archaeological evidence dating the city’s human inhabitation to the 4th millennium BCE, Sidon has also been mentioned several times in the Bible. It was even visited by Jesus and Paul. The city’s history reveals that it was conquered by several people including - the Babylonians, Assyrians, Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, and Persians. Sidon is also largely regarded as the place where the glass was invented as the people were extremely skillful in producing glass.
1 Damascus, Syria
The capital of Syria is one ancient part of the world worth exploring. This region in the southwestern part of the country is believed to have seen some human activity as early as 9000 BC although carbon dating also seems to suggest that humans have been inhabiting this region since 6300 BC. Throughout the city’s history, it was conquered by some of the greatest civilizations in the world, some of which include - Babylon, Assyria, and Rome. Despite many other cities vouching for the title, Damascus is believed by many scholars to be the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world.