1. JERICHO, PALESTINIAN TERRITORY
Even after being destroyed and rebuilt many times, Jericho still stands today. Archaeological evidence shows that the city existed more than 11,000 years ago, giving Jericho a reputation as “the oldest city in the world”. With religious significance to both Christianity, Judaism and Islam, Jericho is a rather controversial place and should be considered when visiting.
2. BYBLOS, LEBANON
Founded by the Phoenicians, Byblos was originally known as Gebal. Ancient history buffs will surely enjoy Byblos as they will see ancient temples, castles and graveyards everywhere. The city also possesses beautiful ancient architecture.
3. ALEPPO, SYRIA
Although much of Syria is in political turmoil, the city of Aleppo can be considered the most “settled”, as evidenced by the fact that it has stood since 5000 BC to the present day. It is the second largest city in Syria with a population of more than 1.7 million. Unfortunately, many architectural regions have been affected by the effects of modern conflicts.
4. PLOVDIV, BULGARIA
There are numerous indications that Plovdiv has been inhabited since 4000 BC. This Eastern European Bulgarian city is one of the oldest inhabited cities in Europe and the world. It has also been conquered many times in the past by the Greeks and Romans.
5. FAIYUM, EGYPT
The oldest city in Africa probably belongs to Faiyum in Egypt. Just a few hundred kilometers from Cairo, Faiyum still has an old-world charm. Take time to stroll through the streets to admire its beautiful shops and mosques.
6. VARANASI, INDIA
One of the oldest cities in the world and the oldest surviving city in India is Varanasi – a cultural hotspot for Hindus. Located on the banks of the Ganga River, Benara, this is said to be a place built by King Shiva in 4000 BC.
7. ATHENS, GREECE
The capital and largest city of Greece – Athens – is also the oldest city here. Looking at the ancient structures still standing here, you can almost imagine what an old Ancient Greece would have looked like. Athens is also a great place to visit for history buffs.
Most of the old cities, though ancient, are still deeply connected with modern religions and therefore often have some disagreement of opinion. This could not be more true in the case of the Jews and Muslims of Jerusalem. The oldest inhabitants here probably settled in 2800 BC.
9. DAMASCUS, SYRIA
Although it is conjectured that humans appeared here between 8000 and 10000 BC, present-day Damascus is identified as being established in the 3rd millennium BC. You can see signs of Roman, Greek, and Islamic cultures in the city-wide planning and architecture.
10. TIRE, LEBANON
Home to the UNESCO World Heritage Site – Hippodrome – and the birthplace of Dido and Europa, Tire is an ancient city that still stands wonderfully today. It was also conquered by a number of forces from the time of Alexander the Great in 332 BC. According to the ancient historian Herodotus, the city was founded in 2750 BC.