25 Ancient Cities That Are Still Around Today

Zoe Samuel

Image: Gian Lorenzo Ferretti Photography / E+ / Getty Images

About This Article

All too often, civilizations rise and fall, taking their great cities with them. Places such as Troy, Babylon and Nineveh that were once the most powerful capitals of their time are now not only ruins but sometimes even so thoroughly destroyed that we cannot even be sure exactly where they used to be. Sometimes, these great cities are taken down with the civilization that they anchored, perhaps as part of conquest, a natural disaster or (as is suspected in the case of Troy), a combination of both.

Sometimes, however, they survive the cataclysm that changes the name of the nation in which they stand. These are generally the cities we’ll be looking at today — places that have typically had more than one name, often had more than one language and always had more than one ZIP code! Many of the European ones are household names, but you might not know how far they really go back. Others in Asia and the Middle East may be less well-known unless your geography is very strong indeed. Given the eurocentric way global history is often taught, others may come as a complete surprise, as they anchored mighty civilizations of Africa and the Americas.

Best of all, each of them has stories and secrets that even frequent visitors may not know, and that's what we're going to find out today. It’s time to scour the globe for some of the most elderly and intriguing settlements. Let's get started!

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