Think about the world’s oldest cities and you’ll probably find the names of the usual suspects: Athens. Rome. Istanbul. But have you heard of Luoyang, a Chinese city older than Beijing? Or Byblos, who gave the ancient Greeks the word biblos, for a book? Or Flores, an ancient city, once the capital of a Mayan kingdom, which still stands today in the middle of a Guatemalan lake?
To satisfy the curious and history buffs, here are 15 of the oldest cities in the world that have survived to this day. There are so many fascinating ancient places around the world that we’ve limited the list to cities that have, for the most part, been continuously inhabited since their founding; and whose ages can be validated by scientific resources. In addition, we emphasized geographic diversity, highlighting places that were both expected and unexpected. (For what it’s worth, if this list only included the oldest 15, you’d only be reading about China and Iran.)
Note: The U.S. Department of State currently advises U.S. citizens against traveling to countries in which some of these cities are located. If you decide to visit, research your destination and be careful.
Now let’s move on to our list.