11 Continuously Inhabited Oldest Cities in the World

Ever since man learned to grow their own food and rear cattle, they have been living in permanent to semi-permanent settlements with certain degree of planning. Although opinions vary on whether any particular ancient settlement can be considered to be a city, there is no doubt that towns and cities have a long history.

The earliest civilizations in history were established in the region known as Mesopotamia, largely corresponding to modern-day Iraq, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and southwestern Iran. Archaeological remains unearthed in Mesopotamia provides proof of settlements dating back to 10,000 BC. After Mesopotamia, the city culture arose in Syria and Anatolia, as shown by the city of Çatalhöyük (7500-5700BC). Mohenjodaro of the Indus Valley Civilization in present-day Pakistan existed from about 2600 BC and was one of the largest ancient cites with a population of 50,000 or more.

While it might not be too difficult to determine which is the oldest city in the world, there is fierce contention for the title of the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world. Often the age claims are disputed and historical evidences are difficult to prove. Then there are differences in opinion as to the definitions of "city" as well as "continuously inhabited". In any case, the following cities besides being some of the ancient in the world, they continue to grow and thrive until the present day.

01. Jericho, Israel
Continuously Inhabited Since: 9000 BC

Jericho is a city located near the Jordan River in the West Bank of the Palestinian territories, capital of the Jericho Governorate and with a modest population of around 20,000. Situated well below sea level Jericho is believed to be the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world.

Described in the Old Testament as the "City of Palm Trees", copious springs in and around Jericho have made it an attractive site for human habitation for thousands of years. Archaeologists have unearthed the remains of more than 20 successive settlements in Jericho, the first of which dates back 11,000 years (9000 BCE), almost to the very beginning of the Holocene epoch of the Earth's history.

During the Younger Dryas period of cold and drought, permanent habitation of any one location was not possible. However, the spring at what would become Jericho was a popular camping ground for hunter-gatherer groups, who left a scattering stone tools behind them. Around 9600 BCE the droughts and cold of the Younger Dryas Stadial had come to an end, making it possible for groups to extend the duration of their stay, eventually leading to year round habitation and permanent settlement. By about 9400 BCE Jericho had more than 70 dwellings, and was home to over 1000 people. 10 more cities after the break...
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