One of the first signs of developing human civilization was the emergence of the first cities, which groups of people could settle permanently. The names of some of these ancient populated areas can be found even in the Bible.
But due to economic factors, wars, conflicts and other circumstances, the cradles of modern civilization were gradually and subsequently wiped off the map.
A typical example of this is the Syrian city of Aleppo, which according to historians is the most ancient, continuously populated city in the world. Today, however, it is the stage of civil war, with its fate and history uncertain.
Below, you can see a list of some of the oldest cities in the world, some of which are still around today.
The Capital of Lebanon was founded in 3000 BC, meaning the city can boast a 5000-year history.
Likened to the immortal bird known as the Phoenix, which rises from the ashes in a never-ending cycle, Lebanon has been razed and rebuilt an entire 7 times.
Accounts of the city date back to letters sent to the Egyptian pharaoh in the 14th century BC. Archaeologists in Beirut have discovered finds dating back to the Paleolithic, Neolithic and Bronze Ages.
Gaziantep in Turkey is even older than Beirut, founded in around 3650 BC, according to historians. The city has been part of the Byzantine and Ottoman empires, as well as under Crusader rule.
Ranking in among the most ancient settlements in the world is the Bulgarian city of Plovdiv, founded around 4000 BC. The 2nd largest city in Bulgaria was a Thracian village, later a major Roman city. It has seen rule by Byzantines, Ottomans, and Christians.
Today, the vibrant ethnographic and religious palette is evident in the face of its many churches – Orthodox, Armenian, mosques, synagogues and even Gothic cathedrals.
The ancient city of Sidon is as old as Plovdiv. You can read about this city sprawled on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the Bible, which tells the story of how Christ performed his first miracle in Sidon – turning water into wine. Today, the city is a picturesque labyrinth of narrow streets and numerous beautiful mosques dating back to the Umayyad period.
Damascus has been recognized by some researchers as the earliest inhabited city in the world – since 10 000 BC. There is no clear-cut evidence of this but the ancient settlement has been around for at least 6300 years.
Over the ages, it has been conquered by Alexander the Great, been part of the Roman and Ottoman empires, as well as of the Arab Caliphate.
When the city was founded exactly is unknown but researchers are categorical that it is the oldest human settlement, dating back to about 10 000 BC. Sitting near the banks of the Jordan River, it has been a part of both ancient, as well as recent, history.
It has been mentioned in the Bible, where it was said to have been conquered by the Jews after the walls of Jericho collapsed to the sound of hundreds of trumpets.