Civilizations have come and gone but there are certain cities in the world that have been continuously inhabited for thousands of years. These incredible ancient cities have found a way to survive all the ravages of time such as war, natural disasters and human destruction. Let’s take a look at 10 such historically significant cities that symbolized the culture, values & trade systems prevalent in entire continents around them.
Plovdiv in Bulgaria was formed as Eumolpias in 400 BC. It was a Thracian settlement and later conquered by the Macedonians. The city has survived since then to now be part of modern day Bulgaria. Some ancient architecture is still surviving and it is the second most popular city in Bulgaria after the capital Sofia.
Jerusalem is not only one of the oldest cities in the world that is still inhabited but it is also one of the most fought over cities in human history. It was formed around 2000 BC and is the holy city of Christianity, Islam and Judaism. Today it is the capital of Israel although some countries don’t acknowledge this and the fight over the city is still ongoing.
Xi’an was formed in 1100 BC and is one of the oldest cities in China that has survived to this day. Today it is the capital of the Shaanxi province but in ancient times it used to be the capital of China. There are many ancient ruins and monuments still surviving including the famous terracotta army in the tomb of Qin Shi Huang.
Cholula was formed in 500 BC in Mexico and is one of the oldest and most important cities of the new world. The locals had a great pyramid in the centre of the city which now looks like a hill with a church on top of it. Today the city lies in the state of Puebla but when it started out it was a pre Columbian city.
Varanasi is one of the oldest cities in the world that has survived to this day and remains almost unchanged from 1200 BC when it was formed. It is situated on the banks of the Ganges river and is a holy place for Hindus. Many old temples and buildings still survive and the old traditions and rituals have been followed without fail since the beginning of the city.
Lisbon in Portugal is the oldest city in the Western Europe. It was formed in 1200 BC and there are monuments and archeological evidence from the Neolithic age as well. In 1755 this city was struck by one of the deadliest earthquakes in history and it is only a miracle that the city survived it despite a tsunami and multiple fires. It has been an important port for centuries.
The capital of Greece, Athens was formed in 1400 BC. It should be considered the birth place of modern Western culture along with democracy, science and reason. The city contains many monuments from centuries ago which make it a famous tourist attraction. The splendid art and culture also attracts people to this city even today.
Damascus is considered to be the oldest city in the world by some people that is still inhabited. It is today the capital of Syria. It is considered a world heritage site that is in danger of getting destroyed because of the recent civil war in Syria. It seems that the worst time for the city, since it was formed in 1700 BC, might be right now. We’ll have to wait and see if it can survive its current crisis.
Rome is another great ancient city that survives to today. It was founded in 753 BC as a collection of small villages. It later went on to become the capital of the Roman Empire, one of the greatest empires in history. It is a famous tourist attraction as millions of people visit it to see the ruins of the ancient empire and get a sense of its magnificence.
Istanbul was founded in 660 BC as Constantinople. Constantinople was a very important city of the Roman Empire which later fell to the Turks of the Ottoman Empire. Many important artifacts of the Roman as well as the Ottoman Empire survive to this day in the city. Hagia Sofia, the church that was later converted into a mosque is one of the biggest tourist attractions of the city.