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The Longest Continuously Inhabited Cities in Asia

By June 29, 2013 December 14th, 2018 No Comments

Asia is the largest and the most populous continent, hosting 60% of the current world population. The whole continent is divided into regions, namely South Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East. Asia’s diverse regions, groups, religion, history, architecture, and culture could be all jam-packed, but its diversity binds it as a whole continent rich with people, cities and stories that you won’t get bored of.

Here’s the list of the longest continuously inhabited cities in Asia with some cool facts about them that you’d want to know:

Central and Southern

Balkh

Location: Balkh Province, Afghanistan

Continuously Inhabited Since: 1500 BC

Cool Fact: The first known disciples of Buddha are said to be from Balkh.

Varanasi

Location: Uttar Pradesh, India

Continuously Inhabited Since: c. 1200 – 1100 BC

Cool Fact: Varanasi is the holiest of the seven sacred cities in Hinduism.

Ujjain

Location: India

Continuously Inhabited Since: c. 800 BC

Cool Fact: Ujjain is one of four cities that hold the Kumbh Mela, a Hindu pilgrimage which is said to be the largest peaceful gathering in the world.

Samarqand

Location: Uzbekistan

Continuously Inhabited Since: 700 BC

Cool Fact: Samarqand is located in the center of the Silk Road.

Rajgir

Location: Bihar, India

Continuously Inhabited Since: 600 BC

Cool Fact: Rajgir is known as one of Buddha’s favorite places.

Madurai

Location: Tamil Nadu, India

Continuously Inhabited Since: 500 BC

Cool Fact: The Tamil language, one of the longest surviving classical languages in the world, is an official language of the region.

Vaishali

Location: Bihar, India

Continuously Inhabited Since: 500 BC

Cool Fact: Vaishali is said to be the world’s first republic.

Patna

Location: Bihar, India

Continuously Inhabited Since: 5th century, BC

Cool Fact: The last Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh, was born in Patna.

Peshawar

Location: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan

Continuously Inhabited Since: c. 400 – 300 BC

Cool Fact: Peshawar is very ethnically and linguistically diverse, due to its location at the meeting point of Central Asia and South Asia.

Mahasthangarh

Location: Bogra District, Bangladesh

Continuously Inhabited Since: 4th century BC

Cool Fact: The center of the city contains an ancient citadel that housed many structures, including several palaces and gateways.

Thanjavur

Location: Tamil Nadu, India

Continuously Inhabited Since: 300 BC

Cool Fact: Thanjavur’s name is said to originate from the name of a Hindu mythological demon.

Bamyan

Location: Bamyan Province, Afghanistan

Continuously Inhabited Since: 1st century AD

Cool Fact: The city is surrounded by cliffs where Buddha was carved into the rock in many places.

Kathmandu

Location: Kathmandu Valley, Nepal

Continuously Inhabited Since: c. 2nd century AD

Cool Fact: The first college in Nepal and the first hospital in Nepal were both built in Kathmandu.

Eastern

Luoyang

Location: Henan, China

Continuously Inhabited Since: c. 2070 BC

Cool Fact: Luoyang is one of the Four Great Ancient Capitals of China.

Xi’an

Location: Shaanxi, China

Continuously Inhabited Since: c. 1100 BC

Cool Fact: Xi’an is located at the very beginning of the Silk Road.

Beijing

Location: Beijing, China

Continuously Inhabited Since: c. 1045 BC

Cool Fact: Archeologists have found Homo erectus remains from hundreds of thousands of years ago in the Beijing area.

Suzhou

Location: Jiangsu, China

Continuously Inhabited Since: 514 BC

Cool Fact: The many classical gardens, temples, canals, pagodas, and bridges make Suzhou stand out as a popular tourist city in China and have given it the nickname “Venice of China.”

Chengdu

Location: Sichuan, China

Continuously Inhabited Since: c. 400 BC

Cool Fact: Some people call Chengdu the “Turtle City” because a local legend says that the city’s borders were created by following the path of a turtle.

Nanjing

Location: Jiangsu, China

Continuously Inhabited Since: c. 495 BC

Cool Fact: Nanjing served as the capital of China for certain periods of time.

Kaifeng

Location: Henan, China

Continuously Inhabited Since: c. 364 BC

Cool Fact: The oldest landmark in Kaifeng is the Iron Pagoda, a towering brick structure that looks like the color of iron dating back to 1049, during the Song Dynasty.

Guangzhou

Location: Guangdong, China

Continuously Inhabited Since: 214 BC

Cool Fact: Guangzhou was known by its English name, Canton, until about 1949.

Hangzhou

Location: Zhejiang, China

Continuously Inhabited Since: c. 200 BC

Cool Fact: The beautiful scenery of Hangzhou’s West Lake—surrounded by temples, pagodas, and gardens—has been the subject of many Chinese poems and paintings.

Pyongyang

Location: North Korea

Continuously Inhabited Since: 194 BC

Cool Fact: The tallest building in Pyongyang is an unfinished hotel that has been under construction since 1987.

Gyeongju

Location: South Korea

Continuously Inhabited Since: 57 BC

Cool Fact: Gyeongju is basically an open air museum, with four UNESCO World Heritage Sites and many other historical landmarks within its limits.

Seoul

Location: South Korea

Continuously Inhabited Since: 18 BC

Cool Fact: The metropolitan area of Seoul contains over half of South Korea’s residents, with a population of over 25.6 million people.

Osaka

Location: Japan

Continuously Inhabited Since: c. 400 AD

Cool Fact: Osaka is most well-known for its food by both locals and foreigners.

Nara

Location: Japan

Continuously Inhabited Since: 710 A

Cool Fact: Deer are venerated by the locals, who believe them to be the protectors of the city.

Kyoto

Location: Japan

Continuously Inhabited Since: 794 AD

Cool Fact: The Kyoto Protocol is an international agreement to reduce carbon emissions and sets limits on the emission of greenhouse gases, adopted in Kyoto in 1997.

Southeastern

Hanoi

Location: Vietnam

Continuously Inhabited Since: 454 AD

Cool Fact: The 4 kilometer long Hanoi Ceramic Mosaic Mural was created as a monument to celebrate the Millennial Anniversary of Hanoi.

Palembang

Location: Indonesia

Continuously Inhabited Since: c. 600 AD

Cool Fact: Palembang was the capital of the influential Kingdom of Srivijaya, which dates back to the 7th century.

Luang Prabang

Location: Laos

Continuously Inhabited Since: 698 AD

Cool Fact: Luang Prabang has many natural attractions, including the Kuang Si Falls, the Tat Sae Waterfalls, and the Pak Ou Caves.

Siem Reap

Location: Cambodia

Continuously Inhabited Since: 801 AD

Cool Fact: This year, travelers ranked Siem Reap as the world’s fourth best city for tourists in TripAdvisor’s Travelers’ Choice Awards.

Bagan

Location: Myanmar

Continuously Inhabited Since: 849 AD

Cool Fact: The remains of over 2,000 ancient Buddhist temples, pagodas, and monasteries still exist in Bagan today.

Manila

Location: Philippines

Continuously Inhabited Since: 900 AD

Cool Fact: Manila is quite possibly the most densely populated city in the world, with almost 43,000 people per square kilometer.

Bandar Seri Begawan

Location: Brunei

Continuously Inhabited Since: 977 AD

Cool Fact: As a city with a tropical rainforest climate, Bandar Seri Begawan doesn’t really have a dry season.

Butuan

Location: Philippines

Continuously Inhabited Since: 1001 AD

Cool Fact: Butuan was already a well-developed city way before the Spaniards colonized it in the 1500s.

Kediri

Location: Indonesia

Continuously Inhabited Since: 1042 AD

Cool Fact: Kediri’s economy is based on the tobacco industry.

Singapore

Location: Singapore

Continuously Inhabited Since: 1170 AD

Cool Fact: Singapore was under British control until it declared independence from the UK in 1963.

Western

Byblos

Location: Lebanon

Continuously Inhabited Since: 5000 BC or earlier

Cool Fact: A champion among this list, Byblos is considered to be the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world and the first city in Phoenicia.

Aleppo

Location: Syria

Continuously Inhabited Since: 4300 BC or earlier

Cool Fact: The old city is characterized by independent walled-in districts that were created to defend against constant invasions.

Damascus

Location: Syria

Continuously Inhabited Since: 4000 BC or earlier

Cool Fact: Damascus was conquered by Alexander the Great in the 4th century BC.

Susa

Location: Iran

Continuously Inhabited Since: 4200 BC

Cool Fact: Susa has been destroyed at least three times since its establishment: by Assyrian king Ashurbanipal in 647 BC, by Muslim armies in 638 AD, and by Mongols in 1218 AD.

Sidon

Location: Lebanon

Continuously Inhabited Since: 4000 BC

Cool Fact: Many Palestinians fled to Sidon during the Palestinian exodus in 1948, setting up refugee camps that turned into neighborhoods.

Gaziantep

Location: Southeastern Anatolia, Turkey

Continuously Inhabited Since: c. 3650 BC

Cool Fact: Gaziantep is famous for its pistachios, being the leading producer of pistachios in Turkey.

Jericho

Location: West Bank

Continuously Inhabited Since: 3000 BC or earlier

Cool Fact: Evidence of the first settlement in Jericho dates back to 9000 BC.

Rey

Location: Iran

Continuously Inhabited Since: 3000 BC

Cool Fact: Rey has a few historical monuments that are thousands of years old, including a castle and a tomb.

Beirut

Location: Lebanon

Continuously Inhabited Since: 3000 BC

Cool Fact: The exact population of Beirut is unknown because there hasn’t been a population census in Lebanon since 1932, but it could be anywhere between 900,000 and 2,000,000.

Jerusalem

Location: West Bank

Continuously Inhabited Since: 2800 BC

Cool Fact: The walled, 0.9 square kilometer Old City of Jerusalem used to be the entire city, until 1860.

Tyre

Location: Lebanon

Continuously Inhabited Since: 2750 BC

Cool Fact: One of five ancient roman hippodromes, or horse and chariot racing stadiums, is located in Tyre.

Jenin

Location: West Bank

Continuously Inhabited Since: c. 2450 BC

Cool Fact: Jenin is home to the orchestra Strings of Freedom, which was created to provide music education to local youth.

Erbil

Location: Iraqi Kurdistan, Iraq

Continuously Inhabited Since: 2300 BC or earlier

Cool Fact: Arbil is located on a tell, which is a mound of earth that gradually forms over time after many, many years of living and rebuilding on the area.

Kirkuk

Location: Kirkuk Governorate, Iraq

Continuously Inhabited Since: 3000 – 2200 BC

Cool Fact: The city is quite ethnically diverse, with Kurds, Turkmen, Assyrians, and Arabs all claiming the region as their own.

Jaffa

Location: Israel

Continuously Inhabited Since: c. 2000 BC

Cool Fact: Many biblical stories, including those of Solomon, Jonah, and Saint Peter, mention or took place in Jaffa.

Hebron

Location: West Bank

Continuously Inhabited Since: c. 1500 BC

Cool Fact: Jews consider Hebron to be the second holiest city after Jerusalem.

Gaza

Location: Gaza Strip

Continuously Inhabited Since: c. 1000 BC

Cool Fact: Seventy-five percent of Gaza’s population is under the age of 25.

Hamadan

Location: Iran

Continuously Inhabited Since: c. 800 BC

Cool Fact: Avicenna, a significant scientist during the Islamic Golden Age, is buried in Hamadan.

Nablus

Location: West Bank

Continuously Inhabited Since: c. 100 AD

Cool Fact: Nablus is known for the dessert kanafeh, a cheese pastry popular in the Middle East.

Amman

Location: Jordan

Continuously Inhabited Since: uncertain

Cool Fact: There are at least 20 universities and higher education centers in Amman.

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