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Oldest City by Country
Guess which city (or settlement, if there are no cities) is the oldest per country. Some countries aren't included due to lack of information.
Includes sites that were cities once, including ruins, or became cities after they were founded.
Based on information I can find (there may be older cities).
Dates based on earliest settlement (within city limits or close by). Not necessarily the oldest permanent settlement.
Last updated: December 17, 2020
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January 5, 2020
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Was once the capital of Bactria.
Second most populous city in the country.
Named after a famous Roman emperor.
before 203 BC
The city's old town is called the Barri Antic.
before 700s AD
Andorra la Vella
Extensive reconstruction being carried out here.
Antigua and Barbuda
Contains the only rum distillery on Antigua.
Was heavily damaged in an earthquake in 1817.
Santiago del Estero
Named after the fortress Erebuni.
Home to a famous opera house.
Lies on the shores of Lake Constance.
The city's Culture Center was designed by architect Zaha Hadid.
before c.1st Century BC
Was once a pirate haven.
Located near a group of man-made islands called Amwaj Islands.
before 250 BC
Mahasthangarh, an ancient site, is located nearby.
Kensington Oval is located here.
Was under siege in 1579.
The Romans called it Aduatuca Tungrorum.
before 70 AD
Has been featured in the film The Mosquito Coast and the TV show Mad Dogs.
before 1638 AD
Home to King Toffa's Palace.
Home to the Buddhist monastery Tashichhoedzong.
Pre-Columbian site, with the most famous structure being the Gate of the Sun.
c.110 AD (or before)
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Hutovo Blato Park is located nearby.
The first gold rush in southern Africa started nearby.
Not far from São Paulo, contains one of the first suspension bridges in Brazil.
Home to the Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque.
Bandar Seri Begawan
Contains one of the world's best-preserved Roman theatres.
Was the centre of a city state of the Mossi Empire.
Located on the north-eastern shore of Lake Tanganyika.
Famous for its temples.
Siem Reap (and Angkor)
Main city of the Bamileke people.
Home to Cabot Tower.
24th June 1497 AD
Was the first European colonial settlement in the tropics.
Central African Republic
At the centre of a large anomaly in the Earth's magnetic field.
1889 AD (possibly 800s BC)
Was the capital of the Kanem-Bornu Empire.
Struck in 2010 by the sixth-largest earthquake ever recorded.
The Longmen Grottoes, White Horse Temple and Gaocheng Astronomical Observatory are all located nearby.
Where Simón Bolívar died.
29th July 1525 AD
Located at the foot of Mount Karthala.
Consisted of circular mounds. Water was allowed to run between them.
Guayabo de Turrialba
Contains the largest Roman forum on the eastern side of the Adriatic.
Located on the spot where Christopher Columbus landed.
Located near a network of salt lakes.
People were famously thrown out of windows a number of times in this city.
Democratic Republic of Congo
Henry Morton Stanley called it a "remarkable town".
before 1876 AD
Mandø Island Nature Reserve is located nearby.
Engaged in trade with Phoenicia, Ptolemaic Egypt, Greece, Parthian Persia, Saba, Nabataea, and the Roman Empire.
before 1154 AD (since antiquity)
Located near the Boiling Lake.
Home to the Alcázar de Colón.
Home to a statue of Jesus.
It is surrounded by eight active volcanoes.
It was the most significant centre of the cult of the crocodile god Sobek.
Used to be the capital of the Pipil.
Home to St. Elizabeth's Cathedral
Home to the Fiat Tagliero Building.
Was invaded by Ivan the Terrible in 1558.
Started as a trading post.
Capital of an empire of the same name, famous for its obelisks.
c. 1st Century AD
Federated States of Micronesia
Has been nicknamed the "Venice of the Pacific".
Site of Fiji's first bank, post office, school, hospital and town hall.
Birthplace of Erik Johan Löfgren.
Known for its pride in its differences from the rest of France, and featured in the films Taxi, The Bourne Identity and The Transporter.
Contains Gabon's largest market.
before 1839 AD
Home to Jvari Monastery.
Birthplace of Karl Marx.
before 16 BC
Home to a "slave castle" of the same name.
(Two possible answers) Location of the first democracy or a city that was shunned in Greece after remaining neutral in the Greco-Persian Wars.
Athens or Argos
Founded by the French, ceded to Great Britain by the Treaty of Paris in 1763.
Has a system of micro-buses.
before 7th May 1524 AD
Founded by Muslim religious leader Karamokho Alfa.
Many buildings were destroyed here during the Guinea-Bissau Civil War.
A Dutch trading post that was the capital of the colony Berbice.
Where Haiti's independence was proclaimed.
Home to St. Peter's Basilica.
1st Century AD
A Mayan city occupied for more than two thousand years, shares its name with a department.
before 400s AD
Birthplace of Saint Martin of Tours.
Home to Hallgrímskirkja.
Once a city of the Indus Valley Civilisation, now a small village.
The Musi River divides the city, also contains a Great Mosque.
16th June 683 BC
Was the summer capital of the Parthian Empire.
Centred around a temple dedicated to the god Enki, the Sumerian water god.
Home to the oldest urban civic building in Ireland, Reginald's Tower.
Probably most famous for its depiction in the Bible, where its walls are supposedly blown down by trumpets.
Its ancient town is called the Sassi, it has featured in the film The Passion of the Christ and a Metallica music video.
A major producer of musical art in Africa.
Location of the rebellion lead by Samuel Sharpe.
Well-known for its ramen.
Contains an ancient citadel, occupied over time by the Assyrians, Babylonians, Ptolemies, Seleucids, Romans, Byzantines and Umayyads.
Once contained a community of Nestorian Christians.
Visited by Vasco da Gama and Zheng He.
Site of the Battle of Drummond's Island, between members of the United States Exploring Expedition and the natives.
before 1841 AD
Home to the Kuwait Towers, a group of water towers.
Was a major market along the Silk Road, with an outdoor bazaar that has occurred in the same spot for 2000 years.
Bullfights occur during the Hmong New Year here.
Built on seven hills.
The word Bible may have originated with this city's name.
Gives its name to its district. First inhabited by the San.
before 1795 AD
More than 2,000 people here are employed by "Jungle Water Group of Investment".
Its old town became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1986. Has its own Berber language.
Seat of the royal family.
before 1100s AD
The Hill of Crosses is located nearby.
Used to contain Fort Thüngen until the Treaty of London.
Was the political capital of the Merina Kingdom.
1610 or 1625 AD
The country's centre of finance and commerce.
Home to Ho Ann Kiong and Tien Hou Kong, Taoist temples.
before 600s AD
White Terns nest here.
Famous for its adobe mosque.
Hosts an annual festival celebrating the olive picking season.
Began as a trading outpost of the German Empire
Once the capital of the Emirate of Trarza.
Contains a Chinatown with a pagoda.
An Olmec city, though it predates the civilisation. Ten carved heads were found here.
Was inhabited by Thracians and Geto-Dacians. Capital of a district of the same name.
Famous for its gambling industry.
Was the capital of the first Uyghur Khaganate.
Home to a medieval Serbian Orthodox monastery complex.
Birthplace of Ibn Battuta, also famous for being exotic.
Diving is popular in nearby coastal areas.
Founded by Princess Pan Htwar.
Home to the Mighty Gunners FC.
Famous for its temples. Part of the film Doctor Strange was set here.
Birthplace of the Holy Roman Emperor Henry VI.
(Two possible answers) A city known as a "gateway" to the Antarctic or a city that is home to New Zealand's largest port in terms of exports.
Christchurch or Tauranga
(Two possible answers) Birthplace of José Areas or a city recognised for its restaurants.
León or Granada
Saw a lot of violence between 2007 and 2009.
before 1300s AD
Has the same name as another African country.
Home to the unfinished and unoccupied Ryugyong Hotel.
Is the city with the largest Roma population in the world. Was a Muslim city until the 19th Century.
Home to five nature reserves.
Has been an important trading port for a few millenia.
The oldest ceramic figures in South Asia were found here.
Was the most significant port in the Americas between 1540 and 1580.
Nombre de Dios
Papua New Guinea
Queensland tried to annex the area around where the city is now in 1883.
before 1873 AD
Home to the Palacio de los López.
15th August 1537 AD
The oldest city in the Americas, built by the Norte Chico Civilisation.
The second most natural disaster-afflicted capital city in the world.
Its Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Famous for its architecture, including the Belém Tower.
Contains an artificial island called The Pearl-Qatar.
before 1681 AD
Republic of the Congo
(Two possible answers) A city home to Maya-Maya Airport or a city that is the centre of the oil industry in the country.
Brazzaville or Pointe-Noire
The city symbol is a church tower commonly called Stephen's Tower.
Located on a narrow area between the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus mountains, this was once a Persian city.
The most notable feature of this city (now a town) is the King's Palace.
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Was destroyed by the Spanish but re-founded by the French.
Dieppe Bay Town
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
The chief port on St. Vincent, it is overlooked by Fort Charlotte.
Robert Louis Stevenson lived here towards the end of his life and died here.
before 1800 AD
Founded by Saint Marinus.
São Tomé and Príncipe
Home to Fort São Sebastião, now a museum.
Was called Adummatu by the Assyrians, who describe it as the capital of an Arab kingdom.
Shares its name with a US city.
Once the Roman settlement of Vinceia.
Shares its name with a British queen.
Started as a place for freed slaves to come to.
Known for being an environmentally-friendly city.
before 650 AD
Home to a castle and located on a river, both of the same name as the city itself.
before 1600 BC
The city hosts a ten-day festival called Kurentovanje.
before 69 AD
Location of the Battle of Guadalcanal.
before 1942 AD
Laal Geel complex, with its cave paintings, is located on the outskirts.
Overlooked by Table Mountain.
before 1652 AD
Hyundai Heavy Industries was founded here.
Was once a fishing village, but then became a trading depot.
Where Christopher Columbus sailed from on his second and fourth voyages.
Home to the Atamasthana.
This city was not founded by the Kingdom of Kush but was settled by it later on.
Located along the Suriname River.
Was an important location for worship of the Norse gods.
Home to the Giger Bar, designed by H.R. Giger.
Home to the Umayyad Mosque and famous for its age and the many cultures who've lived there.
Home to seven Buddhist temples and eight Taoist shrines.
Was a major city along the Silk Road, it sits at the mouth of the Fergana Valley.
The old area of the city is called Stone Town.
Founded as a small, Khmer outpost. Home to Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat.
Home to Arch 22.
before 1651 AD
The Misahöhe Forest Reserve is located nearby.
before 1700s AD
A new island was created by a volcanic eruption nearby.
before 1777 AD
Trinidad and Tobago
Home to the Nicholas Tower.
Port of Spain
Was a strategic port during World War Two.
People traveled around the city and entered the houses via the rooves.
Was destroyed by a Mongol horde in 1221 after opening its gates; it was rebuilt later.
People moved to here after missionaries arrived.
Home to a University of Science and Technology.
The second capital of Russia.
482 AD (possibly 100s AD)
United Arab Emirates
Home to Al Jahili Fort.
Famous for its cathedral.
before 54 BC
Consists of mounds.
Home to the Basilica of the Holy Sacrament.
Colonia del Sacramento
Was the capital of Sogdiana and the Timurid Empire.
Preceded by the settlement of Franceville. Was heavily damaged by Cyclone Pam.
Shares its name with a Spanish city.
Home to Đồng Xuân Market and the Temple of Literature.
Home to Ghumdan Palace and a Great Mosque.
before 300 BC
Named after a famous explorer.
Consists of enclosures and towers.
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