History can be an imprecise discipline – ancient history perhaps even more so. It is therefore not possible to assign ancient superlatives with much certainty.
Researchers have long argued about which city is the oldest in the world. But the loss of archaeological evidence through time and destruction, as well as the imprecise nature of dating ancient artifacts, makes it difficult to trace a city back to its founding. Add to this, like The guard notes, researchers must grapple with difficult questions, such as when a colony becomes a city. Some argue that the transition occurs when a place establishes commerce, while others link it to the development of plumbing.
While the designation of the world’s oldest city may not yet have been decided, a handful of cities appear to be strong contenders. Here are 10 of the oldest, continuously inhabited cities in the world today.