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12 oldest continuously inhabited cities

aleppo on a bright, sunny day

Photo: seyr-ü zafer/Wikimedia Commons

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Aleppo, Syria

Evidence of habitation at the current site of Aleppo dates to about 8,000 years ago, but excavations at a site just 25 kilometers north of the city show the area was inhabited about 13,000 years ago. That means that Aleppo and its surrounding region is the oldest known human settlement in the world. The city is first mentioned in cuneiform tablets from roughly 5,000 years ago, where it is cited for its commercial and military proficiency. Because of its location between the Mediterranean Sea and Mesopotamia — it was also the end of the Silk Road that passed through central Asia and Mesopotamia — Aleppo was at the center of the ancient world. Today it remains the largest city in Syria.