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This is a list of present-day cities by the time period over which they have been continuously inhabited.

The age claims listed may be disputed, or indeed obsolete. Differences in opinion can result from different definitions of "city" as well as "continuously inhabited".

Several cities listed here (Damascus, Byblos, Jericho, Varanasi) each popularly claim to be "the oldest city in the world". Caveats to the validity of each claim are discussed in the "Notes" column.

Contents

Old World

Continuous habitation since the Chalcolithic (or Copper Age) is possible (but difficult) to prove archaeologically for several Levantine cities (Jericho, Byblos, Damascus, Sidon and Beirut). Cities become more common outside the Fertile Crescent with the Early Iron Age from about 1100 BC. The foundation of Rome in 753 BC is conventionally taken as (one of the dates) initiating Classical Antiquity.

Name Historical region Location Continuously inhabited since Notes
Damascus Levant Syria Chalcolithic Excavations at Tel Ramad on the outskirts of the city have demonstrated that Damascus was inhabited as early as 8000 to 10,000 BC.[1] However, Damascus is not documented as an important city until the coming of the Aramaeans around 1400 BC. See reference for presence of urban life among cattle herders at this date — also due to land fertility and constant water source.
Van (as Tushpa) Land of Nairi, Kingdom of Van (Urartu) Eastern Anatolia Region, Turkey Chalcolithic (5000 BC or earlier)
Jericho Levant West Bank Chalcolithic (3000 BC or earlier) Traces of habitation from 9000 BC.[2][3]

Fortifications date to 6800 BC (or earlier), making Jericho the earliest known walled city.[4] Evidence indicates that the city was abandoned several times, and later expanded and rebuilt several times.[5]

Byblos Levant Lebanon Chalcolithic (5000 BC or earlier)[6][7] Settled from the Neolithic (carbon-dating tests have set the age of earliest settlement around 7000[8]), a city since the 3rd millennium BC.[6] Byblos had a reputation as the "oldest city in the world" in Antiquity (according to Philo of Byblos).
Susa Elam Khuzestan, Iran Chalcolithic (ca. 4200 BC)[9] Evidence of occupation from about 5500 BC
Sidon Levant Lebanon 4000 BC [10] There is evidence that Sidon was inhabited from as long ago as 4000 BC, and perhaps, as early as Neolithic times (6000 - 4000 BC).
Medinat Al-Fayoum (as Crocodilopolis or Arsinoe, ancient Egyptian: Shediet) Lower Egypt Faiyum Governorate, Egypt ca. 4000 BC[11]
Plovdiv Thrace Bulgaria ca. 4000BC[12]
Gaziantep Anatolia Southeastern Anatolia, Turkey ca. 3650 BC This is disputed, although most modern scholars place the Classical Antiochia ad Taurum at Gaziantep, some maintain that it was located at Aleppo. Furthermore, that the two cities occupy the same site is far from established fact (see Gaziantep). Assuming this to be the case, the founding date of the present site would be about 1,000 BC. (see Gaziantep)
Rayy Iran 3000 BC[13] A settlement at the site goes back to the 3rd millennium BC. Rayy is mentioned in the Avesta (an important text of prayers in Zoroastrianism, as a sacred place, and it is also featured in the book of Tobit.[13]
Beirut Levant Lebanon 3000 BC[14]
Jerusalem Levant Israel(west)
Israel/Palestine(east)[15]
2800 BC[16]!
Tyre Levant Lebanon 2750 BC[17]
Arbil Mesopotamia Kurdistan Autonomous Region, Iraq 2300 BC or earlier[18]
Kirkuk (as Arrapha) Mesopotamia Kirkuk Governorate, Iraq 3000-2200 BC[19]
Jaffa Levant Israel ca. 2000 BC Archaeological evidence shows habitation from 7500 BC.[20]
Aleppo Levant Syria ca. 2000 BC[21] Evidence of occupation since about 5000 BC.[22]
Balkh (as Bactra) Bactria Balkh Province, Afghanistan ca. 1,500 BC Balkh is one of the oldest settlements of the region.[23]
Chania Crete Crete, Greece ca. 1400 BC Minoan foundation as Kydonia
Larnaca Alashiya Cyprus ca. 1400 BC Mycenaean, then Phoenician colony
Thebes Mycenaean Greece Boeotia, Greece ca. 1400 BC Mycenaean foundation
Athens Mycenaean Greece Attica, Greece 1400 BC Mycenaean foundation, with traces of earlier habitation on the Acropolis.
Lisbon Iron Age Iberia Portugal ca. 1200 BC A settlement since the Neolithic. Allis Ubbo, arguably a Phoenician name, became Olissipo(-nis) in Greek and Latin (also Felicitas Julia after Roman conquest in 205 BC).
Cádiz Iron Age Iberia Andalusia, Spain 1100 BC[24]
Varanasi Iron Age India Uttar Pradesh, India ca. 1200-1000 BC[25] Iron Age foundation (Painted Grey Ware culture).
Xi'an Bronze Age China Shaanxi, PRC ca. 1100 BC
Chios Chios North Aegean, Greece ca. 1100 BC
Mytilene Lesbos North Aegean, Greece 10th century BC
Anuradhapura Rajarata North Central Province, Sri Lanka 10th century BC A centre of cultural, social, political and engineering influence. Anuradhapura inherits some of the world's most advanced ancient building structures, irrigation networks and other engineering monuments. It was Sri Lanka's first capital.
Nijmegen Nordwestblock Netherlands 900 BCE Nijmegen has been claimed as continously inhabited since 900 BCE based on archaeological evidence.[26] The Roman city dates to AD 105. Maastricht had likely been more of a "city" in pre-Roman times, and has been claimed to have been continuously inhabited since 500 BCE.
Zadar Liburnia Croatia 9th century BC Liburnian city and one of their capitals. Archaeology confirmed its existance from the 9th century BC at latest, with suggestion that it is probably older, but its real age is still not determined, because of impossibility of the archaeological excavations in populated and active old town center.[27] Name of the city in Antiquety was Greek Idassa and Latin Iader; coined by an ancient Mediterranean people and their Pre-Indo-European language, transmitted to its later settlers, the Liburnians.[28]
Nin Liburnia Croatia 9th century BC Liburnian city established in the 9th century BC, 300 meters to the north of an earlier settlement, from the Late Stone Age, based on archaeological evidence. Liburnian name of Nin, Aenona, is probably of much older origin, inherrited by the Liburnians.[2]
Naples Western world Italy 9-8th century BC[29]
Hamadan (As Ecbatana) Median Empire Iran ca. 800 BC [30]
Yerevan (as Erebuni) Urartu Armenia ca. 800 BC[31]
Ujjain (As Avanti) Malwa India ca. 800 BC [32] Rose to prominence in ca 700 BC as capital of Avanti during India's second wave of urbanization. Walled in ca 600 BC.
Rome Latium Lazio, Italy 753 BC Continuous habitation since approximately 1000 BC.; pastoral village on the northern part of the Palatine Hill dated to the 9th century BC; see also History of Rome and Founding of Rome.
Corfu, Kerkyra Corfu Ionian Islands, Greece 700 BC
Samarqand Sogdiana Uzbekistan 700 BC
Varna Thrace Bulgarian Black Sea Coast, Bulgaria 7th century BC founded as Odessos, first mentioned by Strabo
Istanbul/Byzantium Thrace Anatolia Turkey 685 BC Anatolia 667 BC Thrace Neolithic site dated to 6400 BC, over port of Lygos by Thracians circa 1150 BC
Durrës Illyria Albania 627 BC One of the most ancient settlements in Albania
Berat Illyria Albania 600 BC 3,000 year old city
Kavala Macedonia Greece 6th century BC founded as Neapolis
Mangalia Dacia Romania 6th century BC founded as Callatis
Constanţa Dacia Romania 6th century BC founded as Tomis
Mantua Po Valley Lombardy, Italy 6th century BC Village settlement since ca. 2000 BC; became an Etruscan city in the 6th century BC.
Herat Aria Herat Province, Afghanistan ca. 550 BC The city is dominated by the remains of a citadel constructed by Alexander the Great.
Delhi Kuru India ca. 500 BC[33] A city since the "early centuries BC", continuous habitation likely from the 6th century BC, traces of habitation from the 11th century BC. See also History of Delhi.
Madurai Pandyan kingdom Tamilnadu, India 500 BC
Beijing (as Ji, Yanjing) Yan PRC ca. 500 BC
Ife Osun State, Nigeria ca. 500 BC
Patna Magadha Bihar, India 490 BC[34]
Vaisali Magadha Bihar, India 500 BC[34]
Rajagriha (Rajgir) Magadha Bihar, India 600 BC[35]
Serres Macedonia Greece 5th century BC first mentioned in the 5th century BC as Siris
Veria Macedonia Greece ca. 432 BC first mentioned by Thucydides in 432 BC
Rhodes Rhodes, Aegean Sea Dodecanese, Greece ca. 408 BC
Belgrade Illyria Serbia 400 BC Vinča culture prospered around Belgrade in the 6th millenium BC
Shkodër, Shkodra, Scutarion Illyria Albania 400 BC
Thessaloniki Macedonia Greece 315 BC
Ohrid Macedonia Republic of Macedonia 353 BC Ohrid town is first mentioned in Greek documents from 353 BC. with the name Lychnidos
Paris Gaul France ca. 250 BC Chasséen culture (4th millennium BC) settlement traces.
Guangzhou (Canton) Han Dynasty Guangdong, PRC 214 BC
Zürich (Lindenhof) Gaul Switzerland ca. 50 BC lakeside settlement traces dating to the Neolithic.
Trier Gallia Belgica Germany 30 BC oldest city in Germany.
Chur Raetia Prima Grisons, Switzerland 15 BC habitation since the 4th millennium BC (Pfyn culture).
Solothurn Gaul Switzerland c. 20 AD Evidence of pre-Roman, Celtic settlement; newly founded by the Romans between 14 – 37 AD, called the "oldest city in Gaul besides Trier" in a verse on the city's clock tower.
London Britannia UK 43 AD
Verdun Lotharingia France 4th century seat of the bishop of Verdun from the 4th century, but populated earlier
Prague Bohemia (Central Europe) Czech Republic ca. 6th century The first written record dates back to the 10th century [36].
Palembang Srivijaya Indonesia ca. 600 oldest city in the Malay Archipelago, capital of the Srivijaya empire.
Krakow (Wawel Hill) Galicia Poland 7th c.[37] The first written record dates back to the 10th century.
Århus Denmark ca. 700 oldest city in Scandinavia.
Djenné Mali ca. 800 oldest known city in sub-Saharan Africa[38]
Ife Osun State, Nigeria ca. 8th century earliest traces of habitation date to the 4th century BC.
Dublin Ireland Republic of Ireland 841
Reykjavík Iceland Iceland ca. 871 [3]
Tønsberg Norway Norway ca. 871 oldest city in Norway.
Tondo, Manila Kingdom of Tondo Philippines 900[39] oldest known settlement in the Philippines as documented by the Laguna Copperplate Inscription; when the Spanish, led by Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, arrived, it was still inhabited and led by at least one datu.
Skara Sweden 988
Lund Sweden ca. 990 [4]

New World

Name Country Foundation Notes
Ticul Mexico 7th century BC Oldest continuously inhabited city in the Americas.
Cholula Mexico ca. 2nd century BC Pre-Columbian Cholula grew from a small village to a regional center during the 7th century.
Acoma Pueblo and Taos Pueblo, New Mexico USA 1075 (ca.) Among the oldest continuously inhabited settlements in the USA (although not "cities")
Oraibi, Arizona USA 1100 (ca.) Among the oldest continuously inhabited settlements in the USA (although not a "city")
Santo Domingo Dominican Republic 1496 Oldest European settlement in the New World
San Juan Puerto Rico (USA) 1508 Oldest continuously inhabited city in a U.S. territory
Nombre de Dios, Colón Panama 1510 Oldest European settlement on the American mainland
Baracoa Cuba 1511 Oldest European settlement in Cuba
São Vicente, São Paulo Brazil 1532 First Portuguese settlement in South America
St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador Canada 1540s Oldest city in Canada, and oldest English-speaking city in North America
St. Augustine, Florida USA 1556 Oldest continuously inhabited city within the United States
Santa Fe, New Mexico USA 1600 (ca.) Oldest capital city and second oldest city within the United States
Quebec City Canada 1608 Second oldest city in Canada
Saint John Canada 1631 Third oldest city in Canada
Trois-Rivières Canada 1634 Fourth oldest city in Canada
Montreal Canada 1642 Fifth oldest city in Canada
Sydney Australia 1788 Oldest city in Australia
Hobart Australia 1803 Second oldest city in Australia

Gallery

References

  1. ^ ancientneareast.tripod.com
  2. ^ Gates, Charles (2003). "Near Eastern, Egyptian, and Aegean Cities". Ancient Cities: The Archaeology of Urban Life in the Ancient Near East and Egypt, Greece and Rome. Routledge. p. 18. ISBN 0415018951. "Jericho, in the Jordan River Valley in Israel, inhabited from ca. 9000 BC to the present day, offers important evidence for the earliest permanent settlements in the Near East."  
  3. ^ Martell, Hazel Mary (2001). "The Fertile Crescent". The Kingfisher Book of the Ancient World: From the Ice Age to the Fall of Rome. Kingfisher Publications. p. 18. ISBN 0753453975. "People first settled there from around 9000 B.C., and by 8000 B.C., the community was organized enough to build a stone wall to defend the city."  
  4. ^ Michal Strutin, Discovering Natural Israel (2001), p. 4.
  5. ^ Ryan, Donald P. (1999). "Digging up the Bible". The Complete Idiot's Guide to Lost Civilizations. Alpha Books. p. 137. ISBN 002862954X. "The city was walled during much of its history and the evidence indicates that it was abandoned several times, and later expanded and rebuilt several times."  
  6. ^ a b Dumper, Michael; Stanley, Bruce E.; Abu-Lughod, Janet L. (2006). Cities of the Middle East and North Africa. ABC-CLIO. p. 104. ISBN 1576079198. http://books.google.com/books?id=3SapTk5iGDkC&pg=PA104&dq=byblos+continually+inhabited&ei=AoJnSsLIOpDQkwSY5tTtAg. Retrieved 2009-07-22. "Archaelogical excavations at Byblos indicate that the site has been continually inhabited since at least 5000 B.C."  
  7. ^ Byblos.
  8. ^ Ciasca, Antonia (2001). "Phoenicia". in Sabatino Moscati. The Phoenicians. I.B.Tauris. p. 170. ISBN 1850435332.  
  9. ^ Met Museum: Iran, 8000–2000 b.c.
  10. ^ Sidon
  11. ^ Overy et al. (1999:43); Aldred (1998:42,44)
  12. ^ Rodwell, Dennis (2007). Conservation and Sustainability in Historic cities. Blackwell Publishing. p. 19. ISBN 1405126566.  
  13. ^ a b Rayy, Encyclopedia Britannica
  14. ^ Under Beirut's Rubble, Remnants of 5,000 Years of Civilization
  15. ^ See Positions on Jerusalem
  16. ^ Freedman, David Noel (2000-01-01). Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible. Wm B. Eerdmans Publishing. pp. 694–695. ISBN 0802824005.  
  17. ^ Tyre City, Lebanon
  18. ^ Lexic Orient
  19. ^ either The destruction of the Kirkuk Castle by the Iraqi regime. or History Channel for the earlier date
  20. ^ Excavations at Ancient Jaffa (Joppa). Tel Aviv University.
  21. ^ New World Encyclopedia
  22. ^ Syria Where Stones Speak The Door Is Widening To Westerners, Who Are Discovering The Nation'S Wealth Of History And Culture
  23. ^ Nancy Hatch Dupree, An Historical Guide to Afghanistan, 1977, Kabul, Afghanistan LINK
  24. ^ founded as Phoenician Gadir[1]
  25. ^ Britannica: "by the 2nd millennium BC"
  26. ^ deweekkrant.nl
  27. ^ M. Suić, Prošlost Zadra I, Zadar u starom vijeku, Filozofski fakultet Zadar, 1981
  28. ^ Mate Suić: O imenu Zadra, Zadar Zbornik, Matica Hrvatska, Zagreb 1964
  29. ^ Book: Treccani encyclopedia, 1998. Lemma: Naples. Paragrafh: History of Naples
  30. ^ International dictionary of historic places By Trudy Ring, Robert M. Salkin, K. A. Berney, Paul E. Schellinger
  31. ^ (Armenian) Baghdasaryan A., Simonyan A, et al. «Երևան» (Yerevan). Soviet Armenian Encyclopedia. vol. iii. Yerevan, Armenian SSR: Armenian Academy of Sciences, 1977, pp. 548-564.
  32. ^ http://www.indiasite.com/madhyapradesh/ujjain/history.html
  33. ^ City Walls: The Urban Enceinte in Global Perspective, by James D. Tracy, University of Minnesota Center for Early Modern History Cambridge University Press, 2000, ISBN 9780521652216
  34. ^ a b http://irows.ucr.edu/cd/courses/compciv/citypops4000.txt
  35. ^ The estimated year Sravasti was surpassed by Rajagriha is not given in Chandler and Fox’s list (pp. 362-364).
  36. ^ Abraham ben Jacob
  37. ^ wawel.krakow.pl
  38. ^ "Heaven on Earth: Islam", November 23, 2004 video documentary, History Channel. Producer/director, Stephen Rooke. Scriptwriter/host: Christy Kenneally
  39. ^ "Expert on past dies; 82". Philippine Daily Inquirer. 2008-10-21. http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/nation/view/20081021-167699/Expert-on-past-dies-82. Retrieved 2008-11-17.  
  • Aldred, Cyril (1998). The Egyptians. Thames and Hudson: London.
  • Overy et al. (1999). The Times History of The World: New Edition. Times Books/Harper-Collins: London.

See also

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