thumbnail

Oldest Cities by Country

Name the oldest continually-inhabited city in each of these modern-day countries.
*conflicting evidence
**tie
^not legitimate cities
Quiz by kalbahamut
Rate:
Last updated: February 25, 2022
You have not attempted this quiz yet.
First submittedMarch 4, 2013
Times taken5,817
Average score16.3%
Rating3.56
Report this quizReport
9:30
Enter answer here
0
 / 80 guessed
The quiz is paused. You have remaining.
Scoring
You scored / = %
This beats or equals % of test takers also scored 100%
The average score is
Your high score is
Your fastest time is
Keep scrolling down for answers and more stats ...
 
Country
City
9000 BC*
Syria*
Damascus
5000 BC*
Lebanon
Byblos (Jubayl)
5000 BC*
Afghanistan*
Ghōr
5000 BC*
Greece*
Athens
5000 BC*
Greece*
Argos
4000 BC
Egypt
Faiyum
3650 BC
Turkey*
Gaziantep
3500 BC*
Bulgaria
Plovdiv
3000 BC*
Palestine
Jericho
3000 BC
Iran
Rey
2800 BC
Israel
Jerusalem
2300 BC
Iraqi Kurdistan
Arbil
2200 BC*
Iraq (exluding Kurdistan)
Kirkuk
2070 BC*
China
Luoyang
2000 BC*
Georgia
Kutaisi
1400 BC*
Cyprus
Larnaca
1200 BC*
Portugal
Lisbon
1150 BC*
India
Varanasi
1100 BC
Spain
Cádiz
850 BC*
Somalia
Zeila/Avalite
814 BC
Tunisia
Carthage
782 BC
Armenia
Yerevan
753 BC
Italy
Rome
700 BC*
Ethiopia
Yeha
700 BC
Uzbekistan
Samarqand
650 BC*
Ukraine*
Kerch
650 BC*
Ukraine*
Feodosiya
627 BC
Albania
Durrës
600 BC
France
Marseille
550 BC*
Romania*
Magalia
550 BC*
Romania*
Constanţa
400 BC*
Nigeria
Igodomigodo
350 BC*
Pakistan
Peshawar
350 BC*
Bangladesh
Mahasthangarh
279 BC
Serbia**
Belgrade
279 BC
Serbia**
Niš
217 BC
Macedonia
Stobi
200 BC*
Mali
Djenné-Jeno
150 BC*
Mexico
Cholula
50 BC*
Switzerland
Zürich
 
Country
City
30 BC
Germany
Trier
19 BC
Libya
Ghadames
19 BC
Netherlands
Nijmegen
10 BC
Belgium
Tongeren
43
U.K.**
London
43
U.K.**
Bath
50*
Azerbaijan
Baku
150*
Nepal
Kathmandu
400*
Japan
Osaka
454
Vietnam
Hanoi
550*
Czech Republic
Prague
600*
Indonesia
Palembang
650*
Poland
Kraków
700*
Mozambique
Sofala
753
Russia
Staraya Ladoga
770*
Denmark
Århus
789
Morocco
Fes
800*
Brazil
Upper Xingu
841
Ireland
Dublin
871*
Iceland
Reykjavík
871*
Norway
Tønsberg
900
Philippines
Manila
980
Ecuador
Quito
988
Sweden
Skara
1075*^
United States**
Acoma Pueblo
1075*^
United States**
Taos Pueblo
1300*
Kenya
Lamu
1496
Dominican Republic
Santo Domingo
1501
Venezuela
Cumaná
1508
USA (including territories)
San Juan
1510
Panama
Nombre de Dios
1511
Cuba
Baracoa
1525
Colombia
Santa Marta
1545*
Canada
St. John's
1553
Argentina
Santiago del Estero
1565
United States
St. Augustine
1652
South Africa
Cape Town
1788
Australia
Sydney
1818*
New Zealand
Kerikeri
1878
Jordan
Amman
+1
Level 82
Sep 11, 2013
okay, pending QM's approval I've fixed Marseille and also increased the time limit (again) from 8:45 to 9:30. Not sure why the quizzes aren't auto-approved anymore.
+2
Level 65
Jan 5, 2016
Nah, I think it was just yours :P
+1
Level 82
Jan 5, 2016
This was almost 3 years ago.
+2
Level 82
Sep 29, 2013
by the way, if anyone is wondering why I sometimes put the asterisk(*) for conflicting evidence next to the date and other times next to the country... if it is next to the date then this means archaeologists or historians dispute exactly which year the city was first established. If it's next to the country this means there is some dispute over the placement of that city in relation to those next to it- this could be for a variety of reasons but often it's due to arguments over what constitutes a "city" and whether or not "continual habitation" has occurred and to what point, with rival cities and countries often trying to prop up their own cities as older. The double asterisk (**) is always next to the country and means that there were two cities in the same country established in the same year (or approximately at the same time in the case that they don't know for sure).
+1
Level 51
Nov 24, 2013
Amazing quiz! But I only got 11..... I think my biggest achievement on this quiz was Tønsberg in Norway, but that is probably because I'm norwegian and I've heard about it my entire life and even been there, so... Funny anyway. I will come back and do it again in a couple of days, and hopefully I'll get over more than the average ;)
+1
Level 82
Nov 24, 2013
Glad you liked it! :) I think for most of these they are famous or at least well-known within their own country but little known to the outside world. For example a lot of Americans know about St Augustine, Jamestown, Roanoke and Williamsburg but few non-Americans would know what those were. The Acoma and Taos Pueblos are even more obscure.
+2
Level 51
Dec 9, 2015
Two years have passed, and I've doubled my score. Thank you for making these awesome quizzes!
+1
Level 57
Jan 10, 2014
Completely lost interest somewhere around 1,100BC on the list.
+1
Level 68
Jan 9, 2017
LOL. I became to be more and more intrigued as time went on...
+2
Level 82
Mar 5, 2014
Today, for the first time ever, I finally scored 100% on this quiz. Very happy with myself. :D I'm planning to visit several of these places in the coming years after I leave Saudi Arabia behind. Planning the trips probably helped some.
+1
Level 61
May 24, 2020
You should visit Cadiz kalbahamut
+2
Level 51
May 14, 2014
Searching "Oldest cities in Sweden", in both English and Swedish, gives either Lund or Sigtuna, both founded in the late 900s, with Skara after the year 1000 C.E. Lund is sometimes not counted, as that part of modern Sweden was Danish when the city was founded.
+1
Level 51
May 14, 2014
More research gives Sigtuna as 980, Lund as 990, and Skara as sometime after 1000. The 988 date for Skara is considered to be local legend. Even if true, Sigtuna beats it by 8 years. Part of the issue is when a "town" turned into a "city"...but most Swedes today would say Sigtuna is oldest.
+1
Level 82
May 15, 2014
I guess you're right. Are you from Sweden? I'll make the change next time I edit this quiz.
+1
Level 82
May 20, 2014
I may also need to update Ukraine and Russia... as neither Kerch nor Feodosiya are still in the Ukraine if Russian annexation of Crimea is allowed to stand, and they are both much older than Staraya Ladoga. This would be unfortunate as the latter actually has some connection to Russian history while the former have simply been occupied.
+1
Level 75
Jun 12, 2014
Was feeling really bad that I only scored 23, then saw it was 90%. Never heard of some of these but kicking myself for missing Zurich, Krakow, Osaka, Santo Domingo, and Jericho. Time for coffee.
+1
Level 82
Jun 12, 2014
The curve on this quiz is definitely very heavily front-loaded. It took me many tries before I finally managed to get 100%, and I made the quiz.
+1
Level 75
Aug 13, 2016
I didn't realize I'd taken this one before. I took it again and just scored 34. I think I'm retaining more from these quizzes than I realize. Great quiz, btw.
+2
Level 52
Jul 13, 2014
You can add Finland and Turku.
+1
Level 82
Jul 13, 2014
I'll need to update this at some point and when I do I may add a few. For now I'm waiting to see how the Russian annexation of Crimea ultimately plays out as it has implications for this quiz.
+2
Level 68
Jan 9, 2017
Ooh, I've been to Turku, it's a fascinating place. Very far from New Zealand!
+2
Level 77
Jul 15, 2014
You should accept Aarhus for Århus as it's a legitimate alternative spelling in Danish. If I remember right it's even the official spelling these days as they wanted to get rid of the Å that causes problems in international contexts. In general in Danish "aa" is pronounced the same as "å" and an acceptable substitute most of the time. Just like ae = æ and oe = ø.
+1
Level 82
Jul 15, 2014
okay. Next time I update.
+1
Level 40
Aug 17, 2014
Dublin isn't the oldest city in Ireland. That honour goes to Waterford City, which was settled (roughly) in 914 CE by the Vikings. The city actually had it's 1100th anniversary earlier this year. Dublin's founding is a little more hazy for some reason. Though there was a settlement in the modern day county of Dublin in 841 it wasn't where the city is currently located which was indeed founded in the 10th century but is universally accepted to have been after the settling of Waterford.

Source: Am Irish.

+1
Level 82
Aug 18, 2014
Thanks for the info. If I ever get around to updating this I'll look into it, though there seems to be an inconsistent definition of what exactly constitutes a city on the Wikipedia page that this was originally sourced from.
+3
Level 51
Oct 14, 2014
You should accept Aarhus for Århus in Denmark.
+1
Level 82
Oct 14, 2014
I agree. If I ever get around to updating/expanding/correcting this quiz, and I intend to, some day... then I'll add that to the list of things to fix. Thanks.
+4
Level 31
Dec 8, 2014
Please accept 'Erbil' for 'Arbil'
+1
Level 82
Dec 8, 2014
added to the long list of things to do whenever I get around to updating this.
+1
Level 70
Dec 8, 2015
That was one year ago... :)
+1
Level 68
Aug 25, 2023
Almost nine!
+1
Level 67
Jan 3, 2015
Amman is one of the oldest cities in the world (which can be seen when you visit it), infact, it was called Rabbath Ammon already in the 13th century, so I think you should correct this...
+1
Level 82
Jan 3, 2015
I've been there. Before the 13th century it was called Philadelphia and was a Roman city. I think the problem is that it has been periodically abandoned and then repopulated, and thus, hasn't been "continually inhabited"
+1
Level 67
Jan 12, 2015
Stoked to be part of the 0% that got Kerikeri. I am from New Zealand so I suppose it's unfair, but it did take me a few goes. Awesome quiz - really difficult - but still very interesting.
+1
Level 82
Jan 12, 2015
Haha.. that's awesome. :) Good job.
+1
Level 88
Feb 13, 2015
Excellent quiz kalbahamut! Maybe you should consider also accepting Maastricht for the Netherlands, as it is matter of some debate which city exactly deserves the title.
+2
Level 65
May 27, 2015
These aren't cities, they're large towns. If Byblos is a "city" then I live next to a city here in the rural farmland.
+2
Level 82
May 27, 2015
You live next to a site that 7,000 years ago was one of the largest and most sophisticated human settlements in the world and has been continually inhabited ever since? Cool.
+2
Level 82
May 28, 2015
And.. currently has a population of 100,000 people? That's some impressive farmland.
+2
Level 21
Sep 29, 2015
Though, as an archaeologist, I compliment your research, there isn't a city called Upper Xingu in Brazil.
+1
Level 82
Sep 30, 2015
I've been meaning to update this quiz for years and if I ever get around to it, I will look into that. Thanks.
+1
Level 19
Nov 7, 2015
Wat? No ur
+1
Level 82
Nov 20, 2015
Disqualified for not being continually inhabited. The city of Ur was abandoned 2500 years ago.
+1
Level 73
Dec 8, 2015
Where is Constantinople (Instanbul)? It's pretty old, known as byzantium since BC
+2
Level 82
Dec 8, 2015
Byzantium is an old city, no doubt, but... not by the standards of Turkey. There are *many* cities *way* older than Istanbul located in Turkey, what with it being near the birthplace of civilization and all. In fact many of the oldest human settlements and cave dwellings in the world are in Turkey. Byzantium was colonized by Greeks in 657 BC. Gaziantep, or Antep, was first settled sometime roughly 6,000 years ago. Big difference.
+1
Level 65
Dec 8, 2015
Aarhus isn't the oldest city in Denmark, it's Ribe
+1
Level 65
Feb 2, 2016
Kicking myself for missing Bath, otherwise I'm fine...got 59 right, beat 99.9 percent of test takers.
+1
Level 82
Feb 2, 2016
very good! but yes, mustn't forget to bathe.

There is an abridged easier version here that you would probably get 100% on.

+1
Level 68
Jan 9, 2017
Patted myself on the back for guessing London and Bath immediately for UK. YUS!
+1
Level 77
Jun 18, 2016
Cool quiz :))) Niš has old name - Naissus
+1
Level 77
Jun 18, 2016
And oldest version is Naissos.
+2
Level 82
Jun 20, 2016
Erbil and Irbil both really need to be allowed for Arbil, which I believe is the Arabic name, but not the most commonly used in English. Erbil is the spelling used by Wikipedia and Google Maps, though the former also lists Irbil (which I've encountered in some press reports) and Arbil. Wikipedia also gives Hewler as the actual Kurdish name, so maybe include that too (though I was personally unaware of it).
+1
Level 82
Jun 21, 2016
The Arabic name is أربيل‎‎, and not written in Roman letters, which is why there are so many variants when transliterated. It's the same story with a lot of different words. Vowels are not so important in Arabic.
+1
Level 82
Jun 21, 2016
and... I will update this quiz. Some day. When I do I will add the type-ins you suggested.
+1
Level 69
Jul 29, 2016
I'm Kenyan but didn't get Lamu. Enlightening. Excellent though tough quiz.
+1
Level 47
Sep 30, 2016
you missed olympia cmon thats where the ancient olympics were held cmon
+1
Level 82
Sep 30, 2016
Olympia is not a city?
+2
Level 72
Jun 22, 2018
well, it is, but it's in washington state and it's not that old
+1
Level 47
Nov 17, 2016
Shouldn't it be ** next to Greece because it is a tie?
+1
Level 69
Dec 13, 2016
So... what are your sources for this?
+1
Level 82
Dec 13, 2016
Mostly Wikipedia's article on the subject. I've come across several errors. Russia has no annexed the oldest cities in Ukraine. There are more countries I would like to add that don't appear on the Wikipedia list. I've been meaning to update this for years and just never got around to it.
+2
Level 84
Dec 31, 2016
Kerikeri is not the oldest town in New Zealand, that would be Russell nearby.

http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/city-history-and-people/page-1

+1
Level 82
Dec 31, 2016
This is one of my oldest quizzes and also the one in most dire need of an update. If I ever get around to it, I'll look into it.
+1
Level 62
Nov 29, 2017
I managed to get Igodimigodo by typing in Benin, so I think it was renamed to Benin City at some point.
+1
Level 49
Jan 6, 2018
Can you accept Santiago for Santiago del Estero?
+1
Level 64
Jan 11, 2018
Never would have guessed Nijmegen is the oldest city in my country...24/80, great quiz
+1
Level 65
May 18, 2018
100%
+1
Level 72
Jun 22, 2018
I like how the "interesting fact" that I got after taking this quiz was so applicable to the quiz itself: "New Zealand was completely uninhabited by people until around 1250 AD."
+1
Level 31
Jan 1, 2019
a city in England called Colchester is older than London and Bath as it was the Capital of Roman Britain.
+1
Level 82
Jan 1, 2019
London, Bath, and Colchester were all founded as Roman cities soon after the Roman conquest around 43 AD. But you have a point maybe I ought to make it a 3-way tie. And some sources call Colchester the oldest town in England, though when exactly a town, village, or settlement becomes a "city" is a source of a lot of confusion on this quiz and might be part of the issue here, as well.
+1
Level 70
Mar 5, 2020
Colchester is definitely older than London or Bath, but it is technically a town rather than a city. Having said that, the definition of a city in the UK is rather tighter than in many other countries, requiring either a cathedral or a royal charter. The population of Colchester is around 200,000, which would make it a city by most standards.
+1
Level 82
Jan 1, 2019
I'll look in to it more if I ever update this again.
+1
Level 45
Apr 21, 2019
Could you accept Aarhus as a type-in ? I often see it written like this on maps and stuff (more often than the actual århus actually)
+1
Level 56
Jul 25, 2019
Whats with Kalisz? It was founded in times of Rome...
+1
Level 82
Jul 25, 2019
I've read about it. Some claim that the city was referenced by Ptolemy but other historians doubt this. There used to be a discussion here about it but it seems those comments are gone, now. Anyway, from the reading I did it seemed like Krakow had a stronger claim.
+1
Level 24
Sep 27, 2019
It's North Macedonia now
+2
Level 82
Sep 27, 2019
Same thing
+1
Level 59
Nov 10, 2019
No Kiev? All sites seem to say it was founded around the late 5th century.
+1
Level 82
Nov 10, 2019
Ukraine is already on the quiz with 2 cities that are both far older than Kiev. However, if I ever update this again, I'm going to have to look in to that because both of the Ukrainian cities listed are in Crimea I think and de facto part of Russia now.
+1
Level 52
Jan 23, 2020
There are for sure cities in Russia older than 753. Quite verifiably Derbent's magnificent Naryn-Kala citadel was built in the VI century, and that city has been continuously inhabited cince (and quite a bit of time before, by historic documents - cince about 8th century BCE). While it wasn't Russian for all the time between founding and present day, it was inhabited, and it is located in an uncontested Russian territory (unlike Crimean cities).
+1
Level 55
Mar 27, 2020
Love it! Hope it gets nominated!
+1
Level 55
Jun 19, 2020
*featured, I used to forget the difference :)
+1
Level 62
Apr 5, 2021
What about cities in the Indus valley civilization?
+1
Level 82
Apr 5, 2021
This is one of the first quizzes I authored and I haven't looked at expanding or updating it in a long time. But if I ever get around to it I'll see if there's any good data on that.
+1
Level 60
May 5, 2021
no Istanbul? is it because it was renamed?
+1
Level 82
May 5, 2021
Gaziantep was first settled in the 4th millennium BC. There is evidence of human settlement around the Bosporus earlier, as early as the 6th millennium BC, however, those ancient neolithic settlements were abandoned after about a thousand years probably due to flooding. Though there would later come to be some primitive settlements in nearby Thrace, the Greek city of Byzantium was not founded until much later, in 660 BC. Gaziantep remained settled and inhabited during this entire period.
+1
Level 43
Jun 20, 2021
So, the idea is good, but depends of what concept of “city” you mean. There isn’t a city called Upper Xingu in Brazil. Xingu is a region between the states of Mato Grosso, Amazonas, and Pará, which figure in one of, if not the biggest indigenous village of the world. The de facto, and officially oldest city in Brazil, is São Vicente, in São Paulo, founded in 1532. Some historians affirm that Cananéia, also in São Paulo, is the oldest one, founded in 1531, and there is this debate until today. Some rumors and legends, tell that Iguape, still in São Paulo, was founded before the Portuguese Arrival. Also, that there were Europeans already living in the region, but officially, was founded in 1538. Anyways, there isn’t any municipality called Upper Xingu, between the 5,568 (5,570 if you consider Fernando de Noronha and Brasília) municipalities of Brazil. São Vicente is the best substitute for this Upper Xingu.
+1
Level 82
Jun 20, 2021
If I ever update this I'll look into that.
+1
Level 69
Sep 18, 2021
I am surprised this hasn't been featured yet. Really nice quiz and has a lot of information and is well made.
+1
Level 82
Sep 18, 2021
Thanks. IMO this one needs some work... could use an update and a couple corrections, maybe even a small expansion. Though it's already quite difficult and I imagine that's a big reason why it was never featured - making it longer would make it more difficult still. But I made an abridged version that was significantly shorter and easier with the aim of getting a feature and that one never was, either.
+1
Level 69
Sep 28, 2021
After some time, I have realised that many cities that aren't in the quiz were continually inhabited. There's Mexico City/Tenochtitlan, NYC, Philadephia, Boston, Toronto, York, Amsterdam, Mumbai, Beijing, Kyoto, Tokyo, Taipei, maybe Manila, Cairo, Rome, Naples, maybe Marseille, Vienna, St. Petersburg, Moscow, Athens, Istanbul, maybe Dubai, maybe Abu Dhabi, Karachi, Lahore, Kolkata, Chennai and I bet many more. Even if some cities in this list were not continually occupied for their entire lifetime, their current occupation time could get them into the list. I'm also not fully sure of the criteria to get a city here, maybe you could explain in the caveats?
+1
Level 82
Sep 28, 2021
Philadelphia, Boston, New York were all founded later than St Augustine. Gaziantep is about 3000 years older than Byzantium. Athens is already on the quiz. I'm not sure what you're talking about?
+1
Level 82
Sep 28, 2021
This quiz is not meant to include every city in the world over 100 years old if that's what you were thinking... it's the single oldest continuously-inhabited city by each of these countries. Sometimes there's more than one city listed because it was a tie. And, yes, sometimes there were informal temporary settlements, farming communities, or even villages in roughly the same area before a city was founded there; the criteria may not be consistent from place to place, but this was the best data I could find at the time.
+1
Level 69
Sep 29, 2021
Oops, I misread the title. I thought it was oldest continually inhabited cities ever instead of by country. It could be a quiz idea if it isn't done.
+1
Level 82
Sep 29, 2021
Pretty much all of them would be in the Middle East if that was the quiz, and a lot of them would be cities you never heard of before in Egypt, Turkey, Syria, Iraq, etc..
+1
Level 52
Jun 12, 2022
what about mohenjo-daro and harrapa, the indus river valley is commonly thought to be the first civilization which had cities in india right?
+1
Level 82
Jun 12, 2022
Yes but they might not have been continuously-inhabited through to the present. I'd have to do some more research.
+1
Level 82
Jun 12, 2022
Yes but they might not have been continuously-inhabited through to the present. I'd have to do some more research.
+1
Level 70
Jun 20, 2022
It has been mentioned. But Aarhus is not the oldest city in Denmark (probably depending on what definition of city you go by).

Ribe is the oldest city / town in Denmark as well as in all of Scandinavia.

+1
Level 82
Jun 20, 2022
Both date back to the 700s. If I ever update this I'll look into it more.
+1
Level 46
Aug 3, 2023
Any sources on the date of Kraków? I am from Poland and I always thought that the oldest city was Gniezno or Poznań
+1
Level 65
Jan 2, 2024
I wouldn't assert that Rome is the oldest city in Italy, as there are several other cities with longer histories. For example, according to legend, Padua was founded in 1183 BC, and archaeological remains confirm an early date for the foundation of the town center, between the 11th and 10th centuries BC. Additionally, Matera appears to have been continuously occupied since around 1000 BC, with settlements dating back to the 10th millennium BC.

One might argue that evidence attests to about 10,000 years of human presence in the territory of Rome. However, this raises questions about the accuracy of the traditional founding date of 753 BC.

What I aim to highlight is the complexity and uncertainty inherent in determining the exact founding dates of ancient cities. Often, such determinations rely on historical records and legends that may not be entirely accurate. Thus, it becomes challenging to establish definitively which city holds the title of the oldest city in Italy.