10 Oldest Cities of the World: Then & Now
Human history dates back to thousands of years, and the culmination of all the culture and developments have lead to the world as we know it today. There have been a number of civilizations which have come and gone, leaving behind great legacies and rich history for us to be proud of and to learn from. So here are the ten oldest cities of the world which stood tall at its time:
One of the largest settlements of the Indus Valley Civilization, it is known to be one of the oldest, largest and major settlements of the ancient world. It is older than the prehistoric Indus culture by around 3000 years. It is also known as the Harappa civilization. Mohenjo-daro was one of the most advanced cities of its time and boasted to be the first city in history to have drainage. The city was well planned and had a bath of its own. Mohenjo-Daro was abandoned in 1900 BC when the Indus Valley Civilization went into decline.
AlexandriaThe city of Alexandria served as the capital of Egypt at the time when it was conquered by Alexander the Great. It continued to be the capital from 332 BC to 641 BC. One of the Seven Wonders of the World of the ancient world, the Lighthouse of Alexandria was built in the city of Alexandria. It was the intellectual centre of the time and had one of the largest libraries of the world. Located near the coast of Mediterranean Sea, it is the second largest city in Egypt in the present day.
Located between the Euphrates and Tigris rivers, Babylon is one of the fertile plains and was one of the major cities of the ancient Mesopotamian Civilization. With the rise of the First Amorite Dynasty, the city of Babylon attained independence in 1894 BC. Like Alexandria, Babylon also had one of the Seven Wonders of the World located there- the Hanging Gardens of Babylonia. It had the distinction of being the largest city in the world twice from 1770 BC to 1670 BC and 612 BC to 320 BC. The ruins of the city are located south of Baghdad about eighty-five kilometers.
The city of Rome was part of the Ancient Rome, which was an Italic Civilization. It was located near the Mediterranean Sea and existed from 753 BC to 476 BC. Rome is known for their governance techniques and building the concepts of republic countries for the modern age. They also contributed highly to the modern law, politics, art, architecture, literature, engineering, warfare, technology, language, religion and society. Achieving great technological advancements during its glory years like aqueducts and road and building large monuments and public facilities, Rome developed to be one of the most developed states of its time.
Known for its cultural achievements, Athens is one of the oldest cities from the Ancient Greece inhabited at least for 5000 BC. The advancements made by the city is the one that laid the foundations of the western civilization as we know it now. Athens began as a small community but grew to be one of the major cities that of the world, that it earned the distinction of being the only city not to be enslaved or sacked by the Spartans after Athens’ defeat in the Peloponnesian War.
The city of Aleppo was located between the Mediterranean Sea and Mesopotamia. It is where the Silk Road ends after passing through Mesopotamia and Central Asia. The city is known to be inhabited from 11000 BC. They built cell-like quarters in the cities to protect themselves from the constant invasions and political instabilities. Due to its significance in ancient history, it became a UNESCO Heritage Site since 1986. It is now part of present day Syria and is under constant threat from the Islamic state militant groups, who has been responsible for destroying a series of historic buildings.
Jerusalem is one of the oldest cities coming into existence in the 3000 BC, being home to a wealth spiritual and religious site. Located in ancient Judah, it is the capital of Israel. It has been the holiest cities of Judaism and Christianity and is the spiritual centre of Jewish people since 1000 BC. Jerusalem has been added to the list of the Heritage Sites of the World due to its danger of being one of the centers of religious conflicts and terrorism.
Varanasi is considered to be the oldest cities in India, dating back to 5000 years. It is one of the holiest cities in the world for Hindus and is a major pilgrimage site. Located on the banks of Ganga River, it was the religious centre of the civilization. Varanasi is also called by the name of Banaras and boasted a rich culture with a city well planned.
Founded as a small trading port by the Phoenicians, Cadiz fell to the Carthaginians in 500 BC. This, in fact, helped in Cadiz being the base of Hannibal’s naval fleet for the conquest Iberia. It has been the home for Spanish navy fleet since the eighteenth century because of its location as a narrow piece of land in the Atlantic Ocean. It experienced the renaissance developments during the age of exploration and also came under the rule of the Romans. Cadiz’s earliest civilization is said to have existed during 1100 BC.
Described as the Mother of Cities by Arabs, Balkh is located in the northern part modern Afghanistan. Before the rise of Persian and Median empires, the city reached its peak from 2500 BC to 1900 BC. It is the home of modern cotton industry in the country.
With all cities having different stories to say, they teach us a major theme of how humanity has survived through the years against all the odds to get to where we are now. The rich culture and development have helped us to get to a position where we are very comfortable with our lives, thanks to these wonderful cities and the works of the great people who lived in it.