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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
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First submittedMarch 4, 2013
Last updatedMay 6, 2019
Times taken3,504
Rating3.55
9:30
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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 76
May 5, 2013
I've visited (in reverse order by age) Amman, St Augustine, the Acoma Pueblo, Manila, Prague, London, Constanta, Varanasi, and Byblos. I intended to visit Damascus at some point in the past couple years but then the civil war there broke out. I'm sure I'll add more to the list soon...
+1
level 37
Dec 9, 2015
Man, how many countries have you been to? It seems that in every three quiz you would comment "oh yeah, I've been there to that city/country"
+1
level 76
Dec 9, 2015
Only 35 going by the JetPunk Countries of the World quiz.

If you count Macao, Hong Kong, Palestine, Northern Cyprus, and/or Adjara as countries, then as many as 39.
+1
level 76
Aug 28, 2018
3 years later I've been to 61, even excluding the ones not recognized by JetPunk.
+1
level 56
Mar 21, 2019
Wow that's over 8 new countries per year in 3 years!
+1
level 76
Mar 21, 2019
2014-2017 I was traveling full time and never stayed in one place more than 3 months.
+1
level 61
Jan 9, 2017
I was fortunate to visit Damascus back in 1998. Also been to Amman, Jerusalem, Jericho, Larnaka, Prague, London, Bath, and of course Kerikeri (New Zealand!)
+2
level 61
Jan 9, 2017
I was impressed you included New Zealand, I would never have dreamed it could possibly be on such a distinguished list going back to such ancient civilizations!!! Kerikeri is a tiny picturesque town in the Bay of Islands with one house dating back to 1822, the oldest building in NZ!
+1
level 43
Mar 13, 2018
It's Mangalia not Magalia.
+1
level 70
May 9, 2013
Jericho is in Palestine? :O didn't know that...
+2
level 76
May 9, 2013
It's in the West Bank, which is currently under Israeli occupation. Most people consider the West Bank and Gaza to both be part of the vaguely defined political/geographic entity known as "Palestine." There are actually a lot of famous places in the West Bank, including Bethlehem, and of course East Jerusalem.
+1
level 32
May 9, 2013
So is Damascus the oldest city ever still existing nowadays or just the oldest city in this quiz?
+2
level 76
May 9, 2013
Well... as the asterisk indicates, there is some dispute over exactly how old Damascus is, and exactly for how long it has been "continually inhabited," and there are some other cities that have claimed to be inhabited for longer, but I think that most evidence points to Damascus, in fact, being the oldest continually-inhabited city in the entire world, yes. By a pretty substantial margin, even.
+2
level 76
May 9, 2013
There is also dispute over when exactly Damascus became a "city." In 9000 BC it was likely, at best, a nominally organized settlement of very early prehistoric farmers. It may have started to resemble a more organized city as early as 6300 BC, but the area inside the walls of the "old city" in present day Damascus was not inhabited until 3000-4000 years ago, and by then there were cities and villages all over the area surrounding the Middle East and even a few in China which got started with agriculture about 1200 years later.
+1
level 32
May 10, 2013
Okay, that's very interesting :)
+1
level 76
May 14, 2013
This quiz doesn't even show up if I search for "oldest cities"
+2
level ∞
May 14, 2013
It will now. You must have pissed off the person who moderates quizzes. (Not me).
+1
level 60
Nov 27, 2017
Who does moderate quizzes? Is there a supercomputer in the Pentagon whose soul purpose is to moderate quizzes on a quiz website. If so, I'm glad the government is spending their money wisely.
+2
level 76
May 31, 2013
Interesting that 35% get Reykjavik but only 30% get Rey... several people must have gotten Reykjavik with an incorrect spelling, one of the alternate type-ins.
+1
level 71
Jun 19, 2013
Great quiz--but a little more time, please.
+1
level 76
Jun 19, 2013
Glad you enjoyed it. How much more time do you think is necessary? I thought the 7:30 was pretty generous, but I guess if you are trying many different cities for each country just guessing then you would probably run out of time..
+1
level 53
Mar 21, 2015
I only just ran out of time; maybe 30 secs more?
+2
level 66
Jun 19, 2013
Gah! More time!!! And you've misspelled Luoyang.
+1
level 76
Jun 19, 2013
okay I'll add some. You can always turn the timer off if you need to.
+1
level 76
Jul 8, 2013
Got 74.. so close to mastering my own quiz.. >_< Still missing Tongeren, Kerch, Lamu, Magalia, Santa Marta, and impossible-to-spell Mahasthangarh on my last attempt...
+1
level 75
Sep 8, 2013
Needs more time!
+1
level 76
Sep 9, 2013
Still? Okay, I'll add a little more.
+1
level 76
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.
+1
level 58
Jan 5, 2016
Nah, I think it was just yours :P
+1
level 76
Jan 5, 2016
This was almost 3 years ago.
+1
level 76
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 55
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 76
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.
+1
level 55
Dec 9, 2015
Two years have passed, and I've doubled my score. Thank you for making these awesome quizzes!
+1
level 60
Jan 10, 2014
Completely lost interest somewhere around 1,100BC on the list.
+1
level 61
Jan 9, 2017
LOL. I became to be more and more intrigued as time went on...
+1
level 76
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 53
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 53
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 76
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 76
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 76
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 46
Jul 13, 2014
You can add Finland and Turku.
+1
level 76
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 61
Jan 9, 2017
Ooh, I've been to Turku, it's a fascinating place. Very far from New Zealand!
+2
level 81
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 76
Jul 15, 2014
okay. Next time I update.
+1
level 43
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 76
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.
+2
level 55
Oct 14, 2014
You should accept Aarhus for Århus in Denmark.
+1
level 76
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.
+1
level 22
Oct 22, 2014
I think the 2 Peublo cities is the peublo in Colorado.
+1
level 76
Oct 22, 2014
They're both in New Mexico.
+2
level 36
Dec 8, 2014
Please accept 'Erbil' for 'Arbil'
+1
level 76
Dec 8, 2014
added to the long list of things to do whenever I get around to updating this.
+1
level 66
Dec 8, 2015
That was one year ago... :)
+1
level 64
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 76
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 66
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 76
Jan 12, 2015
Haha.. that's awesome. :) Good job.
+1
level 76
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.
+1
level 61
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.
+1
level 76
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.
+1
level 76
May 28, 2015
And.. currently has a population of 100,000 people? That's some impressive farmland.
+1
level 26
Sep 29, 2015
Though, as an archaeologist, I compliment your research, there isn't a city called Upper Xingu in Brazil.
+1
level 76
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 20
Nov 7, 2015
Wat? No ur
+1
level 76
Nov 20, 2015
Disqualified for not being continually inhabited. The city of Ur was abandoned 2500 years ago.
+1
level 66
Dec 8, 2015
Where is Constantinople (Instanbul)? It's pretty old, known as byzantium since BC
+1
level 76
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 59
Dec 8, 2015
Aarhus isn't the oldest city in Denmark, it's Ribe
+1
level 58
Feb 2, 2016
Kicking myself for missing Bath, otherwise I'm fine...got 59 right, beat 99.9 percent of test takers.
+1
level 76
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 61
Jan 9, 2017
Patted myself on the back for guessing London and Bath immediately for UK. YUS!
+1
level 69
Jun 18, 2016
Cool quiz :))) Niš has old name - Naissus
+1
level 69
Jun 18, 2016
And oldest version is Naissos.
+1
level 69
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 76
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 76
Jun 21, 2016
and... I will update this quiz. Some day. When I do I will add the type-ins you suggested.
+1
level 57
Jul 29, 2016
I'm Kenyan but didn't get Lamu. Enlightening. Excellent though tough quiz.
+1
level 37
Sep 30, 2016
you missed olympia cmon thats where the ancient olympics were held cmon
+1
level 76
Sep 30, 2016
Olympia is not a city?
+1
level 66
Jun 22, 2018
well, it is, but it's in washington state and it's not that old
+1
level 37
Nov 17, 2016
Shouldn't it be ** next to Greece because it is a tie?
+1
level 61
Dec 13, 2016
So... what are your sources for this?
+1
level 76
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 75
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 76
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 48
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 42
Jan 6, 2018
Can you accept Santiago for Santiago del Estero?
+1
level 55
Jan 11, 2018
Never would have guessed Nijmegen is the oldest city in my country...24/80, great quiz
+1
level 69
Feb 6, 2018
Very interesting. Missed Peshawar, Samarqand and Larnaca due to spelling errors though :(
+1
level 61
May 18, 2018
100%
+1
level 66
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 24
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 76
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 76
Jan 1, 2019
I'll look in to it more if I ever update this again.
+1
level 38
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 51
Jul 25, 2019
Whats with Kalisz? It was founded in times of Rome...
+1
level 76
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.
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