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 Africa and the Horn[edit]

Name Historical region Present location Continuously
inhabited since
Girga (as Thinis) Ancient Egypt  Egypt c. 3273 BC Settlement served as the capital of the first Pharaoh of Egypt, Narmer (c. 3273–2987 BC)[1]
Faiyum (as Shedet) Ancient Egypt  Egypt c. 2181 BC Settlement established by the Old Kingdom (c. 2686–2181 BC)[2]
Luxor (as Waset, better known by its Greek name Thebes) Ancient Egypt  Egypt c. 2150 BC First established as capital of Upper Egypt, Thebes later became the religious capital of the nation until its decline in the Roman period.
Aswan (as Swenett) Ancient Egypt  Egypt c. 650 BC Gained prominence in the Late Period (664–332 BC).[3]
Benghazi (as Euesperides) Cyrenaica  Libya c. 525 BC Founded in the 5th century BC, by the Greeks.[4]
Aksum Kingdom of Axum  Ethiopia c. 400 BC Ancient capital of the Kingdom of Axum.[5]
Alexandria Ancient Egypt  Egypt 332 BC Founded by Alexander the Great on the town of Rhacotis, which dates back to the Old Kingdom[6][7]
Zeila (as Avalites) Bilad al-Barbar  Somalia c. 100 AD Major trading city in the Horn of Africa.[8]


Name Historical region Present location Continuously
inhabited since
Gao Gao Empire, Songhai Empire  Mali c.600 AD Gao-Saney called al-kawkaw, Gaw-Gaw [9] by ancient Arab chroniclers is the first site of Gao, founded in the 7th century, it was the capital of the Gao Empire of Za Dynasty.[10]

A marble palace, stelae, houses and cemeteries dating from this period were discovered by archaeologists.[11] The current Gao built on a site near Gao-Saney was the capital of the largest contiguous land Empire of Songhai (1464-1591,[12] destroyed during the invasion of Songhai by the Saadians it is today the regional capital of the Gao regions in Mali. in Gao is the pyramidal Tomb of Askia where is buried the emperor Askia the great of Songhai.[13]

Zanzibar Swahili Coast  Tanzania 1st–3rd centuries AD[citation needed] A Greco-Roman text between the 1st and 3rd centuries AD, the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, mentioned the island of Menuthias (Ancient Greek: Μενουθιάς), which is probably Unguja, the island on which the city is located.
Benin City Kingdom of Benin  Nigeria c. 1000 AD City of Benin, the oldest city in Nigeria.
Ife Yorubaland  Nigeria c. 10th-6th century BC
Sofala Swahili Coast  Mozambique c. 700 AD[citation needed] One of the oldest harbours documented in Southern Africa.
Pate Swahili Coast  Kenya 8th century AD[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 c. 900 AD[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 AD[citation needed] Founded, possibly during the 10th century, as the capital of a sultanate connected commercially to Zanzibar in Tanzania.
Agadez Songhai Empire  Niger 11th century AD Founded in the 11th century, Agadez was an important stop for caravans crossing the Saharan Desert for centuries. Agadez was captured by the Songhai empire in 1515, and controlled by Bornu in the 17th century.[citation needed]
Kano Kingdom of Kano  Nigeria 11th century AD The foundation for the construction of Kano City Walls was laid by Sakri Gijimasu at some point between 1095 and 1134, and was completed in the middle of the 14th century during the reign of Usman Zamnagawa.[14]
Timbuktu Mali Empire, Songhai Empire  Mali 11th century AD Settled by Tuareg traders as an outpost, its incorporation into the Mali Empire and Songhai, Mande, and Soninke settlement from the 13th century rapidly developed the town.[15]
Malindi Swahili Coast  Kenya 13th–14th centuries AD[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 AD Capital of the Kongo Empire, already organized as a city before the arrival of the Portuguese.[citation needed]
Quelimane Swahili Coast  Mozambique 1400 AD[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.
Cidade Velha (as Ribeira Grande) Santiago Island  Cape Verde 1462 AD The first European settlement in Sub Saharian Africa.[16]
Luanda (as São Paulo da Assunção de Loanda) Portuguese Empire  Angola 1576 AD Founded by Portuguese explorer Paulo Dias de Novais on 25 January 1576 as "São Paulo da Assumpção de Loanda".[17]
Lagos Kingdom of Benin  Nigeria 16th century AD Initially established as a war camp for soldiers from the Kingdom of Benin.[18]
Ouidah Kingdom of Whydah  Benin 16th century AD 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.[19]
Antananarivo Merina Kingdom  Madagascar 1610 AD[20] or 1625 AD[21] Founded by the Merina King Andrianjaka, it is the oldest city in Madagascar.
Cape Town Dutch East India Company  South Africa 1652 AD Founded by Dutch settlers from Dutch East India Company and is the oldest city in South Africa.
Kumasi Ashanti Empire  Ghana c. 1680 AD[citation needed] Founded as Akan village and capital of the Kumaseman State, later becoming capital of Ashanti Empire.


North America[edit]

Name Historical region Present location Continuously
inhabited since
Flores Maya civilisation, then New Spain  Guatemala 900–600 BC[22] Formerly Nojpetén, the capital of the Itza kingdom, it has been occupied continuously since prehispanic times.[23] Earliest archaeological traces date back to 900–600 BC, with major expansion of the settlement occurring around 250–400 AD.[24] Ethnohistoric documents claim the founding of Nojpetén in the mid-15th century AD.[25]
Cholula Old Cholula  Mexico 2nd century BC Pre-Columbian Cholula grew from a small village to a regional center during the 7th century. Oldest still-inhabited city in the Americas.
Oraibi Puebloan peoples  United States c. 1100 AD[26]
Acoma Pueblo Puebloan peoples  United States c. 1144 AD[citation needed] Acoma Pueblo is said to have been founded during the 1200s,[27] but extant buildings from the 1100s and the consensus of Tribal peoples support the 1144 date.
Tucson Hohokam  United States c. 1300 AD[28] Hohokam village founded at the base of Sentinel Peak, later Tohono O'odam. Afterwards, became a Spanish presidio.[29]
Mexico City Mexica culture  Mexico 1325 AD 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 AD Oldest European settlement in the New World.
San Juan New Spain  Puerto Rico 1508 AD Oldest continuously inhabited city in a U.S. territory.
Nombre de Dios, Colón New Spain  Panama 1510 AD Oldest continuously inhabited European settlement in continental America.
Baracoa New Spain  Cuba 1511 AD Oldest European settlement in Cuba.
Havana New Spain  Cuba 1519 AD 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 AD Oldest continuously inhabited European established settlement in the North American continent.
Panama City Cueva Civilisation. After European colonisation: New Spain  Panama 1519 AD[30] Oldest European settlement on the Pacific.
Guadalajara New Spain  Mexico 1542 AD
Cartago New Spain  Costa Rica 1563 AD Oldest continuously inhabited European established settlement in Costa Rica.
St. Augustine New Spain  United States 1565 AD Oldest continuously inhabited European-founded city of the current 50 U.S. states.
Santa Fe New Spain  United States 1607 AD Oldest continuously inhabited state or territorial capital in the continental United States.
Quebec City New France  Canada 1608 AD Oldest city in Canada and oldest French-speaking city in the Americas.
Hopewell Virginia Company  United States 1613 AD 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 Netherlands  United States 1614 AD Followed by Jersey City, New Jersey (Communipaw) in 1617 and New York City (as New Amsterdam) in 1624. (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 Plymouth Colony  United States 1620 AD Fourth oldest continuously inhabited European-founded city in the United States[31]
New York City New Amsterdam  United States 1624 AD Founded in 1624 as New Amsterdam. Was renamed New York City in 1667. Is the 12th oldest continuously occupied European-established settlement in the continental United States [32]
Boston Massachusetts Bay Colony  United States c. 1625 AD Settled in 1625 and established in 1630, the city of Boston, Massachusetts, was established as the capital of the Massachusetts Bay Colony on the Shawmut Peninsula. It is one of the oldest major cities of the United States. Boston was a key city in the early American Revolution against the British Empire, eventually becoming the first city free of British rule in the United States. Boston is still one of the wealthiest and most important cities in the United States.
St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador Newfoundland Colony  Canada c. 1630 AD 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 AD Oldest incorporated city in Canada.
Trois-Rivières New France  Canada 1634 AD Fourth oldest city in Canada.
Montreal New France  Canada 1642 AD Fifth oldest city in Canada.
Sault Ste. Marie New France  Canada 1668 AD A single settlement until 1817, when it was divided into Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada and Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, United States. The latter is the oldest European-founded city in the Midwestern United States and third oldest US city west of the Appalachian Mountains.
Philadelphia Province of Pennsylvania  United States 1681 AD In 1681, King Charles II gave William Penn a large piece of his newly acquired American land holdings to repay a debt the king owed to Admiral Sir William Penn, Penn's father. Afterwards, Penn founded Philadelphia with a core group of accompanying Quakers and others seeking religious freedom on lands he purchased from the local chieftains of the Lenape or Delaware nation.[33]
Natchitoches New France  United States 1699 AD 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.[34] 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 New France  United States 1701 AD First European settlement above tidewater in North America.
New Orleans New France  United States 1718 AD Jean Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville in 1718 upon the slightly elevated banks of the Mississippi River approximately 95 miles (153 km) above its mouth.[citation needed]
Winnipeg British America  Canada 1738 AD Founded as Fort Rouge. Oldest city in the Canadian Prairies.
Charlotte Province of North Carolina  United States 1768 AD Area said to have been pre-colonially settled by the Catawba tribe with records dating back to 1567.
San Diego New Spain  United States 1769 AD Birthplace of California and oldest city on the West Coast of the United States.
Toronto British America  Canada 1793 AD Succeeded the destroyed Fort Rouillé. See also Teiaiagon.
Victoria Colony of Vancouver Island  Canada 1843 AD Oldest city on the West Coast of Canada.

South America[edit]

Name Historical region Present location Continuously
inhabited since
Cusco Inca Empire  Peru c. 1100 AD[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 Sacsayhuamán, the walled complex outside Cusco, has demonstrated that the Killke culture constructed the fortress about 1100.[35]
Quito Quitu culture  Ecuador 15th century AD[36]
Cumaná New Granada  Venezuela 1515 AD Oldest continuously inhabited, European-established settlement in the continent.
Santa Marta New Granada  Colombia 1525 AD Oldest still-inhabited city founded by Spaniards in Colombia.
São Vicente, São Paulo Governorate General of Brazil  Brazil 1532 AD First Portuguese village in South America.
Piura Peru  Peru 1532 AD Oldest European-founded city in Peru.[37]
Lima Peru  Peru 1535 AD Second-oldest continuously inhabited European-settled capital city in South America. The oldest being Quito.
Vila Velha, Espírito Santo Governorate General of Brazil  Brazil 1535 AD Second-oldest continuously inhabited Portuguese-settled village in South America. The oldest being São Vicente.
Cali New Granada  Colombia 1536 AD 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.
Asuncion Viceroyalty of Rio de la Plata  Paraguay 1537 AD 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).
Bogotá New Granada  Colombia 1540 AD The name of Bogotá, is derived from Bacatá, an indigenous area inhabitanted by the native Muisca encompassing what is presently the Colombian capital.
Santiago Captaincy General of Chile  Chile 1541 AD Oldest continuously inhabited European established settlement in Chile.
Salvador Governorate General of Brazil  Brazil 1549 AD First city founded by Portuguese, and first capital of Brazil
Santiago del Estero Río de la Plata  Argentina 1553 AD Oldest continuously inhabited city in Argentina.


Central and South Asia[edit]

Name Historical region Present location Continuously
inhabited since
Multan Punjab  Pakistan 3000–2800 BC[38] Perhaps the oldest city in Central and South Asia. Also known as Mulasthana or Kashyapapura, this city was founded by Kashyapa according to Hindu Puranas.[39] The region is home to numerous archaeological sites dating to the era of the Early Harappan period of the Indus Valley Civilisation.
Kandahar Arachosia  Afghanistan 3000–1500 BC[40] Perhaps the oldest city in Afghanistan. Mundigak is an important archeological site and is located in the present day Kandahar Province.[41]
Balkh Bactria  Afghanistan 2000-1000 BC[42] It was considered a major stop on the Silk Road as well as the birthplace of Zoroastrianism and was a major hub for Buddhism. Arab conquerors have called it Umm-al-belad, mother of cities.
Delhi Indraprastha  India 1200–900 BC[43][44][45] Established as the ancient city of Indraprastha, the later capital of the Kuru empire (after Hastinapur) by the ruling Kuru dyansty, around 12th-9th BCE over the Upper Ganges-Yamuna doabs of Northern India.
Varanasi Kashi  India c. 1200 BC[46][47] Oldest continuously inhabited city in India. Finds its mention in Ancient Vedas.
Sayram Transoxiana  Kazakhstan 1000 BC[48] Oldest continuously inhabited city in Kazakhstan. The city of Sayram is believed by some historians to have been mentioned in the Avesta, with Sairima possibly meaning Sayram. Evidence of an early plumbing system has been found around Sayram and Transoxiana.
Dushanbe Achaemenid  Tajikistan 1000 BC[49] Bronze Age burials were discovered dating from the end of the second to the beginning of the first millennium BC. Achaemenid dishes and ceramics were found 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) east of Dushanbe in Qiblai, as the city was controlled by the Achaemenids from the sixth century BC.[50]
Samarkand Sogdia  Uzbekistan 800–500 BC[51] Oldest continuously inhabited city in Uzbekistan.
Rajgir Rajgriha  India c. 600 BC[citation needed] The city of Rajgir was formed by Brihadratha, son of Uparichara Vasu.[citation needed]
Ujjain Malwa  India c. 600 BC[52] Rose to prominence in c. 600 BC as capital of Avanti.[citation needed]
Peshawar Gandhara  Pakistan 539 BC[53] One of the oldest cities of Pakistan.
Bukhara Sogdia  Uzbekistan c. 500 BC[54]
Patna (Pataliputra) Haryanka dynasty of Magadha  India 490 BC The city of Pataliputra was formed by fortification of a village by Haryanka ruler Ajatashatru, son of Bimbisara.
Sialkot (Sagala) Punjab  Pakistan 4th century BC The first record of Sialkot dates from the invasion of Alexander the Great, who conquered upper Punjab in 326 BCE.[55]
Chittagong Chattogram  Bangladesh 4th century BC
Anuradhapura Kingdom of Rajarata  Sri Lanka 4th century BC[56]
Madurai Pandyan Kingdom  India 3rd century BC Carbon dating evidences of artefacts found at Vaigai Civilisation are found to be from 3rd century BCE [57]Megasthenes may have visited Madurai during the 3rd century BC, with the city referred as "Methora" in his accounts.[58] 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.[59]
Kanchipuram Pallavas  India 3rd century BC Place of all 4 (bauddha/jaina/shaiva/vaishnava) learning[citation needed]
Tiruchirappalli Chola  India At least from 200 BCE. Currently a major city in Tamil Nadu
Guwahati Pragjyotishpura  India 2nd century BC The Ambari excavations trace the time period of the city of Guwahati between the 2nd century BCE and the 1st century CE, in the Shunga-Kushana period of Indian history.[60]
Bamyan Bactria  Afghanistan 1st century AD
Lahore Punjab  Pakistan c. 1-7th century AD The origin of Lahore can be traced back somewhere between 1st and 7th centuries A.D.[61] One of the oldest cities of South Asia. The first document that mentions Lahore by name is the Hudud al-'Alam ("The Regions of the World"), written by an unknown author in 982 AD. According to Ramayana the son of Indian king Rama, named Lava, established this city.
Kathmandu-Lalitpur, Nepal Nepal    Nepal 2nd century AD The epigraphically attested history of Kathmandu valley begins in the 2nd century.
Quetta Gedrosia  Pakistan c. 6-7th century AD [62] There were early mentions of this city during the Islamic Conquest of Sindh when Sindhi bandits were attacked and chased to Al-Qiqan (present-day Quetta) in the year 658, suggesting its existence pre-7th century.
Tiruvannamalai Pallava dynasty or Hoysala Empire  India 6th century AD

East Asia[edit]

Name Historical region Present location Continuously
inhabited since
Yanshi, Henan (Erlitou Site) Xia dynasty  China c. 1900 BC [63]
Luoyang (as Xibo, Luoyi, Zhongguo, Henan, Dongdu, Shendu) Shang dynasty  China c. 1600 BC [64] Oldest continuously inhabited city in China
Xi'an (as Haojing, Fenghao, Chang'an, Jingzhao, Daxing) Zhou dynasty  China c. 1100 BC The site is now home to the Xi'an Banpo Museum, built in 1957 to preserve the archaeological collection.[65] Oldest prefecture capital in China.
Handan Jin  China c. 1080 BC [66]
Beijing (as Ji, Youzhou, Fanyang, Yanjing, Zhongdu, Dadu) Ji, Yan  China c. 1045 BC Paleolithic Homo sapiens lived in the caves from about 27,000 to 10,000 years ago.[67]
Zibo (as Yingqiu, Linzi, Qiling, Zichuan, Boping) Qi  China c. 1045 BC [68] 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  China c. 689 BC [69]
Weinan (as Dongfu) Qin  China c. 668 BC
Hefei (as Luyi, Ruyin, Luzhou, Hezhou, Lujiang) Zhou dynasty  China c. 650 BC 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  China 514 BC
Taiyuan (as Jinyang) Jin  China c. 497 BC
Nanjing (as Yecheng, Moling, Jianye, Jiankang, Jinling, Yingtian, Jiangning) Wu  China c. 495 BC Fu Chai, Lord of the State of Wu, founded a fort named Yecheng (冶城) in today's Nanjing area.
Chengdu Shu  China c. 400 BC 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  China c. 365 BC
Kaifeng (as Daliang, Bianzhou, Dongjing, Bianjing) Wei  China c. 364 BC The State of Wei founded a city called Daliang (大梁)as its capital in this area.
Chongqing Ba  China c. 316 BC
Liaoyang (as Xiangping, Changping, Liaodong, Pingzhou, Liaozhou, Dongdu, Dongjing) Yan  China c. 279 BC
Guangzhou (as Panyu) Qin dynasty  China 214 BC [70][71] Some traditional Chinese histories placed Nanwucheng's founding during the reign of Ji Yan,[72][73] king of Zhou from 314 to 256 BC. It was said to have consisted of little more than a stockade of bamboo and mud.[74][73]
Hangzhou (as Lin'an, Yuhang, Qiantang) Qin dynasty  China c. 200 BC The city of Hangzhou was founded about 2,200 years ago during the Qin dynasty.
Kashgar Shule Kingdom  China 2nd century BC The city of Kashgar was the capital of the Iranic Shule Kingdom and served as a major hub of the Silk Road.[75]
Pyeongyang (as Wanggeom-seong) Gojoseon  North Korea 194 BC Built as the capital city of Gojoseon in 194 BC.
Gyeongju Silla  South Korea 57 BC Built as the capital city of Silla in 57 BC.
Seoul (as Wiryeseong) Baekje  South Korea 18 BC Built as the capital city of Baekjae in 18 BC.
Osaka (as Osumi) Japan  Japan 390 AD It was inhabited as early at the 6th–5th centuries BC, and became a port city during the Kofun period. It temporarily served as the capital of Japan from 645 to 655.
Nara (as Heijō) Japan  Japan 708 AD Built in 708 and became the capital city in 710 as Heijō-kyō.
Kyoto (as Heian, and sometimes known in the west as Miyako) Japan  Japan 710 AD Shimogamo Shrine was built in the 6th century, but the city was officially founded as Heian in 710 and became the capital city in 794 as Heian-kyō.

Southeast Asia[edit]

Name Historical region Present location Continuously
inhabited since
Hanoi Âu Lạc  Vietnam 257 BC In 257 BC, after defeating the last Hùng king, An Dương Vương merged Văn Lang and Nam Cương in to Âu Lạc and set the capital at Cổ Loa citadel, nowadays Đông Anh district of Hanoi. It was also mentioned as Tống Bình in 454 AD and the Đại La citadel was built in 767 during the reign of Emperor Daizong of Tang. Ly Cong Uan then renamed it Thăng Long in 1010.
Huế Lâm Ấp  Vietnam 1st century AD Huế was built under the name Kandarpapura and used for about 1 century from the beginning of the 4th century to the end of the 4th century (after 380) during the period when Hinayana Buddhism (Thevarada) and Hinduism heavily influenced Lâm Ấp.[76][77]
Pyay Pyu city-states  Myanmar 638 AD Much debate surrounds the construction of Sri Ksetra. Htin Aung suggests that Pyu might have been founded in 78 CE, based on the Sanskrit / Pyu Era. D. G. E. Hall and Gordon Luce, however, claim that civilisation of the Irrawaddy Valley could not have been possible before the 4th century, thus, attributing the founding of Sri Ksetra to 638, from which the current Burmese Kawza Era begins.
Palembang Srivijaya  Indonesia 683 AD[78] Believed to be the oldest city in the Malay realm, capital of the Srivijaya empire. According to Kedukan Bukit inscription[78] Jayanasa established Srivijaya kingdom in Palembang area.
Luang Prabang Muang Sua  Laos 698 AD
Yogyakarta Mataram Kingdom  Indonesia 732 AD[79] 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.[79] The city reestablished again as the capital of Mataram Sultanate in 1587, and Yogyakarta Sultanate in 1755.
Malang Kanjuruhan Kingdom  Indonesia 740 AD According to Dinoyo inscription, Malang in the past known as Kanjuruhan kingdom and badut temple dated 740 AD but the city itself established older than the temple and inscription. Today Malang Raya or Malang city is the 2nd largest city and metro area in east Java.
Nakhon Si Thammarat Tambralinga  Thailand 775 AD An inscription was found at Wat Sema Muang that bore: The king of Srivijaya "had established a foothold on the Malay Peninsula at Ligor" by 775, where he "built various edifices, including a sanctuary dedicated to the Buddha and to the Bodhisattvas Padmapani and Vajrapani."[80]: 84–85, 91 
Siem Reap Khmer Empire  Cambodia 801 AD[81] Capital of the Khmer Empire.
Lamphun Hariphunchai  Thailand 896 AD
Magelang Mataram  Indonesia 907 AD Magelang was established on 11 April 907. Magelang was then known as a village called Mantyasih, which is now known as Meteseh.[82]
Hưng Yên Tĩnh Hải quân  Vietnam 966 AD Set as the temporary capital of area controlled by warlord Phạm Bạch Hổ during the Anarchy of the 12 Warlords
Hoa Lư Đại Cồ Việt  Vietnam 968 AD After reunifying Vietnam and ending the anarchy of the 12 warlords, Đinh Bộ Lĩnh was crowned Emperor of Đại Cồ Việt and set the capital at Hoa Lư, Ninh Bình. The city lies in a mountainous area and had a defensive position that contributed to the victory of Đại Cồ Việt against the Song dynasty of China.
Bandar Seri Begawan Po-ni and Bruneian Empire  Brunei 977 AD[83] Oldest city in Borneo.
Butuan Rajahnate of Butuan  Philippines 1001 AD[84][85] Oldest continuously inhabited city in Mindanao.
Bắc Ninh Đại Cồ Việt  Vietnam 1009 AD In 1009, Cổ Pháp village was converted into the city of Thiên Đức, nowadays Bắc Ninh city.
Kediri Kediri Kingdom  Indonesia 1042 AD[86] 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 AD[87] 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 AD[88]: 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.[88]: 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.[89]

Singapore Kingdom of Singapura  Singapore 1170 AD[90]
Sukhothai Lavo Kingdom  Thailand 1180 AD
Singhapala Rajahnate of Cebu  Philippines c. 1300 AD[91][92] Ancient city founded by Sri Rajahmura Lumaya or Sri Lumay, a half Tamil Chola prince.[93] Now part of Barangay Mabolo in Northern district of Cebu City.[91][92]
Banda Aceh Aceh Sultanate  Indonesia 1205 AD

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

Manila Tondo and Rajahnate of Maynila  Philippines 1258 AD[94] 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".[94] 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.
Nam Định Đại Việt  Vietnam 1262 AD In 1262, Tức Mặc village was converted into the city of Thiên Trường, nowadays Nam Định city.
Chiang Rai Ngoenyang  Thailand 1262 AD
Chiang Mai Lanna Kingdom  Thailand 1294 AD or 1296 AD Mangrai founded Chiang Mai in 1294[95] or 1296[96]: 209  on a site that the Lawa people called Wiang Nopburi.[97][98]
Taungoo Pagan Kingdom  Myanmar 1279 AD Taungoo was founded in 1279 in the waning days of Pagan as part of frontier expansion southwards.
Sagaing Sagaing Kingdom  Myanmar 1315 AD Sagaing was the capital of Sagaing Kingdom (1315-1364), one of the minor kingdoms that rose up after the fall of Pagan dynasty, where one of Thihathu's sons, Athinkhaya, established himself.[80]: 227 
Ayutthaya Ayutthaya Kingdom  Thailand 1350 AD

Derived its name from the holy Hindu city of Ayodhya, it was the capital city of Siam from 1350 until 1767.

Muar Majapahit  Malaysia 1361 AD[99]
Phnom Penh Khmer Empire  Cambodia 1372 AD[100]
Malacca Malacca Sultanate  Malaysia 1396[101]
Bangkok Ayutthaya Kingdom  Thailand Early 15th century AD The history of Bangkok dates at least back to the early 15th century, when it was a village on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River, under the rule of Ayutthaya.[102]
Hải Dương Đại Việt  Vietnam 1469 AD[103]
Hội An Đại Việt  Vietnam 1471 AD[104]
Bogor Sunda Kingdom  Indonesia 1482 AD

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
Name Historical region Present location Continuously
inhabited since
Byblos Levant  Lebanon Settled in the Neolithic (7000 BC); continuous habitation as a city 3000 BC[105] Settled from the Neolithic (carbon-dating tests have set the age of earliest settlement around 7000 BC[106]), a city since the 3rd millennium BC.[107][105] Byblos had a reputation as the "oldest city in the world" in Antiquity (according to Philo of Byblos).
Fasa Persis  Iran c. 500 B.C. [108]
Jahrom Persis  Iran At least the Parthian period.[109]
Ray Media  Iran 6000 B.C.[110] It was an important Median city. Later in the 20th century Rey merged with Tehran as a result of the two cities' close proximity and the latter's rapid growth.
Hamadan (Ecbatana) Media  Iran c. 800 BC[111] The capital city of the Median Empire.
Tabriz Media  Iran 714 B.C.[112] An important and prosperous city along the silk road, it was made the capital city several times during various periods under various ruling dynasties of the region.
Neyshabour Khorasan/Parthia  Iran c. 200 AD The capital city of the Tahirid dynasty. It was founded by Shapur I.[113]
Gorgan Hyrcania/Parthia  Iran At least the Achaemenid period.[114][115][116]
Amol Tabaristan  Iran At least 6th century B.C.[117] Amol has been one of the most important and prominent cities of its region since at least the Achaemenid period. In Sassanian times it was the capital of the province of Padishkhwargar. After the Arab conquest of Iran, it often continued its role as the capital city under the various ruling regional dynasties.
Damascus Levant  Syria 10000–8000 BC Excavations on the outskirts of the city have revealed evidence of inhabitation as early as 8000 to 10000 BC, with inhabitation attested to since 3000 BC.[118][119][120]
Jeddah Hejaz  Saudi Arabia 6th century BC[citation needed]
Jericho Levant Palestine early 1st millennium BC Traces of habitation from 9000 BC.[121][122] Fortifications date to 6800 BC (or earlier), making Jericho the earliest known walled city.[123]

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.[124][125]

Beirut Levant  Lebanon 3000 BC[126]
Jerusalem Levant Claimed by
Israel and Palestine
?c. 3000 BC[127][128] The Execration Texts (c. 19th century BC), which refer to a city called rwš3lmm, variously transcribed as Rušalimum/Urušalimum/Rôsh-ramen[129][130] and the Amarna letters (c. 14th century BC) may be the earliest mention of the city.[131][132] Nadav Na'aman argues its fortification as the centre of a kingdom dates to around the 18th century BC.[133]
Tyre Levant  Lebanon 2750 BC[134]
Tarsus Anatolia  Turkey c. 2500 BC[135] Prehistoric development of Tarsus reaches back to the Neolithic Period.
Jenin Levant Palestine c. 2450 BC Jenin's history goes back to 2450 BC, 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.
Aleppo Levant  Syria 2nd millennium BC
Tripoli (as Oyat) Phoenicia  Lebanon c. 700 BC Founded in the 7th century BC, by the Phoenicians.[136]
Homs Levant  Syria possibly early 3rd century BC May have been founded by Seleucus I Nicator
Erbil Mesopotamia  Iraq(Iraqi Kurdistan) 3300 BC[137] The Citadel of Erbil is a fortified settlement in Erbil, Iraq. The city corresponds to the ancient Assyrian city of Arbela. Settlement at Erbil can be dated back to possibly 5000 BC, but not urban life until c. 2300.
Kirkuk (as Arrapha) Mesopotamia  Iraq 3000–2200 BC[138]
Ankara Anatolia  Turkey at least 2000 BC 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 BC Archaeological evidence shows habitation from 7500 BC.[139]
Acre Levant  Israel c. 2000 BC There were initial settlements in the Acre area dated around 3000 BC.[140]
Sidon Levant  Lebanon 2nd millennium BC Sidon becomes a city-state during the 2nd millennium BC.[141]
Medina Hejaz  Saudi Arabia 9th century BC[142] Medina has been inhabited at least 1500 years before the Hijra.[142]
Hebron Levant Palestine Iron Age[143]
Tripoli Levant  Lebanon 14th century BC
Batroun Levant  Lebanon 14th century BC The Phoenicians founded Batroun on the southern side of the promontory called in Antiquity, Theoprosopon and during the Byzantine Empire, Cape Lithoprosopon. Batroun is said to have been founded by Ithobaal I (Ethbaal), king of Tyre, whose daughter Jezabel (897–866 B.C.) married Ahab.[144]
Eskişehir Anatolia  Turkey c. 1000 BC The city was founded by the Phrygians in at least 1000 BC, 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 Palestine c. 1000 BC 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.[145][146]
Yerevan Urartu  Armenia 782 BC[147] Founded as Erebuni.
Istanbul (as Byzantion) Thrace, Anatolia  Turkey 685 BC Anatolia; 660 BC Thrace[148] Founded as a colony of Megara. Neolithic site dated to 6400 BC, over port of Lygos by Thracians c. 1150 BC.
Qabala (as Kabalaka) Caucasian Albania  Azerbaijan 4th century BC[149] Archeological evidence indicates that the city functioned as the capital of the Caucasian Albania as early as the 4th century BC.[149]
Dumat al-Jandal Al-Jawf  Saudi Arabia 10th century BC It was named after Dumah son of Ishmael and was The Capital City of Qedarite Kingdom
Zgharta Levant  Lebanon 200 BC[150][151] The Plain of Zgharta around Zgharta was likely inhabited from at least the beginning of the Neolithic Revolution by the Qaraoun culture as evidenced by some large, heavy Neolithic flints and double-headed axes found in the area that are documented by R. Wetzel and J. Haller in 1945.[150][151]
Lod Levant  Israel c. 200 AD[152]


Name Historical region/period Present location Continuously
inhabited since
Argos Neolithic Europe, Mycenaean Greece  Greece 5000 BC[153] The city has been continuously inhabited mostly as an urban settlement for 7,000 years. Recorded history begins in mid 2nd millennium BC.
Athens Mycenaean Greece  Greece 5th–4th millennia BC[154][155][156] Oldest recorded history begins at least from 1600 BC,[157] making it the oldest European capital city.
Thebes Mycenaean Greece  Greece c. 5000 BC[158]
Larisa Mycenaean Greece  Greece c. 4000–5000 BC[159] According to archaeological excavations, inhabited continuously from Early Bronze Age.
Chania Crete  Greece c. 1700–1500 BC[160][unreliable source?] Minoan foundation as Kydonia.
Nafplio Mycenaean Greece  Greece Early 14th century BC[161] Mentioned as Nuplija, the port of Mycenae, in the "Aegean List" of the Mortuary Temple of Amenhotep III, early 14th century BC.[161]
Cádiz Phoenicia  Spain c. 1100 BC[162] Founded as Gadir by the Phoenicians.
Vani Colchis  Georgia before 8th century BC[163][164]
Seville Iron Age Iberia  Spain 8th century BC[citation needed] founded as Tartessian Spal.[165]
Málaga Iron Age Iberia  Spain 8th century BC[citation needed] founded as Phoenician Malaka.[166][page needed]
Mdina Antiquity Malta  Malta 8th century BC[167] founded as Phoenician Melite.
Derbent Caucasus  Russia 8th century BC Continuously inhabited since the 8th century BC, it was a part of Caucasian Albania that became a satrap of the Persian Achaemenid Empire.[168]
Lisbon Lusitania  Portugal 8th century BC[169][170][171] Roman city of Olisipo. Phoenician settlement since as early as 1200 BC.[172][173][174][175]
Rome Latium  Italy c. 753 BC The traditional founding date is 753 BC. Archaeology shows that the site has been inhabited since c. 1200 – c. 1000 BC, with urbanisation beginning around the mid-eighth century BC.[176]
Reggio di Calabria (as Rhegion) Magna Graecia  Italy 743 BC[177]
Catania (as Katane) Sicily, Magna Graecia  Italy 729 BC[178]
Volterra Tuscany  Italy c. 725 BC[citation needed] An Etruscan mining settlement.[179]
Corfu (city) (as Kerkyra) Corfu  Greece c. 709 BC.[180] Founded as a colony of the Greek city of Corinth
Istanbul (as Byzantion) Thrace, Anatolia  Turkey 685 BC Anatolia; 660 BC Thrace[148] Founded as a colony of Megara; Neolithic site dated to 6400 BC, over port of Lygos by Thracians c. 1150 BC.
Syracuse Sicily  Italy ca. 680-675 BC (traditionally 734 BC)[181][182][183] A colony of the Greek city of Corinth.
Naples Magna Graecia  Italy c. 680 BC[184] 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 BC.
Ibiza (Eivissa) (as Ybsm) Balearic Islands  Spain 654 BC[citation needed] Founded by the Phoenicians, according to Diodorus Siculus, book 5, chap. 16. Date consistent with archaeological finds.[185]
Durrës Illyria  Albania 627–625 BC[186] Founded as the Greek colony of Epidamnos in cooperation with the local Illyrian Taulantii.[187]
Sozopol Thrace  Bulgaria 610 BC[188] Founded by Milesian colonists around 610 BC, 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.
Kerch Crimea  Ukraine c. 610 BC Founded as an Ancient Greek colony known as Panticapaeum.[189]
Marseille (as "Massalia) Gaul  France 600 BC[190][191][192] Founded as a colony of the Greek city of Phocaea.
Kutaisi Colchis  Georgia 6th to 4th century BC Archaeological evidence indicates that the city functioned as the capital of the kingdom of Colchis in the sixth to fifth centuries BC.[193]
Nesebar Thrace  Bulgaria beginning of the 6th century BC [194] Originally a Thracian settlement, known as Mesembria, the town became a Greek colony when settled by Dorians from Megara at the beginning of the 6th century BC, then known as Mesembria. It was an important trading centre from then on and a rival of Apollonia (Sozopol). It remained the only Dorian colony along the Black Sea coast, as the rest were typical Ionian colonies. At 425-424 BC the town joined the Delian League, under the leadership of Athens.[194]
Varna Thrace  Bulgaria 585–570 BC[195] Founded[196] as Odessos by settlers from the Greek city of Miletus.
Plovdiv Thrace  Bulgaria 4th century BC[197][198] Hypothesized that it was precisely in the 4th century BC when Philipopolis (Plovdiv) emerged as a city, founded as such by Philip II of Macedon, the father of Alexander the Great, although the site is inhabited since Neolithic times. There is evidence of habitation in Plovdiv dating back to the 6th millennium BCE, when the first Neolithic settlements were established.[199]
Sofia Moesia  Bulgaria 4th century BC[200] Celtic foundation as Serdica.[201] Habitation in the area since 7000 BC,[202]
Lezhë Illyria  Albania 4th century BC Founded by Illyrians in the 4th century BC as an urban settlement with the name Lissos, it became an important city in the Illyrian kingdom under the Ardiaei and Labeatae.[203][204][205][206]
Shkodra Illyria  Albania 4th century BC[207][208] Founded by Illyrians in the 4th century BC as an urban settlement with the name Skodra and fortified in moenia aeacia style,[207] it became the capital of the Illyrian Kingdom under the Ardiaei and Labeatae and was one of the most important cities of the Balkans in ancient times.[209]
Stara Zagora Thrace  Bulgaria 342 BC[citation needed] It was called Beroe in ancient times and was founded by Philip II of Macedon[210][211][212][213] although a Thracian settlement neolithic inhabitation have been discovered as well. It also has the oldest copper mines in Europe (5th millennium BC)
Thessaloniki Macedonia (ancient kingdom)  Greece 315 BC[214][215] Founded as a new city in the same place of the older city Therme.
Berat Illyria  Albania 4th century BC Founded by Illyrians or Cassander of Macedon as Antipatreia.[216][217]
Belgrade Illyria  Serbia 279 BC[218] The present day territory of Belgrade continuously inhabited for more than 7000 years. Proto-urban Vinča culture prospered around Belgrade in the 6th millennium BC. The fortified city of Belgrade founded around 279 BC as Singidunum.
Paris Lutetia  France 52 BC[citation needed] Archaeological evidence indicates human habitation as early as 4200 BC.[219] During the Gallic Wars, Caesar's armies set fire to Lutetia "a town of the Parisii, situated on an island on the river Seine."[220] 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 AD[221][222]
Braga Lusitania  Portugal c. 16-15 BC[223] Bracara Augusta was founded in 16-15 BC under the order of the emperor Augustus.
Strasbourg Germania Superior  France 12 BC First official mention as the Roman camp of Argentoratum. The area had been populated since the Middle Paleolithic.[224]
Colchester Britain  United Kingdom 20-10 BC Considered to be the oldest recorded town in the United Kingdom. First British town to be given the status Colonia in the Roman empire, where it was known as Camulodunum and was recorded by Pliny the Elder. The Celtic name of the city, Camulodunon appears on coins minted by tribal chieftain Tasciovanus in the period 20–10 BC. Before the Roman conquest of Britain, it was already a centre of power for Celtic king Cunobeline.[225]


Name Historical region Present location Continuously
inhabited since
Sydney New South Wales  Australia 1788 AD 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.[226][227] 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.[228][229] The first people to occupy the Sydney region were an Indigenous Australian group called the Eora.[230][231]
Hobart Tasmania  Australia 1803 AD 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,[232] by the semi-nomadic Mouheneener tribe, a sub-group of the Nuennone, or South-East tribe.[233]
George Town Tasmania  Australia 1804 AD Third oldest city in Australia.
Newcastle New South Wales  Australia 1804 AD Fourth oldest city in Australia.
Launceston Tasmania  Australia 1806 AD Fifth oldest city in Australia.
Kerikeri Northland  New Zealand c. 1818 AD Oldest European-founded settlement in New Zealand.
Bluff Southland  New Zealand 1824 AD Previously known as Campbelltown, the oldest European-founded settlement in the South Island.
Brisbane Queensland  Australia 1825 AD Oldest city in Northern Australia, State Capital.
Albany Western Australia  Australia 1827 AD Oldest city on the West Coast of Australia.
Perth Western Australia  Australia 1829 AD 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.[234]
Melbourne Victoria  Australia 1835 AD Before the arrival of European settlers, the area was occupied for an estimated 31,000 to 40,000 years.[235] 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.[236][237]
Kingscote South Australia  Australia 1836 AD First official European settlement in South Australia, Australia's first free settled colony. Kangaroo Island was occupied by an Aboriginal group from as long as 16,000 years ago until their disappearance 2,000 – 4,000 years ago.
Adelaide South Australia  Australia 1836 AD State Capital of South Australia, Australia's first free settled colony. European settlement began in 1836.
Wellington Wellington Region  New Zealand 1839 AD New Zealand's capital city from 1865 until the present day.[238]
Auckland Auckland Region  New Zealand 1840 AD New Zealand's capital city from 1841 to 1865. Prior to this, it was inhabited by Māori from about the 14th century.
Darwin Northern Territory  Australia 1869 AD Territory Capital.
Levuka Ovalau  Fiji 1877 AD[239] Oldest municipality in Fiji.[239]
Canberra Australian Capital Territory  Australia 1913 AD Capital city of Australia. Artifacts suggests early human activity occurred at some point in Canberra dating at around 21,000 years ago.[240]

See also[edit]


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