Ten of the world's oldest cities and where they are located

Ancient, but still fascinating and (partly) well-preserved: the famous travel magazine Time Out has published a list of some of the oldest cities on the planet.

These settlements can be found around the world, from the Middle East to Africa and the heart of Europe.

The list only includes cities that you can currently visit: here are what some of the world's oldest cities are and where they are located, with invaluable historical and archaeological evidence.

Getty Images, Wikimedia Commons, Freepik
Here is where some of the world's oldest cities are located
Ancient, but still fascinating and (partly) well preserved: the travel magazine Time Out has published a list of some of the oldest cities on the planet. These settlements can be found around the world, from the Middle East to Africa. The list includes only those cities that you can currently visit: here are what they are and where some of the world's oldest settlements are located.
A. Sobkowski, Wikimedia Commons
Jericho, West Bank
Located in the West Bank near the Jordan River, Jericho has been inhabited for more than 10,000 years. This settlement is also mentioned in the Bible and was enclosed within stone walls between the ninth and eighth millennia B.C.: it is thus one of the world's earliest fortified cities. Jericho is home to a place known as the "Mount of Temptation": this is a mountain in the Judean desert, identified by Christian tradition as the site of Jesus' temptation during his 40-day fast in the desert, an episode described in the Gospels.
Athens, Greece
This list obviously includes Athens, the heart of ancient Western civilization, with a unique historical and archaeological heritage that includes Greek, Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman remains. Athens is believed to have been inhabited since the third millennium B.C.: at that time, today's capital of Greece was still a small settlement located on the present acropolis.
Varanasi, India
Varanasi is the sacred city of Hinduism and stands on the banks of the Ganges River. According to the legend, it was founded by the Hindu deity Shiva about 5,000 years ago: modern scholars believe, however, that the city was built about 3,000 years ago. According to Hindu tradition, every worshipper must travel to Varanasi at least once in his  lifetime and bathe in the sacred river. Varanasi is also famous for its splendid temples, found in large numbers in this fascinating city.
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Xi'an, China
Along with Beijing, Xi'an is one of the oldest cities in China and in the entire civilization. This settlement has more than 3,000 years of history, has seen as many as 13 dynasties follow one another, and was the starting point of the famous Silk Road. It is home to one of the world's most famous monuments: the Terracotta Army, consisting of more than 6,000 statues protecting the mausoleum of the ruler Chi She Huang, China's first emperor and promoter of the Great Wall.
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Luxor, Egypt
The capital of the Pharaohs still gives new discoveries: for example, 60 new mummies have already come to light here in 2023. Luxor stands on the remains of ancient Thebes, founded about 4,000 years ago, and is a very important archaeological center: the Temple of Luxor and the Great Temple of Amun are located here, and the historic Valley of the Kings is also nearby.
Plovdiv, Bulgaria
Plovdiv is the second largest city in Bulgaria: the earliest evidence of life dates back 8,000 years, making Plovdiv one of the oldest cities in Europe. Traces of the most important civilizations in history can be found here, from the Thracians and Romans to the Byzantines and Ottomans. The succession of different peoples and cultures has made Plovdiv a unique city where archaeological finds of all types, cultures, and civilizations can be traced.
Hanoi, Vietnam
Hanoi is the current capital of Vietnam, and the site on which the urban center stands dates back to at least 3000 BCE. Despite the great population development of the twentieth century, Hanoi offers tourists many cultural relics of the past, including the imperial citadel of Thăng Long and many religious buildings, including Confucian temples and Buddhist pagodas.
Djenné, Mali
Djenné is famous for its mud-brick architecture, including the Great Mosque, built in the 13th century. Founded 2,000 years ago, the settlement of Djenné was an important center of trade and culture, and its history is linked to that of Timbuktu, a key hub of caravan trade across the Sahara.
Heretiq, Wikimedia Commons
Biblo, Lebanon
Biblo was founded around the third millennium B.C. and is the oldest city of the Phoenician civilization. Biblo had close trade relations with first the Egyptians and then the Greeks, who flocked to this settlement in Lebanon to purchase papyrus. Over the centuries, Biblo also fell under Assyrian and Persian influence.
Karin Helene Pagter Duparc, Wikimedia Commons
Argos, Greece
According to evidence from historians, Argos is the oldest settlement in Greece and was once the most powerful city in the region. Built during the Bronze Age, it was probably refounded in 1000 B.C.: among the most important archaeological sites in Argos is the theatre, built in 320 B.C., which at the time was among the largest in Greece and could hold around 20,000 spectators.
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