Many of us like to visit museums or archeological sites in order to get a closer look at artifacts or remnants of buildings, from which we can learn about the past and the lives of people who lived in antiquity. This recreation is interesting and fascinating, but there are people who have no need for museums since all they have to do to get a glimpse into the past, is step out of their home.
The inhabitants of the ancient cities of the world, which still exist to this day, re-experience history every day as they walk paths that others walked hundreds or thousands of years ago, marching along walls and fortresses and looking at the impressive statues that adorn their streets. The following fascinating list will take you on a journey to 10 familiar countries and the most ancient unfamiliar cities within them.
Founded in 1104 BCE by Phoenician settlers, the city of Cádiz is considered the oldest inhabited city in all of Western Europe, and during the 18th century the port of Cádiz became the main port in all of Spain, causing the construction of more than 160 towers from which local traders could look out at the sea while waiting for the arrival of merchant ships. Visiting this port city will allow you to ascend the Tavira Tower, named after its founder, and look at the view of ships still unloading their goods in the port every morning, from the tallest tower that has been preserved to this day.
Luoyang, located in Henan province, was the capital of China from the 8th century BC to the 10th century AD. The city has existed since the Neolithic period and is considered not only the oldest city in China but also the oldest city in East Asia. In the year 493 CE, after the northern Wei Dynasty made the city its capital, monks began to carve Buddha statues in the city's Longmen Grottoes, and today several thousand of the 30,000 sculptures that were originally carved can still be seen. These sculptures turned this city into one of cultural importance, and it is now considered one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites.
The oldest city in Germany was founded in the 1st century BC, in the center of the Mosel Valley, which became the capital of the Roman province of Gallia Belgica, where the Roman Emperors home was built. In 870, it became part of the Holy Roman Empire, and later the French and the Spanish tried to conquer it. In 1871, it became part of the German Empire, but to this day it is known for its many Roman sites, including monasteries, baths, churches, and the Porta Nigra - the ancient Roman gate near the Simeonstraße.
The oldest city in England is also one of the smallest in the country, with a population of only 17,000 people. Ripon was founded by St. Wilfried at the beginning of the 7th century AD and is located in northern Yorkshire, at the confluence of three different rivers. A visit to Ripon will allow you to enjoy the wonderful views of the Yorkshire County, which is characterized by wide green fields alongside ancient buildings and stone-paved streets. There is no doubt that walking through these streets will allow you to imagine how Romans, Vikings, and Saxons marched throughout history.
Florida's first capital, founded in 1565 under Spanish and British rule, is the first city founded by Europeans in North America which still exists today. The old city, surrounded by a wall, is full of restaurants and souvenir shops and is particularly adored by ghost lovers who claim to have been visited by citizens of the city who died during battles, arrests or various illnesses.
The exact date of the establishment of the city of Derbent, the ancient city of Russia, is controversial, but archaeological findings from the 4th century BCE can be found, and it was even mentioned in during the time of ancient Greece when it was a strategic stronghold of the Roman Empire. Since it was established in the midst of several mountains, control of it was important for the conquest of protection routes and control of commercial routes, which is why the oldest part of the cities lies between two large walls.
When it was officially declared a city in 1840, it was given the name Derbent, which means "gate" in Farsi. In addition, because it was also a strategic asset of the Persian and Mongolian Empire, it includes some of the oldest mosques in all of Russia. Its citadel, as well as part of the Old City, were declared a World Heritage Site in 2003.
The second largest city in France was founded by the Greeks in 600 BCE and its location on the Mediterranean coast made it a major port city of great importance. At the end of the 14th century, it became part of the Kingdom of France. This is a popular tourist destination due to the Notre-Dame Garda, which was built there in the 13th century, as well as its small streets and alleys, and the port of Marseilles is the largest commercial port in France today, with most of the city's economy resting on it.
The city called Varanasi is located on the west bank of the Ganges River, one of the most sacred sites for Hindus. According to Hindu mythology, the city was founded by a god named Shiva 5,000 years ago, although in practice there is evidence that it was "only" settled some 3,000 years ago. Varanasi is used as a pilgrimage destination for many in the country, and is known as the "City of Temples." Because is it home to several national universities, it is also known as the "City of Knowledge," allowing its visitors to enjoy an exceptional mix of tradition and innovation, modern and ancient.
Various stone carvings alongside other signs discovered in Sydney’s port region are attributed to the Aboriginal tribes that lived in Australia about 40,000 years ago. The city was officially founded in 1788, with the arrival of British delegations to the region, which they called "Sydney" after the British Home Secretary at the time. The city became a destination for many immigrants due to the gold rush in Australia, which led to the rapid development of its ports and railways and is now one of the cities with the highest percentage of immigrants in the world. A visit to Sydney includes seeing many attractions common of large cities, as well as a visit to its observation tower, botanical gardens, opera house and a host of other great activities.
Due to the rich and long history of Italy, it is hard to put a finger on the oldest city in it, and there are a number of fascinating cities that have survived to this day which can’t be visited. If you plan on taking a trip to the boot country for this purpose, the two most ancient cities that can be visited are Volterra and Brescia.
Volterra, in Tuscany, is a city surrounded by two walls, established in the 7th century BCE, and its unique beauty is preserved to the present day. At the beginning of its time, the city was named by the Etruscans and when it was conquered by the Romans in the 3rd century BCE it received the name known today. At the end of the 12th century it was granted the status of an independent city, but later became the protectorate of Florence and part of Italy. If you visit it today, you can enjoy its ancient Roman theater, a walk in the main square, and a tour of the Museo Etrusco Guarnacci, the first public museum in Europe.If you are visiting Lombardy, however, you may want to visit Brescia, an ancient city founded by Hercules according to mythology. In the 4th century BCE, the city became the capital of the Gallic tribe, and later became a Roman city with temples, theaters, and baths. Today, those arriving in the city can enjoy a visit to Piazza della Loggia, a Renaissance square, along with churches of the same period.