List of oldest known surviving buildings

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This article lists the oldest known surviving free-standing buildings constructed in the world, including on each of the continents and within each country. A building is defined as any human-made structure used or interface for supporting or sheltering any use or continuous occupancy. In order to qualify for this list a structure must:

  • be a recognisable building;
  • incorporate features of building work from the claimed date to at least 1.5 metres (4.9 ft) in height;
  • be largely complete or include building work to this height for most of its perimeter.
  • contain an enclosed area with at least one entry point.

This deliberately excludes ruins of limited height and statues. The list also excludes:

  • dolmens, a type of single-chamber megalithic tomb, usually consisting of three or more upright stones supporting a large flat horizontal capstone. Dolmens were typically covered with earth or smaller stones to form a tumulus (which are included in the list). In many instances, that covering has weathered away, leaving only the stone "skeleton" of the burial mound intact. Neolithic dolmens are extremely numerous, with over 1,000 reported from Mecklenburg-Vorpommern in Germany alone.[1]
  • cairns, which are simply large piles of loose stones (as opposed to chambered cairns)
  • standing stone rings, such as Stonehenge, also do not count because they are not enclosed and do not have roofs.

Dates for many of the oldest structures have been arrived at by radiocarbon dating and should be considered approximate.

By age[edit]

The following are amongst the oldest buildings in the world that have maintained the requirements to be such. Occupation sites with older human made structures such as those in Göbekli Tepe do exist, but the structures are monuments and do not meet the definition of building (which can be seen above). Many of the buildings within the list contain primarily bricks, but most importantly maintain their walls and roof. There are numerous extant structures that survive in the Orkney islands of Scotland, some of the best known of which are part of the Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site.[2] The list also contains many large buildings from the Egyptian Age of the Pyramids.

Building Image Country Continent First built Use Note
Göbekli Tepe Göbekli Tepe, Urfa.jpg Turkey Asia 10000 – 7500 BC Place of worship Located in southern Turkey. The tell includes two phases of use, believed to be of a social or ritual nature by site discoverer and excavator Klaus Schmidt, dating back to the 10th–8th millennium BC. The structure is 300 m in diameter and 15 m high.
Tower of Jericho
Tower of Jericho.jpg
West Bank, Palestine Asia 8000 BC Tower is an 8.5-metre-tall (28 ft) stone structure, constructed of undressed stones, with an internal staircase of twenty-two steps.
Çatalhöyük Çatalhöyük, 7400 BC, Konya, Turkey - UNESCO World Heritage Site, 08.jpg Turkey Asia 7500 – 5700 BC Settlement very large Neolithic and Chalcolithic proto-city settlement in southern Anatolia
Mehrgarh
Mehrgarh ruins.jpg
Pakistan Asia 7000 BC Settlement A Neolithic archaeological site situated on the Kacchi Plain of Balochistan in Pakistan. It is located near the Bolan Pass, to the west of the Indus River and between the modern-day Pakistani cities of Quetta, Kalat and Sibi.
Durankulak (archaeological site)
Durankulak-Golemija ostrov.JPG
Bulgaria Europe 5500—4100 BC Settlement The Durankulak Archaeological Complex unites three sites: Tell Golemija ostrov (the Big Island), the necropolis and the fields. On the Tell Golemija ostrov there are settlements from the Early Chalcolithic - Hamandjia III-IV culture, the Late Chalcolithic - Varna culture, ritual pits and sacrificial pylons from the Proto-Bronze and Bronze Ages - Chernavoda I and III cultures, fortified Late Bronze Age settlement - Koslogeni culture (Sabatinovka-Noua-Coslogeni "cultural complex"), ancient buildings with a cave temple of the goddess Cybele and an early medieval proto-Bulgarian settlement with several rotundas, which existed from the 9th to the beginning of the 11th century AD. The total thickness of the cultural strata is 3.20 - 3.50 m. The settlement mound has seven stratigraphic horizons.
Solnitsata Solnitsata Bulgaria Europe 5500 BC [3][4] Settlement Believed to be the oldest town in Europe, Solnitsata was the site of a prehistoric fortified (walled) stone settlement (prehistoric city) and salt production facility approximately from the 6th – 5th millennium BC;[5] it flourished ca 4700–4200 BC.[6][7][8]
Barnenez Barnenez front2.jpg France Europe 4800 BC Passage grave Located in northern Finistère and partially restored. According to André Malraux it would have been better named 'The Prehistoric Parthenon'. The structure is 72 m (236 ft) long, 25 m (82 ft) wide and over 8 m (26 ft) high.[9][10]
Tumulus of Bougon Barnenez France Europe 4800 BC Tumulus A complex of tombs with varying dates near Poitiers, the oldest being F0.[9]
Saint-Michel tumulus Barnenez France Europe 4500 BC Tumulus The tumulus forms what is almost an artificial hillock of more than 30,000 m3 (1,100,000 cu ft) (60 m × 125 m × 10 m (197 ft × 410 ft × 33 ft)).[11][12]
Anu ziggurat of Uruk Anu district.svg Iraq Asia 4000–3800 BC Ziggurat A massive White Temple was built atop of the ziggurat. Under the northwest edge of the ziggurat a Stone Temple has been discovered.
Monte d'Accoddi Monted'accoddisardegna.png Italy (Sardinia) Europe 4000–3650 BC[13][14] Possibly an open-air temple, or a step pyramid. A trapezoidal platform on an artificial mound, reached by a sloped causeway. New radiocarbon dating (2011) allow us to date the building of the first monument to 4000–3650 BC, the second shrine dating to 3500–3000 BC."[15]
La Hougue Bie La Hougue Bie entrance and chapel, Jersey.jpg Jersey Europe 4000–3500 BC Passage grave An 18.6 m (61 ft) long Neolithic passage grave with 12th century (medieval) chapel above [16] and World War II structures.[17][18]
Knap of Howar Knapofhowarinsun.jpg United Kingdom (Scotland) Europe 3700 BC House Oldest preserved stone house in north west Europe.[19][20][21]
Ġgantija Ggantija Temples, Xaghra, Gozo.jpg Malta Europe 3700 BC Temple Two structures on the island of Gozo. The second was built four centuries after the oldest.[22][23]
Dolmen of Menga Dolmen of Menga.jpg Spain Europe 3700 BC Tomb A megalithic burial mound called a tumulus, a long barrow form of dolmen
West Kennet Long Barrow Westkennet.jpg United Kingdom (England) Europe 3650 BC Tomb Located near Silbury Hill and Avebury stone circle.[24]
Listoghil Sligo carrowmore.jpg Ireland Europe 3550 BC Passage Tomb At the centre of the Carrowmore passage tomb cluster, a simple box-shaped chamber is surrounded by a kerb c.34 m (112 ft) in diameter and partly covered by a cairn. It has been partly reconstructed.[25]
Stoney Littleton Long Barrow Side of Stoney Littleton Long Barrow.jpg United Kingdom (England) Europe 3550 BC Tomb Neolithic chambered tomb with multiple burial chambers, belonging to the Severn-Cotswold group located near Wellow, Somerset, England.[26]
Sechin Bajo Sechin casma valley.JPG Peru South America 3500 BC Plaza The oldest known building in the Americas.[27]
Dholavira Dholavira1.JPG India Asia 3500 BC Settlement A complex of ruins with varying dates at Dholavira.[28][29][30]

It has brick water reservoirs, with steps, circular graves and the ruins of a well planned town.

Recent research suggests the beginning of occupation around 3500 BCE (pre-Harappan) and continuity until around 1800 BCE (early part of Late Harappan period).[31]

Midhowe Chambered Cairn Midhowe Cairn interior - geograph.org.uk - 33776.jpg United Kingdom (Scotland) Europe 3500 BC Tomb A well-preserved example of the Orkney-Cromarty type on the island of Rousay.[32]
Gavrinis passage tomb Cairn Gavrinis entrance.jpg France Europe 3500 BC Tomb On a small island, situated in the Gulf of Morbihan.[33]
Wayland's Smithy Wayland Smithy Long barrow.jpg United Kingdom (England) Europe 3460 BC Chamber tomb A barrow constructed on top of an older burial chamber.[34]
Unstan Chambered Cairn Unstan chambered cairn entrance by Bruce McAdam.jpg United Kingdom (Scotland) Europe 3450 BC Tomb Excavated in 1884, when grave goods were found, giving their name to Unstan ware.[35][36][37]
Loughcrew Cairn T Loughcrew.jpg Ireland Europe 3400 BC Tomb It is the site of megalithic burial grounds dating back to approximately 3500 and 3300 BC
Knowe of Yarso chambered cairn Knowe of Yarso Chambered Cairn 20110525.jpg United Kingdom (Scotland) Europe 3350 BC Tomb One of several Rousay tombs. It contained numerous deer skeletons when excavated in the 1930s.[35][38][39]
Quanterness chambered cairn Chambered Cairn and Farm House - geograph.org.uk - 1075905.jpg United Kingdom (Scotland) Europe 3250 BC Tomb The remains of 157 individuals were found inside when excavated in the 1970s.[35][40][41]
Tarxien Temples Tarxien Temple Malta Europe 3250 BC Temples Part of the Megalithic Temples of Malta World Heritage Site.[22][42]
Shahr-e Sukhteh Shahr-e Sukhteh 20160329 02.jpg Iran Asia 3200 BC Settlement A rich source of information regarding the emergence of complex societies and contacts between them in the third millennium[43]
Newgrange Newgrange.JPG Ireland Europe 3200 BC[44] Burial Partially reconstructed around original passage grave.[45]
Knowth KnowthPS.jpg Ireland Europe c. 3200 BC Passage grave A Neolithic passage grave and an ancient monument of the World Heritage Site of Brú na Bóinne
Dowth View of Dowth.jpg Ireland Europe between 3200 and 2900 BC Tomb The cairn is about 85 metres (280 ft) in diameter and 15 metres (50 ft) high.
Skara Brae Skara Brae 12.jpg United Kingdom (Scotland) Europe 3180 BC Settlement Northern Europe's best preserved Neolithic village.[46][47]
Tomb of the Eagles Isbister Chambered Cairn 20110524.jpg United Kingdom (Scotland) Europe 3150 BC Tomb In use for 800 years or more. Numerous bird bones were found here, predominantly white-tailed sea eagle.[48][49]
Tepe Sialk ziggurat Tepe Sialk, Kashan, Irán, 2016-09-19, DD 24.jpg Iran Asia 3000 BC Ziggurat The oldest settlements in Sialk to date to around 6000–5500 BC.[50][51] The Sialk ziggurat was built around 3000 BC.
Dolmen de Bagneux Saumur Dolmen Bagneux 2007.jpg France Europe 3000 BC Dolmen This is the largest dolmen in France, and perhaps the world, the overall length of the dolmen is 23 m (75 ft), with the internal chamber at over 18 m (59 ft) in length and at least 3 m (9.8 ft) high.[52][53][54]
Grey Cairns of Camster The Grey Cairns of Camster - geograph.org.uk - 675.jpg United Kingdom (Scotland) Europe 3000 BC or older Tomb Located near Upper Camster in Caithness.[55][56]
Hulbjerg Jættestue Hulbjerg Jættestue.jpg Denmark Europe 3000 BC Passage grave The grave is concealed by a round barrow on the southern tip of the island of Langeland. One of the skulls found there showed traces of the world's earliest dentistry work.[57][58][59]
Dolmens of North Caucasus Dolmen Russia Kavkaz Jane 3.JPG Russia Europe 3000 BC Tomb There are numerous tombs, some perhaps originating in the Maikop culture, in the North Caucasus.[60][61]
Taversoe Tuick chambered cairn Taversoe Tuick - geograph.org.uk - 1448330.jpg United Kingdom (Scotland) Europe 3000 BC Tomb Unusually, there is an upper and lower chamber.[62]
Holm of Papa chambered cairn Inside the chambered cairn on the Holm of Papa Westray - geograph.org.uk - 1364571.jpg United Kingdom (Scotland) Europe 3000 BC Tomb The central chamber is over 20 m (66 ft) long.[63][64]
Barpa Langass Entrance to Barpa Langass Chambered Cairn - geograph.org.uk - 1523313.jpg United Kingdom (Scotland) Europe 3000 BC Tomb The best preserved chambered cairn in the Hebrides.[65][66]
Cuween Hill Chambered Cairn Cuween Hill, front external view, 2012 March.jpg United Kingdom (Scotland) Europe 3000 BC Tomb Excavated in 1901, when it was found to contain the bones of men, dogs and oxen.[67][68]
Quoyness cairn Quoyness Chambered Cairn - geograph.org.uk - 86230.jpg United Kingdom (Scotland) Europe 2900 BC Tomb An arc of Bronze Age mounds surrounds this cairn on the island of Sanday.[69]
Maeshowe Maes Howe 1861.jpg United Kingdom (Scotland) Europe 2800 BC Tomb The entrance passage is 36 feet (11 m) long and leads to the central chamber measuring about 15 feet (4.6 m) on each side.[70][71]
Shunet El Zebib Khasekhemwy Monument (I).jpg Egypt Africa 2700 BC Mortuary temple Built as a funerary enclosure, a place where the deceased king was worshipped and memorialised.
Pyramid of Djoser Pyramid of Djoser 2010.jpg Egypt Africa 2667–2648 BC Burial Earliest large-scale cut stone construction.[72]
Harappa WellAndBathingPlatforms-Harappa.jpg Pakistan Asia 2600 BC Settlement A Bronze Age fortified city with clay sculptured houses located west of Sahiwal.[73]

The Indus Valley civilization had a possible writing system, urban centers, and diversified social and economic system.

Mohenjo Daro Mohenjo-daro-2010.jpg Pakistan Asia 2600 BC Settlement An archeological site near Larkana.[74]

The world's earliest settlement with one and two storied brick houses, public baths, assembly halls, central marketplace and covered drains.

Caral Piramide de Caral.jpg Peru South America 2600 BC Pyramid Once thought to be the oldest building in South America.[75]
Pyramid of Meidum Pyramid of sneferu Meidum 01.jpg Egypt Africa c. 2580 BC Tomb Fourth Dynasty structure completed by Sneferu.
Bent Pyramid Snefru's Bent Pyramid in Dahshur.jpg Egypt Africa c. 2580 BC Tomb A second structure completed by Sneferu.
Red Pyramid Snofrus Red Pyramid in Dahshur (2).jpg Egypt Africa c. 2580 BC Tomb Third large pyramid completed by Sneferu.[76]
Great Pyramid of Giza Kheops-Pyramid.jpg Egypt Africa 2560 BC Tomb Mausoleum for fourth dynasty Egyptian Pharaoh Khufu.[77] World's tallest man-made structure for over 3800 years, until Lincoln Cathedral in 1311.
Megalithic Monuments of Alcalar MegalithicMonumentAlcalar.jpg Portugal Europe Between 3000 and 2000 BC Tomb A group of burial tombs that comprise a Calcolithic necropolis.
Capel Garmon Capel garmon 2.jpg United Kingdom (Wales) Europe c. 2500 BC Tomb Burial chamber dating from the 3rd millennium BC that belongs to the Severn-Cotswold Group.[78]
Pyramid of Khafre Khafre's Pyramid343.jpg Egypt Africa c. 2500 BC Tomb One of the Pyramids of Giza.[79]
Pyramid of Menkaure Menkaure's pyramid.jpg Egypt Africa c. 2500 BC Tomb Menkaure was probably Khafre's successor.
Pyramid of Userkaf Saqqarah Ouserkaf 06.jpg Egypt Africa c. 2480 BC Tomb Located close to Pyramid of Djoser.[80]
Pyramid of Sahure Pyramide de Sahourê Abousir.JPG Egypt Africa c. 2480 BC Tomb Built for Sahure.[81]
Pyramid of Neferirkare Kakai Neferefre Abusir Pyramid.jpg Egypt Africa c. 2460 BC Tomb Built for Neferirkare Kakai.[81]
Pyramid of Neferefre Abousir Neferefre 01.jpg Egypt Africa c. 2455 BC Tomb Never completed but does contain a tomb.[81]
Pyramid of Niuserre Pyramid of Niuserre.jpg Egypt Africa c. 2425 BC Tomb [82]
Royal Palace of Ebla Ebla - DecArch - 2-126.jpg Syria Asia 2400–2300 BC Palace
Pyramid of Djedkare-Isesi Pyramid of Djedkare, Saqqara, 1990ies.png Egypt Africa c. 2370 BC Tomb
Pyramid of Unas Sakkara C02-29.jpg Egypt Africa c. 2340 BC Tomb [83]
Pyramid of Teti PiramideTeti.jpg Egypt Africa c. 2330 BC Tomb
Labbacallee Labbacallee.jpg Ireland Europe c. 2300 BC Tomb The largest wedge tomb in Ireland.[84]
Shimao China (Shaanxi) Asia 2300–2000 BC Settlement Fortified Neolithic site, centered on a large stepped pyramid with a height of 70m.[85]
Pyramid of Merenre Pyramid of Merenre, Saqqara, 1990ies.jpg Egypt Africa c. 2275 BC Tomb Built for Merenre Nemtyemsaf I but not completed.
Pyramid of Pepi II Neferkare PepiIIPyramid.jpg Egypt Africa c. 2180 BC Tomb
Crantit cairn United Kingdom (Scotland) Europe 2130 BC Tomb Discovered in 1998 near Kirkwall.[86][87]
Ziggurat of Ur Iraq Asia 2100 BC Temple The Great Ziggurat of Ur was a temple built under King Ur-Nammu in honor of the goddess Nanna. It was partially reconstructed in the 1980s under Saddam Hussein.
Dolmen de Viera Dolmen de Viera.JPG Spain Europe 2000 BC Tomb The Dolmen de Viera or Dolmen de los Hermanos Viera is a dolmen—a type of single-chamber megalithic tomb[88]
Dolmen of Cava dei Servi The Cava dei Servi dolmen (Ragusa-Sicily).jpg Italy (Sicily) Europe 2000 BC Tomb The dolmen of Cava dei Servi is a semi-oval monument formed by four rectangular slabs fixed into the ground. Three slabs are on top, leaning in such a way they reduce the surface and form a false dome.[89]
Rubha an Dùnain passage grave Chambered Cairn at Rubh' an Dunain - geograph.org.uk - 180698.jpg United Kingdom (Scotland) Europe 2000 BC or older Tomb [90][91][92]
Corrimony chambered cairn Corrimony Chambered Cairn - 3 - 29042008.JPG United Kingdom (Scotland) Europe 2000 BC or older Tomb A Clava-type passage grave surrounded by a circle of 11 standing stones.[93][94]
Bryn Celli Ddu BrynCelliDdu3.jpg United Kingdom (Wales) Europe 2000 BC Tomb Located on the island of Anglesey.[95]
Balnuaran of Clava Clava Cairns - geograph.org.uk - 476673.jpg United Kingdom (Scotland) Europe 2000 BC Tomb The largest of three is the north-east cairn, which was partially reconstructed in the 19th century. The central cairn may have been used as a funeral pyre.[92][96][97]
Vinquoy chambered cairn, Eday Vinquoy chambered tomb - geograph.org.uk - 190143.jpg United Kingdom (Scotland) Europe 2000 BC Tomb [98]
Pyramid of Amenemhat I AmenemhetIPyramid.jpg Egypt Africa c. 1960 BC Tomb
Karnak Temple de Louxor 53.jpg Egypt Africa 1971–1926 BC Temple Actually a temple complex.
Pyramid of Senusret I Licht-senwsPyramids 01.jpg Egypt Africa c. 1920 BC Tomb
Pyramid of Senusret II SenusretIIPyramid.jpg Egypt Africa c. 1875 BC Tomb
Knossos Greece Europe 1850–1750 BC Palace Minoan structure on a Neolithic site.[99]
Pyramid of Senusret III Photo-pyramide-sesostris3.jpg Egypt Africa c. 1835 BC Tomb Built for Senusret III.
Black Pyramid BlackPyramidOfAmenemhetIII.jpg Egypt Africa c. 1820 BC Tomb Built for Amenemhat III, it has multiple structural deficits.
Hawara Pyramid of amenemhet hawarra 01.jpg Egypt Africa c. 1810 BC Tomb Also built for Amenemhat III.
Pyramid of Khendjer Khendjer-complexe-1.jpg Egypt Africa c. 1760 BC Tomb Built for pharaoh Khendjer.
Daorson
Cyclopean walls of Daorson
Bosnia and Herzegovina Europe 17–16th century BC City and citadel Illyrian settlement and capital of Daorsi tribe.
Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut Temple of Hatshepsut - panoramio - ianpudsey.jpg Egypt Africa 15th century BC Temple
Nuraghe Santu Antine Torralba San Antine 10.JPG Italy (Sardinia) Europe 1600 BC Possibly a fort The second tallest of these megalithic edifices found in Sardinia and tallest still standing.[100]
Sinauli Sinauli chariot ASI.jpg India Asia 1800 BC Settlement The Sinauli excavation site is located in Sinauli, western Uttar Pradesh, India, at the Ganga-Yamuna Doab.[101][102] Major findings from 2018 trial excavations are dated to c. 2000 - 1800 BCE, and ascribed to the Ochre Coloured Pottery culture (OCP)/Copper Hoard Culture. The rituals relating to the Sanauli burials shows close affinity with Vedic rituals.[103]
Adichanallur Civiltà thamirabani, reperti da adhichanallur, 02.jpg India Asia 1500 BC Settlement In 2004, a number of skeletons were found buried in earthenware urns. Some of these urns contained writing in Tamil Brahmi script. While some of the burial urns contained skeletons.[104] In 2018, research on skeletons remains were dated at Manipur University to around 1500 BC.[105]
Su Nuraxi di Barumini Nuraghe Su Nuraxi.jpg Italy (Sardinia) Europe 1500 BC Possibly a fort or a palace The palace of Barumini is formed by a huge quatrefoiled nuraghe, whose central tower is its oldest construction. Originally it was almost 20 m (66 ft) high and divided into three floors.[106][107]
Luxor Temple Luxor-Tempel Pylon 08.jpg Egypt Africa c.1400 BC Temple Actually a temple complex.
Nuraghe La Prisciona Nuraghe la Prisciona.jpg Italy (Sardinia) Europe 1400 BC Possibly a fort The monument has a central tower and 2 side towers, the former with an entrance defined by a massive lintel of 3.20 m (10.5 ft). The central chamber has a false dome, which is more than 6 m (20 ft) high.[108]
The King's Grave Kivik Kungagraven.JPG Sweden Europe 1400 BC Tomb Near Kivik is the remains of an unusually grand Nordic Bronze Age double burial.[109]
The Ziggurat of Dur-Kurigalzu ‘Aqar Qūf.jpg Iraq Asia 14th century BC Probably religious rituals Built for the Kassite King Kurigalzu I.[110]
Treasury of Atreus Treasure of Atreus.jpg Greece Europe 1250 BC Tomb The tallest and widest dome in the world for over a thousand years.[111]
Chogha Zanbil Choghazanbil2.jpg Iran Asia 1250 BC Temple One of the few extant ziggurats outside of Mesopotamia.[112]
Mortuary Temple of Seti I Temple of Sethi I 03, egypt forever.jpg Egypt Africa 13th century BC Temple
Ramesseum Ramesseum 03.JPG Egypt Africa 13th century BC Temple Mortuary temple of Ramses II.
Naveta d'Es Tudons Tudons01.jpg Spain Europe 1200–750 BC Ossuary The most famous megalithic chamber tomb in Menorca.[113]
Mortuary Temple of Ramesses III Medinet Habu Ramses III. Tempel 40.jpg Egypt Africa 1186–1155 BC Temple
Dún Aonghasa Dun Aengus 2009.jpg Ireland Europe 1100 BC Fort Dún Aonghasa, also called Dun Aengus, has been described as one of the most spectacular prehistoric monuments in western Europe. The drystone walled hillfort is made up of 4 widely spaced concentric ramparts.[114][115]
Cuicuilco Circular Pyramid Leading2PyramidCuicuilcoDF.JPG Mexico North America 800–600 BC Ceremonial center One of the oldest standing structures of the Mesoamerican cultures. First steps in the creation of a sun based calendar.[116]
Van Fortress Van kalesi.jpg Turkey Asia 750 BC Fortress Massive Urartean stone fortification overlooking Tushpa.
Necropolises of Cerveteri and Tarquinia TombaDadoBanditaccia.jpg Italy Europe 700 BC Tombs These Etruscan necropolises contain thousands of tombs, some organized in a city-like plan.[117]
Temple of Cyrene Archaeological Site of Cyrene-109021.jpg Libya Africa c. 630 BC Temple The temple was destroyed and rebuilt around 115 AD and was damaged in the 4th century AD.
Keezhadi excavation site Keezhadi excavation.jpg India Asia 580 BC Settlement Keezhadi (also as Keeladi) excavation site is a Sangam period settlement that is being excavated by the Archaeological Survey of India and the Tamil Nadu Archaeology Department.
Temple of Hera Veduta di Paestum 2010.jpg Italy Europe 550 BC Temple Part of a complex of three great temples in Doric style.[118]
Tomb of Cyrus CyrustheGreatTomb 22057.jpg Iran Asia 530 BC Tomb Tomb of Cyrus the Great, located in Pasargadae
Persepolis Persepolis001.jpg Iran Asia 522 BC Ceremonial capital Ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire
Yeha Temple Yeha Tigray Ethiopia.jpg Ethiopia Africa 500 BC Temple Temple of the sun and moon.
Parthenon The Parthenon in Athens.jpg Greece Europe 432–447 BC Temple In the Acropolis of Athens
Tomb of Seuthes III Tomb of Seuthes III Bulgaria Europe 450–400 BC Tomb The tomb was originally a monumental temple at Golyama Kosmatka Mound, built in the second half of the 5th century BC. After extended use as a temple, at the later part of the 3rd century BC the Thracian king Seuthes III was buried inside.
Thracian Tomb of Kazanlak The thracian tomb in Kazanlak from outside.jpg Bulgaria Europe 300–400 BC Tomb Located near Seutopolis, the capital city of the Thracian king Seuthes III, and part of a large necropolis.[119]

It is one of the most elaborate tombs in the Valley of the Thracian Rulers where the first use of brickwork in Europe was established.

Sanchi Stupa Sanchi Stupa from Eastern gate, Madhya Pradesh.jpg India Asia 300 BC Buddhist temple In the village of Sanchi
Thracian Tomb of Sveshtari The Entrance to the Tomb Mound Bulgaria Europe 300–280 BC Tomb Discovered in 1982 in a mound, this 3rd century BC Getic tomb reflects the fundamental structural principles of Thracian cult buildings. The tomb's architectural decor is considered to be unique, with polychrome half-human, half-plant caryatids and painted murals.
Dhamek Stupa Sarnath1.jpg India Asia 249 BC rebuilt c. 500 AD Buddhist Temple In Sarnath, Varanasi
Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor Terracotta Army Pit 1 front rank.JPG China Asia Began construction 246 BC, finished 208 BC Tomb Commonly known as the Terracotta Army, this is one of the largest tombs ever built. It does not only contain the entire stone army, but a complex of halls and of the resting place of Qin Shi Huang.
Ruwanwelisaya Ruwanwelisaya cent. 140 BC.JPG Sri Lanka Asia 140 BC Stupa In Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka
Broch of Mousa Mousa broch.jpg United Kingdom (Scotland) Europe 100 BC Broch Located in Shetland it is among the best-preserved prehistoric buildings in Europe.[120][121]
Dun Carloway Dun Carloway.jpg United Kingdom (Scotland) Europe 100 BC Broch Built in the first century BC[122]
Masada Masada.jpg Israel Asia 37 BC Fortress Herod the Great built two palaces for himself on the mountain and fortified Masada between 37 and 31 BCE.
Maison Carrée Maison Carree in Nimes (16).jpg France Europe 4–7 AD Temple one of the best preserved Roman temples, in Nîmes
Lei Cheng Uk Han Tomb Museum Lei Cheng Uk Han Tomb.jpg Hong Kong Asia 25 AD Tomb
Temple of Garni Garni Temple 02.JPG Armenia Asia c. 77 AD Temple
Colosseum Colosseum in Rome, Italy - April 2007.jpg Italy Europe 70–80 AD Amphitheatre

By continent[edit]

The following are amongst the oldest known surviving extant buildings on each of the major continents.

Building Image Country Continent First built Use Notes
Göbekli Tepe Göbekli Tepe, Urfa.jpg Turkey Asia 10000 – 7500 BC Unknown, likely temple Located in southern Turkey. The tell includes two phases of use, believed to be of a social or ritual nature by site discoverer and excavator Klaus Schmidt, dating back to the 10th–8th millennium BCE. The structure is 300 m in diameter and 15 m high.
Durankulak (archaeological site)
Durankulak-Golemija ostrov.JPG
Bulgaria Europe 5500—4100 BC Settlement The Durankulak Archaeological Complex unites three sites: Tell Golemija ostrov - the Big Island, Durankulak - the necropolis and Durankulak - the fields. On the Tell Golemija ostrov (Big Island) there are settlements from the Early Eneolithic - Hamandjia III-IV culture, the Late Eneolithic - Varna culture, ritual pits and sacrificial pylons from the Proto-Bronze and Bronze Ages - Chernavoda I and III cultures, fortified Late Bronze Age settlement - Koslogeni culture (Sabatinovka-Noua-Coslogeni "cultural complex"), ancient buildings with a cave temple of the goddess Cybele and an early medieval proto-Bulgarian settlement with several rotundas, which existed from the 9th to the beginning of the 11th century AD. The total thickness of the cultural strata is 3.20 - 3.50 m. The settlement mound has seven stratigraphic horizons.
Solnitsata Solnitsata Bulgaria Europe 5500 BC [3] Settlement Believed to be the oldest town in Europe, Solnitsata was the site of a prehistoric fortified (walled) stone settlement (prehistoric city) and salt production facility approximately from the 6th – 5th millennia BC;[5] it flourished ca 4700–4200 BC.[6][7][123] A large collection of the oldest gold objects in the world was found nearby, in the Varna Necropolis[5]
Sechin Bajo Sechin casma valley.JPG Peru South America 3500 BC Plaza The oldest known building in the Americas.[27][124]
Shunet El Zebib Khasekhemwy Monument (I).jpg Egypt Africa 2700 BC Mortuary temple Built as a funerary enclosure, a place where the deceased king was worshipped and memorialised.
Cuicuilco Circular Pyramid Leading2PyramidCuicuilcoDF.JPG Mexico North America 800–600 BC Ceremonial center One of the oldest standing structures of the Mesoamerican cultures.[116]
Wiebbe Hayes Stone Fort The Fort - West Wallabi Island - Colour.JPG Australia Australia 1629 AD Defensive fort Oldest known European building in Australia, a defensive fort used by the survivors of the Batavia shipwreck on West Wallabi Island.[125]: 37 [126]
Cape Adare huts Borchgrevink Hut.jpg Ross Dependency Antarctica 1899 AD Explorers' huts Wooden buildings constructed by Carsten Borchgrevink in Victoria Land.[127]

By country[edit]

The following are among the oldest buildings in their respective countries.

Building Image Country Continent First Built Use Notes
Weibbe Hayes Stone Fort Ongeluckige voyagie vant schip Batavia (Plate 3).jpg Australia Australia 1629 AD Stone Fort Old stone fort built by the survivors of the Batavia shipwreck.
Durankulak (archaeological site)
Durankulak-Golemija ostrov.JPG
Bulgaria Europe 5500—4100 BC Settlement The Durankulak Archaeological Complex unites three sites: Tell Golemija ostrov - the Big Island, Durankulak - the necropolis and Durankulak - the fields. On the Tell Golemija ostrov (Big Island) there are settlements from the Early Eneolithic - Hamandjia III-IV culture, the Late Eneolithic - Varna culture, ritual pits and sacrificial pylons from the Proto-Bronze and Bronze Ages - Chernavoda I and III cultures, fortified Late Bronze Age settlement - Koslogeni culture (Sabatinovka-Noua-Coslogeni "cultural complex"), ancient buildings with a cave temple of the goddess Cybele and an early medieval proto-Bulgarian settlement with several rotundas, which existed from the 9th to the beginning of the 11th century AD. The total thickness of the cultural strata is 3.20 - 3.50 m. The settlement mound has seven stratigraphic horizons.
Solnitsata Solnitsata Bulgaria Europe 5500 BC [3] Settlement Believed to be the oldest town in Europe, Solnitsata was the site of a prehistoric fortified stone settlement and salt production facility approximately six millennia ago;[5] it flourished ca 4700–4200 BC.[6] The settlement was walled to protect the salt, a crucial commodity in antiquity.[7] Although its population has been estimated at only 350,[7] archaeologist Vassil Nikolov argues that it meets established criteria as a prehistoric city.[128] A large collection of the oldest gold objects in the world find nearby, on the site of the Varna Necropolis, has led archaeologists to speculate that this trade resulted in considerable wealth for the town's residents.[5]
L'Anse aux Meadows L'Anse aux Meadows, entrance to long house.jpg Canada North America c. 1000 AD Settlement Located on the northernmost tip of the island of Newfoundland, the Norse settlement is widely accepted as evidence of pre-Columbian trans-oceanic contact.
St. George's Basilica, Prague Czech-03809 - St. George's Basilica (32204970373).jpg Czech Republic Europe c. 920 AD Church Located within Prague Castle in the Czech Republic capital Prague. The building now houses the 19th century Bohemian Art Collection of National Gallery in Prague.
Hulbjerg Jættestue Hulbjerg Jættestue.jpg Denmark Europe 3000 BC Passage grave The Hulbjerg passage grave is concealed by a round barrow on the southern tip of the island of Langeland. One of the skulls found there showed traces of the world's earliest dentistry work.[57]
West Kennet Long Barrow Westkennet.jpg United Kingdom (England) Europe 3650 BC Tomb Located near Silbury Hill and Avebury stone circle.[24]
Yeha Temple Yeha Tigray Ethiopia.jpg Ethiopia Africa 500 BC Temple Oldest standing structure in Ethiopia
Barnenez Barnenez front2.jpg France Europe 4850 BC Passage grave Located in northern Finistère and partially restored. The structure is 72 m long, 25 m wide and over 8 m high.[9][10] The oldest known building in Eurasia.
Porta Nigra Porta Nigra morgens (100MP).jpg Germany Europe 180 AD Roman city gate It is today the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps.[129]
Knossos Minoan Palace of Knossos.jpg Greece Europe 2000–1300 BC Palace Minoan structure on a Neolithic site.[99]
Dholavira Dholavira1.JPG India Asia 3500 BC Reservoir A planned urban settlement comprising reservoirs, pottery artifacts, seals, ornaments, vessels, etc.
Chogha Zanbil Choghazanbil2.jpg Iran Asia 1250 BC Temple One of the few extant ziggurats outside of Mesopotamia.[112]
The Ziggurat of Dur-Kurigalzu ‘Aqar Qūf.jpg Iraq Asia 14th century BC Probably religious rituals Built by the Kassite King Kurigalzu I.[110]
Newgrange Newgrange.JPG Ireland Europe 3200–2900 BC Burial Partially reconstructed around original passage grave.[45]
Monte d'Accoddi Monted'accoddisardegna.png Italy (Sardinia) Europe 4000–3600 BC Possibly an open-air temple, a ziggurat, or a step pyramid, mastaba. "A trapezoidal platform on an artificial mound, reached by a sloped causeway."[15]
Ġgantija Ggantija Temple on Gozo (cropped).jpg Malta Europe 3700 BC Temple Two structures on the island of Gozo. The second was built four centuries after the oldest.[22][23]
Cuicuilco Circular Pyramid Leading2PyramidCuicuilcoDF.JPG Mexico North America 800–600 BC Ceremonial center One of the oldest standing structures of the Mesoamerican cultures.[116]
Hunebed (Dolmen) Hunebed D27 2020.jpg Netherlands Europe 4000–3000 BC Burial Common theory states Hunebedden of dolmen are prehistoric burial chambers.
Mission House Kemp House, Kerikeri, New Zealand.jpg New Zealand 1822 AD Religious Built by Māori and missionary carpenters.[130]
Mehrgarh Mehrgarh ruins.jpg Pakistan Asia c. 2600 BC Mud brick storage structures A complex of ruins with varying dates near Bolan Pass.[131][132]
Sechin Bajo Sechin casma valley.JPG Peru South America 3500 BC Plaza The oldest known building in the Americas.[27]
Dolmens of North Caucasus Dolmen Russia Kavkaz Jane 3.JPG Russia Europe 3000 BC Tomb There are numerous tombs, some perhaps originating in the Maikop culture, in the North Caucasus.[60][61]
Knap of Howar Knapofhowarinsun.jpg United Kingdom (Scotland) Europe 3700 BC House Oldest preserved stone house in north west Europe.[19][20][21]
Naveta d'Es Tudons Tudons01.jpg Spain Europe 1200–750 BC Ossuary The most famous megalithic chamber tomb in Menorca.[113]
The King's Grave Kivik Kungagraven.JPG Sweden Europe 1000 BC Tomb Near Kivik is the remains of an unusually grand Nordic Bronze Age double burial.[133]
Hattusa Lion Gate, Hattusa 01.jpg Turkey Asia c. 1600 BC Ramparts and ruined buildings Capital of the Hittite Empire in the late Bronze Age located near modern Boğazkale.[134]
Saint Sophia Cathedral, Kyiv 80-391-0151 Kyiv St.Sophia's Cathedral RB 18 2 (cropped).jpg Ukraine Europe 1037 AD Cathedral Orthodox cathedral, partially rebuilt
Ancestral Puebloan communities Dark Canyon Ruin.jpg United States North America 750 AD Villages Pueblo construction began in 750 AD and continues to the present day. These buildings have been within the U.S. since 1848, when New Mexico was annexed.
Bryn Celli Ddu BrynCelliDdu3.jpg United Kingdom (Wales) Europe 2000 BC Tomb Located on the island of Anglesey.[95]
Great Zimbabwe Great-zim-aerial-looking-West.JPG Zimbabwe Africa 1000 AD Palace Capital of the medieval kingdom

By function, structure and building material[edit]

The following are probably the oldest buildings of their type.

Building Image Location First built Use Notes
Göbekli Tepe Göbekli Tepe, Urfa.jpg Turkey 10000 – 7500 BC Unknown, likely temple Located in southern Turkey. The tell includes two phases of use, believed to be of a social or ritual nature by site discoverer and excavator Klaus Schmidt, dating back to the 10th–8th millennium BCE. The structure is 300 m in diameter and 15 m high.
Mehrgarh
Mehrgarh ruins.jpg
Pakistan 7000 BC Settlement A Neolithic archaeological site situated on the Kacchi Plain of Balochistan in Pakistan. It is located near the Bolan Pass, to the west of the Indus River and between the modern-day Pakistani cities of Quetta, Kalat and Sibi.
Durankulak (archaeological site)
Durankulak-Golemija ostrov.JPG
Bulgarian 4800—4100 BC Settlement Durankulak is located in Bulgaria, on the west coast of the Black Sea, Dbruja district. The earliest stone architecture in continental Europe was discovered here.
Pyramid of Djoser Pyramid of Djoser 2010.jpg Saqqara, Egypt 2667–2648 BC Tomb Oldest large-scale cut stone construction[72]
Luxor Temple Luxor, Luxor Temple, south west view 2, Egypt, Oct 2004.jpg Luxor, Egypt 1400 BC Religious The oldest standing building partly in use. There is an active mosque within the main structure, visible in the picture, that stands on the ancient pillars of the Egyptian temple.
Sanchi Stupa Sanchi Stupa from Eastern gate, Madhya Pradesh.jpg India 300 BC Buddhist temple In the village of Sanchi
Maison Carrée Maison Carree in Nimes (16).jpg France 16 BC Temple The only temple of the ancient world completely preserved.[135]
Mundeshwari Temple Maa Mundeshwari Devi.jpg Bihar, India 105 - 320 AD Hindu Temple May be the oldest surviving (non rebuilt) Hindu temple in the world[136][137] An information plaque at the site indicates the dating of the temple at least to 625 CE and Hindu inscriptions dated 635 CE were found in the temple.[138]
Pantheon, Rome Rudolf von Alt - Das Pantheon und die Piazza della Rotonda in Rom - 1835.jpeg Italy 125 AD Religious Oldest standing building still in regular use.[139]
Aula Palatina Trier - Aula Palatina.JPG Germany 306 AD Palace basilica Contains the largest extant hall from antiquity.[129]
Jokhang Jokhang Temple in Tibet.jpg Lhasa, Tibet, China c. 639 AD Buddhist temple Perhaps the world's oldest timber-frame building.[140]
Hōryū-ji Horyu-ji11s3200.jpg Nara, Japan 670 AD Buddhist Temple Oldest wooden building still standing.[141]
Nanchan Temple Nanchan Temple 2.JPG Wutai, China 782 AD Buddhist Temple Its Great Buddha Hall is currently China's oldest extant timber building.
Greensted Church Greensted Church North Side.jpg United Kingdom (England) c. 1053 AD Church May be the oldest, extant wooden church in the world and the oldest, extant wooden building in Europe.[142][143]
Roykstovan in Kirkjubø Faroe Islands, Streymoy, Kirkjubøur (1).jpg Faroe Islands No clear date, middle of 11th century AD Farmhouse May be the oldest continuously inhabited wooden building in the world[144]
Ditherington Flax Mill DitheringtonFlaxmillReverse.jpg United Kingdom (England, Shrewsbury) 1797 AD Industrial The oldest iron framed building in the world.[145]
Manhattan Building IL - Chicago - Architecture - Manhattan and Plymouth Buildings.jpg Chicago, United States 1888 AD Skyscraper Oldest skyscraper still standing.

See also[edit]

Lists

Sites

References[edit]

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