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  • Visiting the oldest cities in the world

    Luxor

    Luxor

    It might seem almost strange that the neon colored jungles that are modern big cities could be anything but brand new, and living completely in the present.

    But most cities don’t need to look old in order to be old, and while you might be walking down a newly paved alley fringed with modern cafes and restaurants, it’s possible that others have walked on the same streets a few millennia ago.

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    Believe it or not, some cities have managed to survive the passing of time for thousands of years, and even some of the descendants of the original inhabitants could still be living in them. Visiting the oldest cities in the world can be an endless source of fascination and fun – they would not be still standing if people didn’t like living in them!

    Athens, Greece

    The Greek capital is thought to be the oldest continually inhabited city in Europe, whose recorded history goes back to 1,400 BC. That means that we know what the Athenians got up almost one and a half millennia ago, but it’s also quite certain that the city is actually older than that. Ancient Athens was a city of the arts, culture, science and of course, democracy. Today, you can still see telltale signs of the old city (the Parthenon being the best example).

    Byblos, Lebanon

    Byblos, photo by Keith Yahl on Flickr

    Even in ancient times, Byblos was touted as one of the oldest cities in the world. This picturesque port city was settled sometime in the Neolithic and became a city proper in the third millennium.

    The city as you can see it now is just the uppermost crust of a deep layer of ruins, some of which as as old as the Stone Age. Visit churches, castles, souks and tombs while you are in Byblos.

    Delhi, India

    Delhi is the eight largest metropolis in the world, and it is believed to be around 5,000 years old. Delhi certainly had time enough to grow to such a monumental size, and to combine crisp, modern architecture with with the remaining buildings of earlier people.

    The city has been destroyed and then rebuilt eleven times, but still it has so many sights to see that a week wouldn’t be enough. Visit the Red Fort, Hamayun’s Tomb, and the Qutub Complex among other monuments.

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    Luxor, Egypt

    Delhi, photo by Arian Zwegers

    The modern city of Luxor grew on the site of the ancient city of Thebes, inhabited since 3,200 BC. Thebes was one of the most powerful cities  during the Middle Kingdom, and a huge center for trade across the Red Sea. Historians say that the relics and ruins of Thebes in Luxor, along with the temple complexes located within the city (Luxor Temple, Karnak Temple) showcase the greatest achievements of ancient Egyptian civilization.

    Quito, Ecuador

    The Ecuadorian capital as officially founded in 1534, but not just anywhere, but on the still smoldering ruins of an Inca city that dates back to 2,000 BC when the Quitu tribe conquered and settled in the area. Today Quito has one of the most amazing colonial old cities you’re likely to find anywhere, as well as countless museums, parks and monuments.

     

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