The world is full of wonders. If you see one, you forget the other. While these wonders are important, the history of the ancient cities is also worth-knowing. Many oldest civilization in the world have disappeared with the passage of time but there are also some cities that have been inhabited for thousands of years. Let’s dive into the top 10 oldest cities in the world still inhabited.
1. Damascus, Syria
The history of this city is not hundreds but thousands of years old. It would not be wrong to call it the oldest inhabited city in the world. Because this city has been inhabited for eleven thousand years. Damascus is also known as the capital of Arab culture. This city has seen the rise, fall and end of many civilizations. Damascus was conquered by commanders of different nationalities and made it their base. It was conquered by New Babylons. Then Alexander the Great was also the ruler of this city, then it was conquered by the Roman general Pompey after which it became the base throne of the Umayyad rulers of the Muslims. This city was also a part of the Ottoman Empire. It is also known as Al-ShamDamascus is considered to be the fourth holiest city in Islam after Makkah, Madina and Bait al-Maqdis.
The population of this city is more than 30 lacs. Its area is 105 square kilometers. Damascus would be among the relatively cool cities. The summers here are long and the weather is dry during these months. However, the rains are heavy in the winters and sometimes Damascus people enjoy snowfall. The ancient city of Damascus had seven gates.
Among the important buildings in the city of Damascus, one of the oldest cities of the world still inhabited, are the Nabi Habeel Mosque, the Banu Umaiyyah Mosque, the Sayeda Ruqayyah Bint Hussain Ibn Ali Mosque, the Tomb of Sayeda Zainab Bint Hussain Ibn Ali and the Tomb of Salahuddin Ayyubi. Chapel of Saint Paul. House of Saint Ananias, Cathedral of Damascus and Cathedral of Dormition are also important buildings. The coffee houses here are quite famous while people are also very fond of Hookah and shisha.
2. Jericho, Palestine
The history of the settlement of this small city of Palestine in the Jordan Valley is about 10 to 11 thousand years old. This city was inhabited many times and destroyed many times. Archaeologists believe that this city has been settled at least twenty times. There are archeological sites of the old city at various places, which are still being researched. Romans, Byzantines and Crusaders also ruled this city. Jericho was named Iriha by the Muslims. It was conquered by the Muslims during the reign of Umar (R.A.) and Jews and Christians were settled in this city. The Seljuks did a lot of work in developing this city. After that, The Ottomans made it the business center of Palestine.
The city is famous for its palm trees. Sugarcane and banana are also cultivated here. Among its important buildings and places are the Tomb of Hazrat Musa, Mount of Temptation, Ein-as-Sultan, Monastery of Saint Gerasimos, and Palace of Banu Umaiyah.
3. Aleppo, Syria
It is also the second largest city in Syria after Damascus. It also had the status of being the largest city in the country before the civil war started in 2011. After the civil war, its population decreased from 4.6 million people to 2.1 million people. Aleppo has also been inhabited for about eight thousand years. It has been an important commercial center since ancient times. For a long time, Aleppo was the largest city in the Syrian region. Even in the Ottoman Empire, it was the third largest city after Istanbul and Cairo.
Like Damascus, this city has seen the rise and fall of many civilizations. Alexander the Great conquered this city in 333 BC. Romans and Byzantines were also the rulers of this city later. In 1183, Sultan Salahuddin Ayubi captured this city and developed it well. Halaku Khan in 1260 and Amir Timur in 1401 captured Aleppo. Aleppo The climate of Aleppo is similar to that of Damascus, where summers are hot and dry, with occasional snowfalls in winters. That means there is also an opportunity for tourists to enjoy the weather here. Pistachios and olives are widely cultivated here. Dry fruits are also the source of the living for people here. You will find dozens of such shops in Al Madinah Souq Market.
The inner city of Aleppo, one of the top 5 oldest cities in the world, is also located within a wall, which has nine gates. The main buildings of Aleppo include the Aleppo Museum, the ancient citadel, the Al-Sheibani Building and the Bab al-Farj Clock Tower. Before the invasion of the Mongols, there were more than 175 baths areas in different areas of Aleppo, many of which were destroyed by the Mongols, but the remains of some of these still exist today, which are famous around the world
There are also hundreds of buildings in the outskirts of Aleppo which are called dead cities. These are about seven hundreds. These buildings are called the Land of Forgotten Stories, no one has complete information about them. However, some experts say that these buildings were located on trade routes and as people’s trade routes changed, people left these houses and settled elsewhere. And these buildings remained like that.
4. Byblos, Lebanon
Its history is more than eight thousand years old. And it has been continuously inhabited for seven thousand years. Byblos is located forty-two kilometers from the capital city of Beirut. The Arabic name is Jabel. Byblos, one of the oldest cities of the world still inhabited, has been ruled by Greeks, Egyptians, Romans, Crusaders and Muslims. It was also a part of the Ottoman Empire. At the time of Lebanon’s independence in 1943, this city was under the occupation of the French.
Byblos also has the status of being a favorite tourist destination. In 2016, it also received the title of “Arab Tour Capital” The city is famous worldwide for its beautiful beaches, seafood restaurants, open bars and cafes. Among the important buildings and historical places of Byblos are Ain al-Mulk or King of Spring, L shaped temple, Byblos wax museum, Byblos fossil museum, Byblos Fort, Sultan Abdul Majid Mosque, Saint John’s Church and Temple of Balat Gebal.
5. Argos, Greece
This city of Greece, the country of ancient traditions, has been declared the oldest inhabited city in Europe. Inhabited for seven thousand years, the population of Argos is about twenty thousand people according to the 2022 census. However, twenty-eight hundred years ago, five thousand people lived here, even in 4 BC, the population of this city had reached thirty thousand people. So we can say that the population of this city is continuously decreasing instead of increasing on average.
Located in the south of Greece, this city survived the ancient wars; perhaps that is why many of its ancient buildings are still in their original condition. It has also been included in the conquered areas of Alexander the Great. Apart from the Greeks and Romans, the city was also occupied by the Byzantines, Crusaders and Ottomans.
Argos, one of the top 5 oldest cities in the world, is considered to be the warmest region of cold Europe because Argos is the hottest place in Greece in summer. The people of this city are mostly based on agriculture and there are citrus fruits such as grapes, cano, malta and lemons as well as apricots. You will also find olive trees. Among the ancient buildings and places here are: Larissa Castle, ancient theatre, municipal market building and hellinikon pyramid.
6. Athens, Greece
Athens, the oldest capital city in the world, has been inhabited for more than seven thousand years. However, the traces of human presence on it are eleven thousand years old. This city is said to be the birthplace of Western civilizations, the place of knowledge and wisdom and the home of philosophy. This town has been inhabited since before Socrates, Plato and Aristotle.
Athens is built around different hills. Summers in Athens are hot and dry. However, due to the hills in winter, it not only rains a lot, but also gets a good amount of snow in January and February. There is no tourist who does not wish to visit Athens at least once in his life. The most special thing about Athens is its museums. Where the sculptures and inscriptions are a reflection of the vicissitudes of history. These museums include National Archaeological Museum, Benaki Museum, New Acropolis Museum. Jewish Museum and the Kerameikos Archaeological Museum. Athens also has a special place in terms of sports events, the Olympic Games have been held here twice in 1896 and 2004.
7. Susa, Iran
Let’s spotlight the Asian country of Iran. In the east of this country with ancient traditions, there is a six and a half thousand year old city of Susa. According to some historical sources, the city was named after Susan, the grandson of Prophet Noah. It is said that Assyrian warriors had completely destroyed this city. But it was rebuilt within a few years and it flourished in the Persian Empire. Alexander the great married his favorite wife Stateira in 324 BC in the same city.
This city was conquered by Muslims under the leadership of Abu Musa al-Ashri. There is also the tomb of Prophet Daniel (PBUH).This small town has a big history in it; which is also expressed by the ruins here.
8. Erbil, Iraq
Iran’s neighboring country Iraq is not only the land of prophets but also the centre of ancient civilizations. One of its cities, Erbil or Arbela, has been inhabited for thousands of years. Today, around three lac people live in this city. It is the most populated city in the Kurdistan Region. This six thousand year old city has been ruled by Romans, Greeks, Persians, Mongols and Turkish Ottomans in their respective eras. Its fort Erbil also known as Hewler fort. It was built about four thousand years ago.
Today Erbil, one of the top 10 oldest cities in the world, is a beautiful blend of ancient and modern buildings. Summers here are long, dry and hot; while winters are more temperate. Important buildings here include Qaysari Bazaar, Muzaffaria Minar, Erbil Museum and Kurdish Textile Museum.
9. Sidon, Lebanon
Sidon or Saida, another city of Lebanon, has been inhabited for six thousand years. This historical area located in the south of the country is today the sixth largest city of Lebanon. It is said that Sidon was the grandson of Noah’s son Ham. And this city was named after him. Besides Assyrians, Babylonians and Babylonians, Sidon was also ruled by Egyptians, Persians, Romans and Greeks. This city was first conquered by the Arabs and then by the Ottomans in modern history and included in their empire.
The glass making industry here not only made it famous but also made its inhabitants wealthy. Dyeing and embroidery industries are also working here till date. The ancient Phoenicians living in Sidon are known worldwide for their shipbuilding industry and shipping. These people of Phoenician descent have been living in this region for thousands of years. Among the main buildings and historical sites of Citadel Sidon, Sidon Museum, Fort St. Louis, Sidon Mosque and Ashmun Temple.
10. Plovdiv, Bulgaria
It is the second largest city in Bulgaria. The Thracians and Macedonians occupied this city for six thousand years, while the Romans, Greeks, Germans and Crusaders also ruled this area. This area was also part of the Persian Empire and the Ottoman Empire There are over two hundred archaeological sites in Plovdiv. As centre of different civilizations and cultures, this city also has many museums and theaters.
It was also declared the cultural capital of Europe in the 2019. The river bank on one side and the mountain peaks on the other side add to its beauty. However, the number of tourists who come here to see this beauty is very less. The government of Bulgaria has been continuously trying to promote tourism here for the past several years. The humidity in the air of this city is quite high, due to which the weather is less pleasant even though the temperature is not too high. However, not only is it very cold here in winter, but snowfall is also common.
Important buildings and places in Plovdiv include Eirene Residence, Nebet Hill, Plovdiv Museum. The Djumaya Mosque here is considered to be the oldest mosque in Europe after the Jamia Mosque in Spain. Even today you can find old houses, streets, markets and gates in the old part of Plovdiv – one of the top 10 oldest cities in the world.
Apart from these ten cities, many cities have been inhabited for thousands of years, among them the city of Varanasi in India, the city of Fayyum in Egypt, and the city of Iran. Ray, The city of Balkh in Afghanistan and the city of Jerusalem in Palestine are included. The Lebanese cities of Tire and Beirut have also been inhabited for thousands of years. Not only this, the cities of Multan, Taxila and Peshawar are also included in the oldest cities of the world. If you want to visit the historical and cultural places, start your tour now, the beautiful and historical buildings in these cities and sights will double the fun of your trip.