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 There’s something fascinating about ancient cities that makes 
you want to explore everything they have to offer. If you, too, love to 
explore ancient civilizations or what remains of them, we have put 
together a list of the 10 oldest cities in the world that are still standing, 
reminiscent of how people lived millenniums ago. 

1. Gaziantep, Turkey (3650 B.C.?) 

10 oldest cities in world 

The capital city of Gaziantep Province informally known as Antep is the 
oldest city that’s still standing, with a history dating back to the Hittites 
period. It was continually inhabited ever since the Paleolithic age, 
experiencing serious growth along with the Ottoman Empire. Today, 
Gaziantep is a friendly, upbeat city with numerous mosques, medresse, 
inns and baths from centuries ago. The stone houses and vibrant bazaars 
are bordered by beautiful gardens and vineyards, combining in a 
spectacular sight anywhere you turn. With several museums and holy 
places, you’ll surely need more than one day to experience everything 
Gaziantep has to offer. 

2. Jerusalem, Israel (3000 B.C.?) 

10 oldest cities in world 

A holy city for three different religions – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, 
Jerusalem is the place where ancient values combine with modern culture 
to bring a fascinating metropolis. Jerusalem is divided into three parts – 
West Jerusalem, the rapidly developing commercial part of the city, East 
Jerusalem – home for the majority of the Arab population, and the Old City 
– a truly breathtaking location, declared by UNESCO a World Heritage Site. 
Once you get tired of sightseeing, you can check out the marketplace, a 
place teeming with tourist shops. 

3. Kirkuk, Iraq (3000 B.C.?) 

10 oldest cities in world 

With archaeological remains that are over 5,000 years old, Kirkuk is an 
important city for the Kurdish identity and also the center of the Iraqi 
petroleum industry. While it may not be the most inviting tourist 
destination, Kirkuk stands on the site of the ancient Assyrian, once being 
the battlegrounds for three empires, Assyria, Babylonia, and Media that 
took turns controlling the city. Sights include the citadel, the tomb of 
Prophet Daniel, and Al Qaysareyah Market. If you want to go back in time 
and see the remains of the ancient city, visit archaeological sites of Qal’at 
Jarmo and Yorgan Tepe, located at the outskirts of the city. 

4. Zurich, Switzerland (3000 B.C.?) 

10 oldest cities in world 

Switzerland’s biggest city and one of the oldest cities in Europe, Zurich was 
established in Roman times under the name Turicum. Traces of these times 
can be found throughout the Old Town – narrow streets filed with antique 
shops, boutiques and cafes. Shopping is concentrated around the famous 
Bahnhofstrasse, one of the most beautiful shopping streets in Europe. 
Besides shopping, you can explore the city’s culture by visiting 
Grossmünster or Fraumünster – two old churches with amazing interiors, 
the Swiss National Museum or Kunsthaus, another popular museum. Head 
down to Aussersihl – a newly developed area filled with bars, clubs, 
restaurants where you can get a taste of the real Swiss life. After seeing 
the city, you’ll surely find out why it was named the city with the best 
quality of life in the world. 

5. Konya, Turkey (2600 B.C.?) 

10 oldest cities in world 

Located 250 km from the Mediterranean Sea and 500 km from the Black 
Sea, at an altitude of over 1000 meters in the Anatolian steppe, Konya is 
one of Turkey’s most fascinating cities, full of mosques and museums. One 
of the most popular museums is the Green Mausoleum of Mevlana 
Celaleddin Rumi, a great Turkish poet. Konya has a vast array of historical 
finds, kept in several museums, such as the Archaeological Museum, the 
Koyunoglu Museum or the Ethnographical Museum. 

6. Giza, Egypt (before 2568 B.C.) 

10 oldest cities in world 

“From atop these pyramids, forty centuries look down upon you.” — 
Napoleon Bonaparte to his soldiers before the Battle of Giza, 1798. 
Contrary to popular belief, Giza is a city in itself, but which got absorbed 
by the rapidly developing metropolis of Cairo. It holds one of the most 
important attractions in Egypt – the Pyramids of Giza, coupled with the 
Sphinx at the base of the Giza plateau. Giza’s desert plateau will be part 
of the Grand Museum of Egypt, a project to be completed in 2012 that will 
replace the Egyptian Museum in Midan Tahrir. 

7. Xi’an, China (2205 B.C.?) 

10 oldest cities in world 

With a history of over 3,000 years, the city is one of the most important in 
Chinese history, being one of the Four Great Ancient Capitals of China. 
Xi’an, the eternal city, enjoys fame equal to that of other famous cities 
such as Athens, Cairo, or Rome. The abundance of relics and sites of 
important cultural significance gained the city the title of a Natural History 
Museum. Furthermore, the Museum of Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses is 
often referred to as “the eighth major miracle of the world”. The City Wall 
of the Ming Dynasty is the most well-preserved towns in the world of that 
period while the Famen Temple holds the finger bones of Sakyamuni — the 
founder of Buddhism. All in all, Xi’an is one of the most valuable places to 
get a taste of ancient China and their traditions. 

8. Asyut, Egypt (before 2160 B.C.) 

10 oldest cities in world 

Located 375km south of Cairo, Asyut is the largest town in Upper Egypt 
and the first settled in Pharaonic times. Today, Asyut is the region’s most 
important agricultural center and home of the third largest university in 
Egypt. The city has almost 400,000 inhabitants, having the highest 
concentration of Coptic Christians. It is said that Virgin Mary appeared in 
Asyut, an apparition even attested by the church. Apart from the religious 
value, Banana Island is a great place to relax, while the 19th century 
barrage on the North Edge of the city is a popular destination among 
tourists. 

9. Luxor, Egypt (before 2160 B.C.) 

10 oldest cities in world 

Luxor, previously known as the ancient city of Thebes, the glorious city of 
the God Amon Ra, has been a hot tourist destination since tourism began. 
The area started attracting tourists ever since the Greek and Roman 
periods. Luxor is one of the most popular cities in Egypt, its stars being 
the monuments of Luxor, Karnak, Hatshepsut and Ramses III. There’s no 
wonder the city is often referred to as the world’s greatest open air 
museum, having a great number of well-preserved monuments. The city 
in itself actually consists of three distinct areas: the City of Luxor on the 
East side of the Nile, the town of Karnak and Thebes on the west side of 
the Nile, across from Luxor. You can bargain your way for anything in the 
city’s bazaar or enjoy the vegetarian paradise Luxor’s restaurants offer its 
tourists. 

10. Lisbon, Portugal (2000 B.C.?) 

10 oldest cities in world 

Set on seven low hills, on the north banks of the River Tagus, Lisbon’s 
charm is strongly linked to the past. Lisbon was first inhabited by Iberian 
people, responsible for building the megaliths. After centuries of growing, 
Lisbon is now one of the liveliest cities in Europe. The renovated palaces, 
magnificent churches and Art Nouveau buildings are just a few of the 
things that make up the city’s cultural heritage. There’s an impressive 
collection of ancient and modern art in many of the city’s museums such 
as the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, the National Coach Museum, and the 
Carmo Archaeological Museum. When you’ve seen all the cultural 
attractions, be sure to head down to Bairro Alto, the center of nightlife, 
packed with restaurants, bars and clubs. There are also plenty of shopping 
opportunities either for local merchandise at the Campo de Santa Clara or 
famous brands in the Centro Commercial Colombo


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