Our world is full of ancient cities that are thousands of years old just waiting to be discovered. From Egypt to Lebanon, and Turkey to Bulgaria, our planet offers explorers like you a way to travel back in time, without having to jump into Marty’s DeLorean.
So to help you on your journey to the past, we’ve selected our top five ancient cities we all know and love that are still thriving with inhabitants to this day.
Settlers first inhabited the city of Jericho over 11,000 years ago in 9000 BC. It’s considered the oldest city in the world to be continually inhabited to this day. Located in the Palestinian Territories, near the Jordan River in the West Bank, Jericho continues to thrive with a strong community of 20,000 people.
Byblos, located in modern-day Lebanon, is another ancient city that was first inhabited over 7,000 years ago. It was first known as Glebal, named by its founders—the Phoenicians—but was later renamed to Byblos by the Greeks. Today, it’s home to over 40,000 people who continue to live and breathe the air and spirit of their ancestors.
Travel 62 miles southwest of Cairo, and you will find yourself in Faiyum, Egypt, where the earliest settlers established their homes as early as 7200 BC. Thanks to the Nile river, the city became fertile and abundant with plant and animal life. Today, over 350,000 people call Faiyum home and is a wonderful city to visit for those who love bazaars, mosques, baths, as well as pyramids.
The first settlers in Plovdiv, Bulgaria’s second largest city, is now home to over 341,500 inhabitants. It was first a village before it became a major Roman city called Philippopolis. Since 6000 B.C., the city has flourished, featuring a Roman amphitheater and baths from the Ottoman empire. It’s a cultural destination that some refer to as being the oldest inhabited city in Europe.
Gaziantep, previously known as Ayıntap, is a historical city in Turkey that dates back to 4000 BC. It’s situated along the Silk Road, which made it an important trade center throughout its history. From the Ravanda citadel to Roman mosaics, the city is rich with a culture and history that continues to live on to this day, thanks to its inhabitants of over a million. Although it’s currently situated in an area of political unrest, Gaziantep is still a historical city that should one day make it on your bucket list.