List of oldest continuously inhabited cities

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This is a list of present-day cities by the time period over which they have been continuously inhabited as a city. The age claims listed are generally disputed. Differences in opinion can result from different definitions of "city" as well as "continuous habitation" and historical evidence is often disputed. Caveats (and sources) to the validity of each claim are discussed in the "Notes" column.


Northern and the Horn[edit]

Name Historical region Location Continuously inhabited as a city since Notes
Luxor (as Waset, better known by its Greek name Thebes) Ancient Egypt Egypt c. 3200 BCE First established as capital of Upper Egypt, Thebes later became the religious capital of the nation until its decline in the Roman period.
Annaba (as Hippo Regius) Numidia Algeria c. 1200 BCE Founded by the Phoenicians in the 12th century BCE.[citation needed]
Tangier Carthage Morocco c. 800 BCE Founded by the Carthaginians, later chief city of the Roman Province of Mauretania Tingitana.
Tripoli (as Oea) Libya c. 700 BCE Founded in the 7th century BCE, by the Phoenicians.[1]
Constantine (as Cirta) Algeria c. 600 BCE Founded in the 6th century BCE, by the Phoenicians.[2][circular reference]
Benghazi (as Euesperides) Cyrenaica Libya c. 525 BCE Founded in the 5th century BCE, by the Greeks.[3]
Axum Kingdom of Axum Ethiopia c. 400 BCE Ancient capital of the Kingdom of Axum.
Berbera Bilad al-Barbar Somalia c. 400 BCE The city was described as 800 stadia beyond the city of the Avalites, described in the eighth chapter of the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, which was written by a Greek merchant in the 1st century CE.
Mogadishu Bilad al-Barbar Somalia c. 200 BCE Successor of the ancient trading power of Sarapion.
Old Cairo Egypt Egypt c. 100 CE Babylon Fortress moved to its current location in the reign of Emperor Trajan, forming the core of Old or Coptic Cairo.[unreliable source?][4]
Zeila/Avalite Bilad al-Barbar Somalia c. 100 CE Major trading city in the Horn of Africa.
Kismayo Bilad al-Barbar, after the 13th century part of the Ajuran Empre Somalia c. 300 CE The Kismayo area was originally a small fishing settlement and expanded to a major trading city on the Somali coast.[5]
Alexandria Ancient Egypt Egypt 332 BCE Founded by Alexander the Great.[6]
Fes (as Fes-al-Bali) Morocco 789 Founded as the new capital of the Idrisid Dynasty.[7]
Oujda Morocco 994 Founded by Ziri bnou Atya.
Marrakesh (Murakuc) Morocco 1070 Founded by the Almoravid Dynasty.[unreliable source?][8]


Name Historical region Location Continuously inhabited as a city since Notes
Benin City Kingdom of Benin Nigeria c. 400 BCE[citation needed] City of Benin, the oldest cities in Nigeria.
Ife Osun State Nigeria c. 350 BCE Earliest traces of habitation date to the 4th century BCE.[9]
Jenne-Jeno Mali c. 250 BCE One of the oldest known cities in sub-Saharan Africa.[10]
Zanzibar Swahili Coast Tanzania 1st–3rd centuries CE[citation needed] A Greco-Roman text between the 1st and 3rd centuries CE, the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, mentioned the island of Menuthias (Ancient Greek: Μενουθιάς), which is probably Unguja, an island suburb of the city.
Walata Ghana Empire Mauritania 7th–10th centuries A Mande Soninke town founded during the apogee of the Ghana Empire. It would remain a relevant, even dominant, trade town until being supplanted by Timbuktu in the 15th Century.[11]
Sofala Swahili Coast Mozambique c. 700[citation needed] One of the oldest harbours documented in Southern Africa.
Pate Swahili Coast Kenya 8th century[citation needed] According to the Pate Chronicle, the town of Pate was founded by refugees from Oman in the 8th century.
Mombasa Swahili Coast Kenya 900[citation needed] The strategic location of this historical Swahili trading centre has seen it fall under the control of many countries.
Moroni Swahili Coast Comoros 10th century[citation needed] Founded, possibly during the 10th century, as the capital of a sultanate connected commercially to Zanzibar in Tanzania.
Kano Kano State Nigeria 11th century The foundation for the construction of Kano City Walls was laid by Sakri Gijimasu from 1095 – 1134, and was completed in the middle of the 14th century during the reign of Zamnagawa.[12]
Timbuktu Mali Empire Mali 11th century Settled by Tuareg traders as an outpost, its incorporation into the Mali Empire and Mande, Soninke, and Songhai settlement from the 13th century rapidly developed the town.[13]
Malindi Swahili Coast Kenya 13th–14th centuries[citation needed] Once rivaled only by Mombasa for dominance in this part of East Africa, it was first referenced in writing by Abu al-Fida (1273–1331), a Kurdish geographer and historian.
M'banza-Kongo Kongo Empire Angola c. 1390 Capital of the Kongo Empire, already organized as a city before the arrival of the Portuguese.[citation needed]
Quelimane Swahili Coast Mozambique 1400[citation needed] One of the oldest towns in the region, one tradition says that Vasco da Gama, in 1498, enquired about the name of the place from workers in the fields outside the settlement.
Tanga Swahili Coast Tanzania 1500[citation needed] The earliest documentation about Tanga roots from the Portuguese who established a trading post as part of their East African coastal territory and controlled the region for over 200 years between 1500 and 1700.
Lagos Kingdom of Benin Nigeria 16th century Initially established as a war camp for soldiers from the Kingdom of Benin.[14]
Ouidah Kingdom of Whydah Benin 16th century The primary port of the Kingdom of Whydah, originally called Glehue by the Fon inhabitants. The town was conquered by the Kingdom of Dahomey in the 18th century and eventually exported more than 1 million slaves.[15]
Cape Town Dutch East India Company South Africa 1652 Founded by Dutch settlers from Dutch East India Company and is the oldest city in South Africa.
Kumasi Ashanti Empire Ghana c. 1680[citation needed] Founded as Akan village and capital of the Kumaseman State, later becoming capital of Ashanti Empire.


North America[edit]

Name Historical region Location Continuously inhabited as a city since Notes
Cholula Old Cholula Mexico 2nd century BCE Pre-Columbian Cholula grew from a small village to a regional center during the 7th century. Oldest still-inhabited city in the Americas.
Flores Maya civilisation, then New Spain Guatemala 1st millennium BCE[16] Formerly Nojpetén, the capital of the Itza kingdom, it has been occupied continuously since prehispanic times.[17] Earliest archaeological traces date back to 900–600 BCE, with major expansion of the settlement occurring around 250–400 CE.[18] Ethnohistoric documents claim the founding of Nojpetén in the mid-15th century CE.[19]
Acoma Pueblo Puebloan peoples US c. 1144[citation needed] Acoma Pueblo is said to have been founded during the 1200s, but extant buildings from the 1100s and the consensus of Tribal peoples support the 1144 date.
Oraibi, Arizona Puebloan peoples US c. 1150[citation needed]
Tucson Hohokam US c. 1300[20] Hohokam village founded at the base of Sentinel Peak, later Tohono O'odam. Afterwards, became a Spanish presidio.[21]
Mexico City Mexica culture Mexico 1325 Founded as twin cities Tenōchtitlān (1325) and Tlāltelōlco (1337) by the Mexica. Name changed to Ciudad de México (Mexico City) after the Spanish conquest of the city in 1521. Several other pre-Columbian towns such as Azcapotzalco, Tlatelolco, Xochimilco and Coyoacán have been engulfed by the still growing metropolis and are now part of modern Mexico City. Oldest capital city in the Americas.
Santo Domingo New Spain Dominican Republic 1496 Oldest European settlement in the New World.
San Juan New Spain Puerto Rico 1508 Oldest continuously inhabited city in a US territory.
Nombre de Dios, Colón New Spain Panama 1510 Oldest continuously inhabited European settlement in continental America.
Baracoa New Spain Cuba 1511 Oldest European settlement in Cuba.
Havana New Spain Cuba 1519 Oldest major city in Cuba, established 1515, granted city status in 1592 by Philip II of Spain as "Key to the New World and Rampart of the West Indies".
Veracruz New Spain Mexico 1519 Oldest continuously inhabited European established settlement in the North American continent.
Panama City Cueva Civilisation. After European colonisation: New Spain Panama 1519[22] Oldest European settlement on the Pacific.
Cartago, Costa Rica New Spain Costa Rica 1563 Oldest continuously inhabited European established settlement in Costa Rica.
St. Augustine, Florida New Spain US 1565 Oldest continuously inhabited European-founded city of the current 50 U.S. states; oldest city in state of Florida.
Santa Fe, New Mexico New Spain US 1607 Oldest continuously inhabited state or territorial capital in the continental United States.
Quebec City New France Canada 1608 Oldest city in Canada and oldest French-speaking city in the Americas.
Hampton, Virginia Virginia Company US 1610 With Jamestown, Virginia having been abandoned in 1699 the city of Hampton claims to be the oldest continuously occupied English settlement in the United States.
Hopewell, Virginia Virginia Company US 1613 Founded as Bermuda City in 1613 and later known as City Point, Virginia, this location has undergone several name changes but has remained continuously inhabited.
Albany, New York New Netherlands US 1614 Followed by Jersey City, New Jersey (Communipaw) in 1617 and New York City (as New Amsterdam) in 1624 or 1625. (Note: While there was an abandonment in 1617 or 1618 of the Albany settlement, it was re-established within a few years; also, the Jersey City settlement was a factorij or trading post in the 1610s and did not become a "homestead" (bouwerij) until the 1630s. Settlements in New Netherlands sometimes moved around in the early years.)
Plymouth, Massachusetts Plymouth Colony US 1620 Fourth oldest continuously inhabited European-founded city in the United States[23]
St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador Newfoundland Colony Canada c. 1630 Some claims[citation needed] to being the oldest city in Canada. Incorporated in 1883; inhabited continuously since sometime after 1630.
Saint John New France Canada 1631 Oldest incorporated city in Canada.
Trois-Rivières New France Canada 1634 Fourth oldest city in Canada.
Montreal New France Canada 1642 Fifth oldest city in Canada.
Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan New France US 1668 Oldest European-founded city in the Midwestern United States and third oldest US city west of the Appalachian Mountains.
Philadelphia County Pennsylvania Colony US 1681
Natchitoches, Louisiana New France US 1699 Natchitoches was established in 1714 by French explorer Louis Juchereau de St. Denis. It is the oldest permanent European settlement within the borders of the 1803 Louisiana Purchase.[24] Natchitoches was founded as a French outpost on the Red River for trade with Spanish-controlled Mexico; French traders settled there as early as 1699.
Detroit, Michigan New France US 1701 First European settlement above tidewater in North America.
Winnipeg British America Canada 1738 Founded as Fort Rouge. Oldest city in the Canadian Prairies.
San Diego New Spain US 1769 Birthplace of California and oldest city on the West Coast of the United States.
Toronto British America Canada 1793 Succeeded the destroyed Fort Rouillé. See also Teiaiagon.
Victoria Colony of Vancouver Island Canada 1843 Oldest city on the West Coast of Canada.

South America[edit]

Name Historical region Location Continuously inhabited as a city since Notes
Quito Quitu culture Ecuador 980 Quito's origins date back to 2000 BCE,[dubious ] when the Quitu tribe occupied the area.
Cusco Inca Empire Peru c. 1100[dubious ] The Killke occupied the region from 900 to 1200, prior to the arrival of the Incas in the 13th century. Carbon-14 dating of Saksaywaman, the walled complex outside Cusco, has demonstrated that the Killke culture constructed the fortress about 1100.[25]
Cumaná New Granada Venezuela 1515 Oldest continuously-inhabited, European-established settlement in the continent.
Santa Marta New Granada Colombia 1525 Oldest still-inhabited city founded by Spaniards in Colombia.
São Vicente, São Paulo Governorate General of Brazil Brazil 1532 First Portuguese village in South America.
Piura Peru Peru 1532 Oldest European-founded city in Peru.[26]
Lima Peru Peru 1535 Second-oldest continuously inhabited European-settled capital city in South America. The oldest being Quito.
Cali New Granada Colombia 1536 On 25 July 1536 Belalcázar founded Santiago de Cali, first established a few kilometres north of the present location, near what are now the towns of Vijes and Riofrío.
Buenos Aires Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata Argentina 1536 First established as Ciudad de Nuestra Señora Santa María del Buen Ayre on 2 February 1536 by a Spanish expedition led by Pedro de Mendoza
Asuncion Viceroyalty of Rio de la Plata Paraguay 1537 Juan de Salazar y Espinoza, traversing the Paraguay River on his way from Buenos Aires, stopped briefly at a bay in the left bank to resupply his ships. He found the natives friendly, and decided to found a fort there in August 1537. He named it Nuestra Señora Santa María de la Asunción (Our Lady Saint Mary of the Assumption – the Roman Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of the Assumption on August 15).
Santiago Captaincy General of Chile Chile 1541 Oldest continuously inhabited European established settlement in Chile.
Salvador Governorate General of Brazil Brazil 1549 First city founded by Portuguese, and first capital of Brazil
Santiago del Estero Río de la Plata Argentina 1553 Oldest continuously inhabited city in Argentina.


Central Asia and South Asia[edit]

Delhi Indraprastha National Capital Region (India) 700 BCE[27]
Bukhara Sogdia Bukhara Region, Uzbekistan c. 500 BCE[28]
Varanasi Kashi Uttar Pradesh, India c. 1200 BCE[29]
Balkh (as Bactra) Bactria Balkh Province, Afghanistan 1300 BCE[citation needed]
Ujjain Malwa Madhya Pradesh, India c. 600 BCE.[30] Rose to prominence in c. 600 BCE as capital of Avanti.
Vaishali Magadha Bihar, India 500 BCE[unreliable source?][31]
Kanchipuram Pallavas Tamil Nadu, India 3rd Century BCE Place of all 4 (budha/jain/saiva/vainava) learning and the birthplace of Chanakya
Patna (Patliputra) Haryanka dynasty of Magadha Bihar, India 4th century BCE The city of Pataliputra was formed by fortification of a village by Haryanka ruler Ajatashatru, son of Bimbisara.
Anuradhapura Kingdom of Rajarata North Central Province, Sri Lanka 4th century BCE[32]
Samarqand Sogdia Samarqand Region, Uzbekistan 800-500 BCE [33]
Madurai Pandyan Kingdom Tamil Nadu, India 6th century BCE Megasthenes may have visited Madurai during the 3rd century BCE, with the city referred as "Methora" in his accounts.[34] The view is contested by some scholars who believe "Methora" refers to the north Indian city of Mathura, as it was a large and established city in the Mauryan Empire.[35]
Peshawar Gandhara Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan 2nd century BCE[36] Ongoing excavations in the Gorkhatri area have uncovered evidence of the earliest building in the city.
Bamyan Bactria Bamyan Province, Afghanistan 1st century CE
Kathmandu-Patan, Lalitpur Nepal Kathmandu valley, Nepal 2nd century CE The epigraphically attested history of Kathmandu valley begins in the 2nd century.
Dacca Dhaka Bangladesh 7th century CE
Tiruvannamalai Pallava dynasty or Hoysala Empire Tamil Nadu, India 6th century CE
Cuttack Somavamshi dynasty Odisha, India 989

East Asia[edit]

Name Historical region Location Continuously inhabited as a city since Notes
Yanshi, Henan (Erlitou Site) Xia dynasty (Erlitou culture) Henan, China c. 1900 BCE[citation needed]
Luoyang (as Xibo, Luoyi, Zhongguo, Henan, Dongdu, Shendu) Shang Dynasty Henan, China c. 1600 BCE[citation needed]
Xi'an (as Haojing, Fenghao, Chang'an, Jingzhao, Daxing) Zhou Dynasty Shaanxi, China c. 1100 BCE[citation needed]
Handan Jin Hebei, China c. 1080 BCE[citation needed]
Beijing (as Ji, Youzhou, Fanyang, Yanjing, Zhongdu, Dadu) Ji, Yan Beijing, China c. 1045 BCE Paleolithic homo sapiens lived in the caves from about 27,000 to 10,000 years ago.[37]
Zibo (as Yingqiu, Linzi, Qiling, Zichuan, Boping) Qi Shandong, China c. 1045 BCE[citation needed] The Lord of Qi, Jiang Ziya, set the capital of his manor at Yingqiu(营丘), which is today's Linzi District.
Jingzhou (as Jinan, Yingdu, Jiangling, Jingsha, Nanjun) Chu Hubei, China c. 689 BCE[citation needed]
Hefei (as Luyi, Ruyin, Luzhou, Hezhou, Lujiang) Zhou Dynasty Anhui, China c. 650 BCE The Viscount of Lu was asked to set the capital of his manor at Luyi(庐邑), which is in the north of today's downtown Hefei.
Suzhou (as Gusu, Wu, Pingjiang) Wu Jiangsu, China 514 BCE
Taiyuan (as Jinyang) Jin Shanxi, China c. 497 BCE
Nanjing (as Yecheng, Moling, Jianye, Jiankang, Jinling, Yingtian, Jiangning) Wu Jiangsu, China c. 495 BCE Fu Chai, Lord of the State of Wu, founded a fort named Yecheng (冶城) in today's Nanjing area.
Chengdu Shu Sichuan, China c. 400 BCE The 9th Kaiming king of the ancient Shu moved his capital to the city's current location from today's nearby Pixian.
Changsha (as Linxiang, Xiangzhou, Tanzhou, Tianlin) Chu Hunan, China c. 365 BCE
Kaifeng (as Daliang, Bianzhou, Dongjing, Bianjing) Wei Henan, China c. 364 BCE The State of Wei founded a city called Daliang (大梁)as its capital in this area.
Liaoyang (as Xiangping, Changping, Liaodong, Pingzhou, Liaozhou, Dongdu, Dongjing) Yan Liaoning, China c. 279 BCE
Guangzhou (as Panyu) Qin Dynasty Guangdong, China 214 BCE[citation needed]
Hangzhou (as Lin'an, Yuhang, Qiantang) Qin Dynasty Zhejiang, China c. 200 BCE The city of Hangzhou was founded about 2,200 years ago during the Qin Dynasty.
Pyeongyang (as Wanggeom-seong) Gojoseon North Korea 194 BCE Built as the capital city of Gojoseon in 194 BCE.
Gyeongju Silla South Korea 57 BCE Built as the capital city of Silla in 57 BCE.
Seoul (as Wiryeseong) Baekjae South Korea 18 BCE Built as the capital city of Baekjae in 18 BCE.
Osaka (as Naniwa) Japan Japan c. 400 CE It was inhabited as early at the 6th–5th centuries BCE, and became a port city during the Kofun period. It temporarily served as the capital of Japan from 645 to 655.
Nara (as Heijō-kyō) Japan Japan 710 Built as a new capital city in 710.
Kyoto (as Heian-kyō, and sometimes known in the west as Miyako) Japan Japan 794 Shimogamo Shrine was built in the 6th century, but the city was officially founded as Heian-kyō when it became the capital in 794.

Southeast Asia[edit]

Name Historical region Location Continuously inhabited as a city since Notes
Jakarta Tarumanagara Indonesia 397 CE[38] Despite the popular belief that Jakarta (Jayakarta) was founded by Demak Sultanate in 1527 ,[39] Jakarta is the oldest and the biggest city in the South East Asia region. The area of North Jakarta around Tugu area was inhabited far earlier since early 5th century. Tugu inscription (probably written around 417 CE) discovered in Batutumbuh hamlet, Tugu village, Koja, North Jakarta, mentioned King Purnawarman of Tarumanagara undertook hydraulic projects; the irrigation and water drainage project of the Chandrabhaga river and the Gomati river near his capital.[38]
Hanoi Jiaozhou Vietnam 454 First mentioned as Tống Bình in 454 CE, the Đại La citadel was built in 767 during the reign of Emperor Daizong of Tang; Ly Cong Uan renamed it Thăng Long in 1010.
Palembang Srivijaya Indonesia 683[40] Believed to be the oldest city in the Malay realm, capital of the Srivijaya empire. According to Kedukan Bukit inscription[40] Jayanasa established Srivijaya kingdom in Palembang area.
Luang Prabang Muang Sua Laos 698
Yogyakarta Mataram Kingdom Indonesia 732[41] The historic realm of Mataram of Southern Central Java region, which corresponds to today Yogyakarta city and its surrounding has its root in 8th century Mataram Kingdom. According to Canggal inscription dated 732, the area traditionally known as "Mataram" became the capital of the Medang Kingdom, identified as Mdang i Bhumi Mataram established by King Sanjaya.[41] The city reestablished again as the capital of Mataram Sultanate in 1587, and Yogyakarta Sultanate in 1755.
Siem Reap Khmer Empire Cambodia 801[42] Capital of the Khmer Empire.
Bagan Pagan Empire Myanmar 849[43]
Magelang Mataram Indonesia 907 Magelang was established on 11 April 907. Magelang was then known as a village called Mantyasih, which is now known as Meteseh.[44]
Bandar Seri Begawan Po-ni and Bruneian Empire Brunei 977[45] Oldest city in Borneo.
Butuan Rajahnate of Butuan Philippines 1001[46][47] Oldest continuously inhabited city in Mindanao.
Kediri Kediri Kingdom Indonesia 1042[48] Along with changes in name, it is essentially a union of the two capitals of Panjalu Kingdom and Janggala Kingdom. The settlements are always interspersed along both banks of Brantas River. Administratively, the Government of Indonesia divides Kediri into two political entities, Kediri Regency and the Town of Kediri which is located in the middle of the regency. Nevertheless, archaeological remains exist beyond administrative boundaries and settlements often spread disregarding administrative boundaries between both entities.
Yangon Konbaung Dynasty Myanmar 1043[49] Yangon was founded as Dagon in the early 11th century (circa 1028–1043) by the Mon but was renamed to "Yangon" after King Alaungpaya conquered Dagon.
Surabaya Janggala Kingdom Indonesia 1045[50]:147

The port city of Janggala or Hujung Galuh was one of the two Javanese capital city that was formed when Airlangga abdicated his throne in 1045 in favour of his two sons.[50]:147 The Kingdom of Janggala comprised the northeastern part of the Kingdom of Kahuripan. The other Kingdom was Kediri. Derived its name from the words "suro" (shark) and "boyo" (crocodile), two creatures which are in a local myth.[51]

Singapore Kingdom of Singapura Singapore 1170[52]
Singhapala Rajahnate of Cebu Philippines 13th century[53][54] Ancient city founded by Sri Rajahmura Lumaya or Sri Lumay, a half Tamil Chola prince.[55] Now part of Barangay Mabolo in Northern district of Cebu City.[53][54]
Banda Aceh Aceh Sultanate Indonesia 1205

Originally named Kutaraja, which means "City of the King".

Sukhothai Sukhothai Kingdom Thailand 1238
Manila Tondo and Rajahnate of Maynila Philippines 1258[56] A settlement in the Manila area already existed by the year 1258. This settlement was ruled by Rajah Avirjirkaya whom described as a "Majapahit Suzerain". This settlement was attacked by a Bruneian commander named Rajah Ahmad, who defeated Avirjirkaya and established Manila as a "Muslim principality".[56] By 1570, when the Spanish, led by Miguel López de Legazpi, arrived, it was still inhabited and led by at least one Lakan and several Rajahs.
Ayutthaya Ayutthaya Kingdom Thailand 1351

Derived its name from the holy Hindu city of Ayodhya, the birthplace of Lord Rama and the setting of the epic Ramayana. Ayutthaya was the capital city of Siam from 1351 until 1767.

Muar Majapahit Malaysia 1361[57]
Phnom Penh Khmer Empire Cambodia 1372[58]
Malacca Malacca Sultanate Malaysia 1396[59]
Hội An Nguyễn dynasty Vietnam 14th century[60]
Bogor Sunda Kingdom Indonesia 1482

West Asia[edit]

Ruins of ancient city of Damascus
Ruins of ancient city of Damascus
Ruins in Byblos
Ruins in Byblos
Ancient city of Aleppo
Ancient city of Aleppo

Continuous habitation since the Chalcolithic (or Copper Age) is vaguely possible but highly problematic to prove archaeologically for several Levantine cities (Damascus, Byblos, Aleppo, Jericho, Sidon and Beirut).

Cities became more common outside the Fertile Crescent with the Early Iron Age from about 1100 BCE. The foundation of Rome in 753 BCE is conventionally taken as one of the dates initiating Classical Antiquity.[citation needed]

Name Historical region Location Continuously inhabited as a city since Notes
Damascus Levant Syria late 2nd millennium BCE. It is not documented as an important city until the arrival of the Aramaeans.[61][62]
Byblos Levant Lebanon Chalcolithic; 3000 BCE[63] Settled from the Neolithic (carbon-dating tests have set the age of earliest settlement around 7000 BCE[64]), a city since the 3rd millennium BCE.[65][63] Byblos had a reputation as the "oldest city in the world" in Antiquity (according to Philo of Byblos).
Jericho Levant West Bank 1st millennium BCE Traces of habitation from 9000 BCE.[66][67] Fortifications date to 6800 BCE (or earlier), making Jericho the earliest known walled city.[68]

Archaeological evidence indicates that the city was destroyed and abandoned several times (sometimes remaining uninhabited for hundreds of years at a time), with later rebuilding and expansion.[69][70]

Rey Media Iran 3000 BCE[71] A settlement at the site goes back to the 3rd millennium BCE. Rey (also Ray or 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.[71]
Beirut Levant Lebanon 3000 BCE[72]
Jerusalem (Old City) Levant Israel c. 18th century BCE The Execration Texts (c. 19th century BCE), which refer to a city called rwš3lmm, variously transcribed as Rušalimum/Urušalimum/Rôsh-ramen[73][74] and the Amarna letters (c. 14th century BCE) may be the earliest mention of the city.[75][76] Nadav Na'aman argues its fortification as the centre of a kingdom dates to around the 18th century BCE.[77]
Tyre Levant Lebanon 2750 BCE[78]
Jenin Levant West Bank c. 2450 BCE[79] Jenin's history goes back to 2450 BCE, when it was built by the Canaanites. After 1244, Jenin flourished economically because of its location on the trade route, until a major earthquake completely destroyed the city.[80]
Aleppo Levant Syria 2nd millennium BCE
Homs Levant Syria possibly early 3rd century BCE May have been founded by Seleucus I Nicator
Erbil Mesopotamia Iraqi Kurdistan, Iraq 2300 BCE[81] The Citadel of Arbil is a fortified settlement in Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan. The city corresponds to ancient Arbela. Settlement at Erbil (Kurdish: Hewlêr) can be dated back to possibly 5000 BCE, but not urban life until c. 2300.
Kirkuk (as Arrapha) Mesopotamia Kirkuk Governorate, Iraq 3000–2200 BCE[82]
Ankara Anatolia Central Anatolia, Turkey at least 2000 BCE The oldest settlements in and around the city center of Ankara belonged to the Hattic civilization which existed during the Bronze Age.
Jaffa Levant Israel c. 2000 BCE Archaeological evidence shows habitation from 7500 BCE.[83]
Acre Levant Israel c. 2000 BCE There were initial settlements in the Acre area dated around 3000 BCE [84].
Sidon Levant Lebanon 2nd millennium BCE Sidon becomes a city-state during the 2nd millennium BCE.[85]
Hebron Levant West Bank c. 1500 BCE "Hebron is considered one of the oldest cities and has been continuously inhabited for nearly 3500 years."[86]
Gaziantep Anatolia Southeastern Anatolia, Turkey c. 3650 BCE[87] 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.[88] Assuming this to be the case, the founding date of the present site would be about 1000 BCE.[citation needed]
Eskişehir Anatolia Turkey c. 1000 BCE The city was founded by the Phrygians in at least 1000 BCE, although it has been estimated to be older than 4,000 years old. Many Phrygian artifacts and sculptures can still be found in the city's archeological museum.
Gaza Levant Gaza Strip c. 1000 BCE While evidence of habitation dates back at least 5,000 years, it is said to be continuously inhabited for a little more than 3,000 years.[89][90]
Hamadan (as Ecbatana) Media Iran c. 800 BCE[91]
Yerevan Urartu Armenia 782 BCE Founded as Erebuni. The Shengavit Settlement in the southwestern district of Yerevan was founded in the late 4th millennium BC, during the Calcolithic period.
Istanbul (as Byzantion) Thrace, Anatolia Turkey 685 BCE Anatolia; 660 BCE Thrace[92] Founded as a colony of Megara. Neolithic site dated to 6400 BCE, over port of Lygos by Thracians c. 1150 BCE.
Lod Levant Israel 200 CE[93]
Tabriz Caucasus Iran 3rd–7th century CE The earliest elements of the present Tabriz are claimed to be built either at the time of the early Sassanids in the 3rd or 4th century CE, or later in the 7th century.[94]
Yazd Media Iran 5th century CE[95] It has long been a haven for Zoroastrians.[95]


Name Historical region Location Continuously inhabited as a city since Notes
Argos Neolithic, Mycenaean Greece Greece continuous habitation as a city uncertain[96] The city has been cycling between village and city status for 7,000 years. Recorded history begins in mid 2nd millennium BCE.
Athens Neolithic, Mycenaean Greece Attica, Greece 5th–4th millennia BCE[97][98][99][page needed][dubious ] Oldest Recorded history begins at least from 1600 BCE[100], making it the oldest European capital city
Chania Crete Crete, Greece c. 1700–1500 BCE[101][unreliable source?] Minoan foundation as Kydonia.
Thebes Mycenaean Greece Boeotia, Greece c. 1600–1250 BCE[102] Mycenaean foundation.
Larnaca Alashiya Cyprus c. 1400 BCE[citation needed] Mycenaean, then Phoenician colony.
Trikala Mycenaean Greece Thessaly, Greece before 1200 BCE[citation needed] Founded as Trikke.
Chalcis Mycenaean Greece Greece before 1200 BCE[citation needed] Mentioned by Homer.
Lisbon Ulissipo (Phoenician) Portugal c.1200 BCE[103] Second-oldest European capital city
Cádiz Carthaginian Iberia Andalusia, Spain 1104 BCE Founded around 1104 BCE as Gadir or Agadir by Phoenicians from Tyre.
Patras Mycenaean Greece Greece c. 1100 BCE[citation needed] Founded by Patreus.
Chios Chios North Aegean, Greece c. 1100 BCE[citation needed]
Nicosia Mycenaean Greece Cyprus c. 1050 BCE[citation needed] Mycenaean foundation as Ledra. Archaeological evidence of continuous habitation since the beginning of the Bronze Age 2500 years BC.[citation needed]
Zadar Illyricum Croatia c. 1000 BCE[citation needed] Founded by Liburnians. Oldest continuously inhabited city in Croatia. Main Liburnian settlement.
Mtskheta Caucasian Iberia Georgia c. 1000 BCE[citation needed] Remains of towns at this location have been dated to earlier than the year 1000 BCE, and Mtskheta was capital of the early Georgian Kingdom of Iberia during the 3rd century BCE – 5th century CE. It was the site of early Christian activity, and the location where Christianity was proclaimed the state religion of Georgia in 337.
Mytilene Lesbos North Aegean, Greece 10th century BCE[citation needed]
Vani Colchis Imereti, Georgia before 8th century BCE[104][105]
Seville Iron Age Iberia Andalusia, Spain 8th century BCE[citation needed] founded as Tartessian Spal.[106]
Málaga Iron Age Iberia Andalusia, Spain 8th century BCE[citation needed] founded as Phoenician Malaka.[107][page needed]
Mdina Antiquity Malta Malta 8th century BCE[108] founded as Phoenician Melite.
Cagliari Sardinia Sardinia, Italy 8th century BCE[citation needed] Founded by Phoenicians from Tyre as Krly, Caralis in Roman times, Callaris in Middle Ages.
Messina (as Zancle) Sicily Sicily, Italy 8th century BCE[citation needed] Greek colony
Rome Latium Lazio, Italy 753 BCE[citation needed] Continuous habitation since approximately 1000 BCE.; pastoral village on the northern part of the Palatine Hill dated to the 9th century BCE; see also History of Rome and Founding of Rome.
Reggio di Calabria (as Rhégion) Magna Graecia Calabria, Italy 743 BCE[109] Continuous habitation since approximately 1500 BCE, as we have notice about the Ausonian-Italic pre-Greek settlement and about the sculptor Léarchos of Reggio (late 15th century BCE)[110] and King Iokastos (early 13th century BCE).[111]
Palermo (as זִיז, Ziz) Phoenicia Sicily, Italy 734 BCE[citation needed] Settlement presence since approximately 8000 BCE, as we know through cave drawings in the area now known as Addaura, but continuous documented habitation since the Phoenician times (734 BCE is traditionally considered as the founding year).
Syracuse Sicily Sicily, Italy 734 BCE[citation needed] A colony of the Greek city of Corinth.
Volterra Tuscany Tuscany, Italy c. 725 BCE[citation needed] An Etruscan mining settlement.[112]
Crotone (as Kroton) Calabria Magna Graecia, Italy 710 BCE[citation needed] Greek colony.
Taranto (as Taras) Magna Graecia Apulia, Italy 706 BCE[citation needed] Founded as the only Spartan colony by the Partheniae, children of unmarried Spartan women and perioikoi, free non-citizen residents of Sparta and her territories.
Corfu, Kerkyra Corfu Ionian Islands, Greece 700 BCE[citation needed] A colony of the Greek city of Corinth.
Kerch (as Panticapaeum) pre-Roman Crimea Crimea, Ukraine 7th century BCE[citation needed] Greek colony.
Feodosiya (as Theodosia) pre-Roman Crimea Crimea, Ukraine 7th century BCE[citation needed] Greek colony.
Istanbul (as Byzantion) Thrace, Anatolia Turkey 685 BCE Anatolia; 660 BCE Thrace[92] Founded as a colony of Megara; Neolithic site dated to 6400 BCE, over port of Lygos by Thracians c. 1150 BCE.
Naples Magna Graecia Italy c. 680 BCE[113] Actually the date at which an older settlement close by, called Parthenope, was founded by settlers from Cumae. This eventually merged with Neapolis proper, which was founded c. 470 BCE.
Ibiza (as Ybsm) Balearic Islands Spain 654 BCE[citation needed] Founded by the Phoenicians, according to Diodorus Siculus, book 5, chap. 16. Date consistent with archaeological finds.[114]
Durrës Illyria Albania 627–625 BCE[115] Founded as the Greek colony of Epidamnos.
Sozopol Thrace Burgas Province, Bulgaria 610 BCE Founded by Miletian colonists around 610 BCE, was named Apollonia Pontica in honour of the patron deity of Miletus – Apollo. The Ancient authors identify the philosopher named Anaximander as the founder of the city.
Edessa, Greece Macedonia Greece before the 6th century BCE[citation needed] Greek city, capital of the kingdom of Macedon up to the 6th century BCE.
Marseille (as Massilia) Gaul France 600 BCE[citation needed] A colony of the Greek city of Phocaea.
Kavala Macedonia Greece 6th century BCE[citation needed] Greek colony. Founded as Neapolis.
Mangalia Dacia Romania 6th century BCE[citation needed] Founded as Callatis.
Constanţa Dacia Romania 6th century BCE[citation needed] Founded as Tomis.
Mantua Po Valley Lombardy, Italy 6th century BCE[citation needed] Village settlement since c. 2000 BCE; became an Etruscan city in the 6th century BCE.
Milan Po Valley, Cisalpine Gaul Lombardy, Italy 6th century BCE Founded by the Insubres in the 6th century BCE according to Titus Livy. Conquered by the Romans in 222 BCE.
Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi (as Tyras) Bessarabia Ukraine 6th century BCE[citation needed]
Kutaisi Colchis Imereti province, Georgia 6th to 4th century BCE Archaeological evidence indicates that the city functioned as the capital of the kingdom of Colchis in the sixth to fifth centuries BCE.[116]
Varna Thrace Bulgarian Black Sea Coast, Bulgaria 585–570 BCE[citation needed] Founded[117] as Odessos by settlers from the Greek city of Miletus.
Sant Martí d'Empúries (as Emporion) Iberia Catalonia, Spain c. 575 BCE[citation needed] A colony of the Greek city of Phocaea. Present Sant Martí is on the ancient Palaiopolis of Emporion, in an island next to the coast; in 550 BCE, the inhabitants moved to the mainland, creating the Neapolis: Palaiapolis remained as a small neighbourhood.
Lamia Greece before the 5th century BCE[citation needed] Greek city. First mentioned 424 BCE
Serres Macedonia Greece 5th century BCE[citation needed] Greek city. First mentioned in the 5th century BCE as Siris.
Veria Macedonia Greece c. 432 BCE[citation needed] Greek city. First mentioned by Thucydides in 432 BCE.
Rhodes Rhodes, Aegean Sea Dodecanese, Greece c. 408 BCE[citation needed] Greek city.
Plovdiv Thrace Plovdiv Province, Bulgaria 4th century BCE[118][119] Site inhabited since Neolithic times. Hypothesized that it was precisely in the 4th Century BCE when Philipopolis (Plovdiv) emerged as a city.
Bitola (as Heraclea Lyncestis) Macedonia (ancient kingdom) North Macedonia 4th century BCE Founded by Philip II of Macedon, the father of Alexander the Great
Sofia Moesia Sofia Valley, Bulgaria 4th century BCE[citation needed] Celtic foundation as Serdica.[120]
Metz Gaul France 4th century BCE[citation needed] Founded as the oppidum of Celtic Mediomatrici. However, human permanent presence has been established in the site since 2500 BCE.
Roses (as Rhode) Iberia Catalonia, Spain 4th century BCE[citation needed] The exactly origin of the city is unknown, but there are remains of a Greek colony from the 4th century BCE, although some historians consider the foundation earlier, at the 8th century BCE. However, permanent human presence has been established in the site since 3000 BCE as evidenced by the different megalithic monuments surrounding the city.
Qabala (as Kabalaka) Caucasian Albania Azerbaijan 4th century BCE[121] Archeological evidence indicates that the city functioned as the capital of the Caucasian Albania as early as the 4th century BCE.[121]
Shkodra Illyria Albania 4th century BCE[122][123] Founded in the 4th century BCE as an urban settlement with the name Scodra and fortified in moenia aeacia style,[122] it became the capital of the Illyrian Kingdom under the Ardiaei and has been continuously inhabited ever since.[citation needed]
Stara Zagora Thrace Bulgaria 342 BCE[citation needed] It was called Beroe in ancient times and was founded by Phillip II of Macedon[124][125][126][127] although a Thracian settlement neolithic inhabitation have been discovered as well. It also has the oldest copper mines in Europe (5th millennium BCE)
Thessaloniki Macedonia (ancient kingdom) Greece 315 BCE[citation needed] Greek city. Founded as a new city in the same place of the older city Therme.
Berat Macedonia (ancient kingdom) Albania 314 BCE[citation needed] Founded[128] by Cassander as Antipatreia.
Vukovar Illyria Croatia 3000 BCE [129] Vučedol culture.
Barcelona (as Barcino) Iberia Catalonia, Spain 3rd century BCE[citation needed] Unknown origin. Several neolithics tombs (5000–4500 BCE) and remains from the Iberian period have been found, as well as several drachma coins inscribed with the word "Barkeno". The first archaeological remains of buildings are from the Roman period.
Belgrade Illyria Serbia 279 BCE[130] The present day territory of Belgrade continuously inhabited for more than 7000 years. Proto-urban Vinča culture prospered around Belgrade in the 6th millennium BCE. The fortified city of Belgrade founded around 279 BCE as Singidunum.
Niš Illyria Serbia 279 BCE[citation needed] Founded as Navissos. Neolithic settlements date to 5000–2000 BCE.
Matera Latium Basilicata, Italy after 251 BCE[131] The town of Matera was a founded by the Roman Lucius Caecilius Metellus in 251 BCE who called it Matheola.
Cartagena (as Carthago Nova) Iberia Spain 228 BCE[citation needed] Carthaginian colony, founded by Hasdrubal Barca.
Tarragona (as Tarraco) Iberia Catalonia, Spain 218 BCE[citation needed] Roman colony, founded by Gnaeus and Publius Cornelius Scipio.
Stobi/Gradsko Macedonia North Macedonia 217 BCE[citation needed] Founded as Stobi by Philip V of Macedon.
Bratislava Pannonia Slovakia 2nd century BCE[citation needed] Founded by Celtic Boii tribe. The first written reference to a Slavic settlement dates to 907.
Valencia Iberia Valencia, Spain 138 BCE Roman colony founded as Valentia Edetanorum.
Sremska Mitrovica Illyria Serbia 1st century BCE[citation needed] Founded as Sirmium. Neolithic settlements date to 5000 BCE and are with other archeological findings evidence to continuous habitation.
Smederevo Illyria Serbia 1st century BCE[citation needed] Founded as Semendria.
Ptuj Pannonia Slovenia 1st century BCE[citation needed] Ptuj is the oldest city in Slovenia. There is evidence that the area was settled in the Stone Age. In the Late Iron Age it was settled by Celts. By the 1st century BCE, the settlement was controlled by Ancient Rome.
Évora Lusitania Portugal 53 BCE (Roman conquest)[citation needed] Evidence of Lusitanian settlement prior to Roman occupation.
Paris Lutetia France 52 BCE[citation needed] Archaeological evidence indicates human habitation as early as 4200 BCE.[132] During the Gallic Wars, Caesar's armies set fire to Lutetia "a town of the Parisii, situated on an island on the river Seine."[133] While only a garrison at best on the Île de la Cité during some periods after 1st and 2nd century, was renamed Paris in 360 CE[134][135]
Zürich (Lindenhof) Gaul Switzerland c. 50 BCE[citation needed] Lakeside settlement traces dating to the Neolithic.
Cologne Germania Inferior Germany 38 BCE[citation needed] Founded in 38 BCE by the Ubii, a Germanic tribe, as Oppidum Ubiorum. In 50 CE, the Romans adopted the location as Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium and the city became in 85 CE the capital of the Roman province "Germania Inferior".
Trier Gallia Belgica Germany 30 BCE[citation needed] Oldest Roman city in Germany.
Cáceres Lusitania Spain c. 25 BCE There have been settlements near Cáceres since prehistoric times. Evidence of this can be found in the caves of Maltravieso and El Conejar. The city was founded by the Romans in 25 BC.
Mérida Lusitania Spain c. 25 BCE Emerita Augusta was founded as a Roman colony in 25 AD under the order of the emperor Augustus to serve as a retreat for the veteran soldiers (emeritus) of the legions V Alaudae and X Gemina. The city, one of the most important in Roman Hispania, was endowed with all the comforts of a large Roman city and served as capital of the Roman province of Lusitania since its founding and as the capital of the entire Diocese of Hispania during the fourth century.
Nijmegen Netherlands c. 17 BCE[citation needed] Oldest city in the Netherlands.
Augsburg Raetia, Roman Empire Germany 15 BCE Third oldest city in Germany after Cologne and Trier. Located in the Swabian region of Bavaria. Founded by the Romans as Augusta Vindelicorum.
Chur Raetia Prima Grisons, Switzerland 15 BCE[citation needed] habitation since the 4th millennium BCE (Pfyn culture).
Worms Germania Superior Germany 14 BCE[citation needed] The name of the city derives from the Latin designation Borbetomagus which is of Celtic origin.
Skopje Macedonia (Roman province) North Macedonia 13–11 BCE Founded in the time of Roman Emperor Octavian Augustus as Scupi.
Strasbourg Germania Superior France 12 BCE First official mention as the Roman camp of Argentoratum. The area had been populated since the Middle Paleolithic.[136]
Tongeren Germania Inferior Belgium 10 BCE[citation needed] Oldest city in Belgium.


Name Historical region Location Continuously inhabited as a city since Notes
Sydney New South Wales Australia 1788 Oldest city in Australia and oldest city in Oceania. Radiocarbon dating suggests human activity occurred in and around Sydney for at least 30,000 years, in the Upper Paleolithic period.[137][138] However, numerous Aboriginal stone tools found in Sydney's far western suburbs' gravel sediments were dated to be from 45,000 to 50,000 years BP, which would mean that humans could have been in the region earlier than thought.[139][140] The first people to occupy the Sydney region were an Indigenous Australian group called the Eora.[141][142]
Hobart Tasmania Australia 1803 Second-oldest city in Australia. Prior to British settlement, the area had been occupied for at least 8,000 years, but possibly for as long as 35,000 years,[143] by the semi-nomadic Mouheneener tribe, a sub-group of the Nuennone, or South-East tribe.[144]
George Town Tasmania Australia 1804 Third oldest city in Australia.
Newcastle New South Wales Australia 1804 Fourth oldest city in Australia.
Launceston Tasmania Australia 1806 Fifth oldest city in Australia.
Kerikeri Northland New Zealand c. 1818 Oldest European-founded settlement in New Zealand.
Bluff Southland New Zealand 1824 Previously known as Campbelltown, the oldest European-founded settlement in the South Island.
Brisbane Queensland Australia 1825 Oldest city in Northern Australia, State Capital.
Albany Western Australia Australia 1827 Oldest city in the West Coast of Australia.
Perth Western Australia Australia 1829 The area had been inhabited by the Whadjuk Noongar people for over 40,000 years, as evidenced by archaeological findings on the Upper Swan River.[145]
Melbourne Victoria Australia 1835 Before the arrival of European settlers, the area was occupied for an estimated 31,000 to 40,000 years.[146] At the time of European settlement, it was inhabited by under 20,000 hunter-gatherers from three indigenous regional tribes: the Wurundjeri, Boonwurrung and Wathaurong.[147][148]
Adelaide South Australia Australia 1836 State Capital.
Wellington Wellington Region New Zealand 1839 New Zealand's capital city from 1865 until the present day.
Auckland Auckland Region New Zealand 1840 New Zealand's capital city from 1841–1865.
Darwin Northern Territory Australia 1869 Territory Capital.
Canberra Australian Capital Territory Australia 1913 Capital city of Australia. Artifacts suggests early human activity occurred at some point in Canberra dating at around 21,000 years ago.[149]

See also[edit]


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