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The longest continuously inhabited cities in Africa

By December 14, 2016 December 15th, 2018 No Comments

Africa is the world’s second largest and the second-most-populous continent. Throughout the years, the African civilization has contributed greatly from traditional food production, creative arts and technology such as copper smelting. The cities from northern to southern Africa has since then continued to develop each of their own history. Some turned into European colonies, famous trade sites, or as heritage sites. But despite these changes, these old cities remain to be inhabited, alive and busy up to the present.

Northern Africa

Faiyum

Location: Faiyum Governorate, Egypt
Continuously Inhabited Since: c. 4000 BC
Cool Fact: During the time that the Romans occupied Egypt, it was a common practice to paint a realistic-looking portrait of a deceased person and attach it to the mummy. These portraits became known as Faiyum mummy portraits.

Luxor, aka Thebes (Greek)

Location: Egypt
Continuously Inhabited Since: c. 3200 BC
Cool Fact: The numerous ruins of ancient temples and tombs gave Luxor the reputation of being the world’s greatest open air museum.

Zeila/Avalite

Location: Somalia
Continuously Inhabited Since: c. 9th century BC
Cool Fact: This is a major trading city and seaport in the Horn of Africa.

Carthage

Location: Tunisia
Continuously Inhabited Since: 814 BC
Cool Fact: This center of the ancient Carthaginian Empire was founded by the Phoenicians.

Yeha

Location: Ethiopia
Continuously Inhabited Since: c. 700 BC
Cool Fact: The well-preserved temple of Yeha is the oldest standing structure in Ethiopia.

Cape Guardafui

Location: Somalia
Continuously Inhabited Since: c. 500 BC
Cool Fact: This city is located right at the tip of the Horn of Africa.

Axum

Location: Ethiopia
Continuously Inhabited Since: c. 400 BC
Cool Fact: The archeological sites in Axum are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Berbera

Location: Somalia
Continuously Inhabited Since: c. 400 BC
Cool Fact: Berbera was owned by the British from 1888 to 1960, serving as the capital of the British Somaliland protectorate.

Alexandria

Location: Egypt
Continuously Inhabited Since: 332 BC
Cool Fact: Alexander the Great founded Alexandria to link Greece with the Nile Valley.

Djenné-Jeno

Location: Mali
Continuously Inhabited Since: c. 200 BC
Cool Fact: Archaeological evidence suggests that the urban development of this city was quite complex as early as 900 AD.

Ghadames

Location: Libya
Continuously Inhabited Since: 19 BC
Cool Fact: Ghadames is an oasis town, which means it is located in an area of vegetation surrounded by desert.

Old Cairo

Location: Egypt
Continuously Inhabited Since: c. 100
Cool Fact: Old Cairo is a part of Cairo that consists of the remnants and ruins of the cities that were there before Cairo.

Kismayo

Location: Somalia
Continuously Inhabited Since: 4th century
Cool Fact: This town is located on the Indian Ocean near the mouth of the Jubba River.

Mogadishu

Location: Somalia
Continuously Inhabited Since: c. 700
Cool Fact: Mogadishu is the capital of Somalia. It is Somalia’s largest city and an important seaport.

Fes

Location: Morocco
Continuously Inhabited Since: 789
Cool Fact: The old medina Fes el Bali is known as one of the world’s largest car-free urban areas.

Marrakesh

ocation: Morocco
Continuously Inhabited Since: 1070
Cool Fact: Marrakesh is nicknamed “Red City” or “Ochre City” because it has many buildings made of red sandstone.

Southern Africa

Igodomigodo

Location: Nigeria
Continuously Inhabited Since: c. 400 BC
Cool Fact: Now known as Benin City, Igodomigodo is the center of Nigeria’s rubber industry.

Ife

Location: Nigeria
Continuously Inhabited Since: c. 350 BC
Cool Fact: Most of the inhabitants belong to the Yoruba ethnic group, one of the largest in Africa.

Sofala

Location: Mozambique
Continuously Inhabited Since: c. 700
Cool Fact: Sofala became an important part of the gold trade during the 10th century.

Lamu

Location: Kenya
Continuously Inhabited Since: c. 1300
Cool Fact: Lamu was one of the first Swahili settlements along the east coast of Africa.

Cape Town

Location: South Africa
Continuously Inhabited Since: 1652
Cool Fact: Cape Town was founded by the Dutch East India Company to be able to supply Dutch trading ships heading east.

Kumasi

Location: Ghana
Continuously Inhabited Since: c. 1680
Cool Fact: Kumasi is nicknamed “The Garden City” because, as a rainforest, it has many different species of flowers and plants.

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