World’s Oldest Cities That Are Still Inhabited

By Shreesha Ghosh

May 06, 2022

Athens, Greece

The cradle of Western civilisation and democracy, Athens' heritage is still very evident since it's been inhabited for more than 7,000 years. The Ottoman, Byzantine, and Roman civilisations left their imprints on the city, which has been known for housing prominent philosophers, writers, playwrights, and artists.

Image source: Alamy

Varanasi, India

Varanasi, formerly known as Banaras, has been a centre of religious and cultural activity since the Bronze Age Collapse for at least 5000 years. Kashi, its ancient name, was associated with a kingdom of the same name 2,500 years ago.

Image source: Alamy

Plovdiv, Bulgaria

Remains of human settlements in Plovdiv date back to 7,000 BC. Romans annexed Plovdiv in 46 AD and built streets, towers, and aqueducts in the city. Many of the ancient ruins still standing there today date back to that period. With its cultural and historical heritage dating back 8000 years, Plovdiv is considered to be the oldest populated city in Europe and the world.

Image source: Alamy

Aleppo, Syria

Although the exact age of Aleppo is unknown, an ancient temple discovered in the city dates back to around 3,000 BC, according to Encyclopaedia Britannica. Other estimates date Aleppo to at least 5,000 BC. Today, the city has been devastated by a lengthy and violent civil war. However, people still inhabit the city.

Image source: Alamy

Faiyum, Egypt

In ancient times, Faiyum was a large oasis in Egypt known for its fertility and proximity to the Nile river. Humans were present in the region sometime before 7,200 BC, and its first agricultural community was established around 5,200 BC. The region eventually became home to several villages and cities and is best known for the Faiyum Portraits, a collection of mummy masks.

Image source: Alamy

Beirut, Lebanon

According to the New York Times, excavations in the 1990s unearthed evidence of 5,000 years of civilisation in Beirut, now Lebanon's capital, to around 3,000 BC. Beirut was home to the most prominent law school in the Roman Empire before it was destroyed in an earthquake in 551 AD. It is also the largest city in Lebanon, currently with a population of around 2.4 million people.

Image source: Adobe Stock

Jerusalem, Israel

Jerusalem is one of the religious cities that is believed to be about 4,000 to 5,000 years old, and it has a long history of struggle. Historian Eric H Cline has written that the city was destroyed at least twice, 23 times besieged, and 52 times attacked. And about 44 times it was captured and lost and captured again.

Image source: Adobe Stock

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