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25 Oldest Buildings in the World that Continue to Withstand the Test of Time

Oldest Building

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Have you ever wondered where is the oldest building in the world situated? Do you know how old is the oldest building in the world? Did you ever think what makes the oldest building in the world popular?

Old buildings are places of fascination, curiosity and admiration. They bring out the rich archeological wealth of a culture or civilization. In this blog, we have enlisted the oldest buildings in the world along with their dates and location. Before proceeding, we want to answer the first question we had asked at the beginning of the blog. The oldest building in the world dates back to circa 9500-8000 BC. It belongs to the 10th millennium BC.

25 Oldest Buildings in the world

1. Göbekli Tepe

Image of Oldest Building Göbekli Tepe

Circa: 9500 BC- 8000 BC
Period: Pre-pottery Neolithic
Location: Turkey
Famous for/as: World’s first temple
UNESCO World Heritage Site: Yes

The Göbekli Tepe is the oldest building in the world and the oldest human-built religious structure. It is claimed as the first-ever sanctuary used by groups of nomadic hunter-gatherers from a wide area, with few or no permanent inhabitants.

2. Tower of Jericho

Image of Tower of Jericho

Circa: 8000 BC
Period: Pre-pottery Neolithic
Location: West Bank
Famous for/as: World’s first skyscraper
UNESCO World Heritage Site: – NA

The Tower of Jericho is the first instance of human beings erecting such a tall structure, even before the transition to agriculture and food production in the region. Archeologists believe that it took approximately 10 years to build this tower, and its construction had astronomical and social purposes.

3. Tell Qaramel

Image of Tell Qaramel

Circa: 11000 BC to 9670 BC
Period: Neolithic
Location: Syria
Famous for/as: Mortuary Practices
UNESCO World Heritage Site: – NA

Another oldest building in the world, Tell Qaramel is located in a fertile river that was once significant for trade. Digs on the site have found evidence of an early Neolithic settlement that may have been occupied right up to the Hellenistic period.

4. Mehrgarh

Image of Mehrgarh

Circa: 7000 BC
Period: Neolithic
Location: Pakistan
Famous for/as: Earliest known sites showing evidence of farming and herding
UNESCO World Heritage Site: – NA

Mehrgarh is the earliest known Neolithic site in the northwest Indian subcontinent, with early evidence of farming, herding and metallurgy. It is also considered to have been a significant part of a trading connection established in the early periods between the North East and the Indian subcontinent.

5. Çatalhöyük

Image of Çatalhöyük

Circa: 7400 BC and 5500 BC
Period: Neolithic to Chalcolithic
Location: Southern Turkey
Famous for/as: Proto-city
UNESCO World Heritage Site: Yes

According to archeologists and researchers, Çatalhöyük has always had a strong research emphasis on engagement with digital methodologies, driven by the project’s experimental and reflexive methodological framework. The site is famous for its insights into how people lived at this time.

6. Khirokitia

Image of Khirokitia

Circa: 5800 BC to 3000 BC
Period: Neolithic
Location: Island of Cyprus
Famous for/as: Organized functional society in the form of collective settlement
UNESCO World Heritage Site: Yes

Another major finding as to being the oldest building in the world, Khirokitia is an ancient structure on the Island of Cyprus. It is sometimes spelled Choirokoitia—meaning Pig Cradle.  The entire settlement was discovered with protective and defensive walls, indicating that it was built by an early organized society.

7. Durankulak

Image of Durankulak

Circa: 5500 BC
Period: Late Neolithic
Location: North Eastern Bulgaria
Famous for/as: North-easternmost inhabited place in Bulgaria
UNESCO World Heritage Site: – NA

The Durankulak village was discovered with a cultural center (chitalishte) with a big hall and a small hall, a museum of local history, a small art gallery and a library. There are several monuments dedicated to the peasant revolt of 1900 dating to the 1970s and 1980s.

8. Perperikon

Image of Perperikon

Circa: 5000 BC
Period: Middle Ages
Location: Bulgaria
Famous for/as: Largest Megalith site in the Balkans
UNESCO World Heritage Site: – NA

Periperikon has a long history of occupation. It is an ancient Thracian city where fire rituals were practiced on the largest cult altar in Southeast Europe. There are structures on site from the Bronze, Early Iron Age and Roman Periods.

9. Cairn of Barnenez

Image of Cairn of Barnenez

Circa: 4800 BC
Period: Early Neolithic
Location: Brittany, France
Famous for/as: Largest megalithic mausoleum in Europe; Prehistoric Parthenon
UNESCO World Heritage: – NA

Despite being frequently called a ‘mausoleum’, there is no strong evidence that the Cairn de Barnenez contained objects that can definitely be connected to mortuary practices. While little evidence suggests that the Cairn de Barnenez functioned as a funerary structure, there is little speculation as to what the builders of this prehistoric monument might have used it for.

10. Tumulus of Bougon

Image of Tumulus of Bougon

Circa: 4800 BC
Period: Neolithic
Location: France
Famous for/as: Necropolis of Bougon
UNESCO World Heritage Site: – NA

The Tumulus of Bougon has been regarded as one of the oldest known examples of megalithic architecture on the Atlantic coast of France. The tumulus cemetery was re-discovered by archaeologists during the 19th century and was excavated over the years.

11. Saint Micheal Tumulus

Image of Saint Micheal Tumulus

Circa:4500 BC
Period: Fifth millennium BC
Location: Brittany, France
Famous for/as: Megalithic grave mound
UNESCO World Heritage: Yes

Classified as a ‘Monument Historique’ since 1889, the Saint Micheal Tumulus consists of a mound of earth and stones 125 meters high and 50 meters wide. The site was explored in 1862. Upon exploration, researchers found a central vault containing fairly prestigious funerary furniture—axes, flint tools, and sillimanite.

12. Monte d’Accoddi

Image of Monte d'Accoddi

Circa:  4000-3650 BC
Period: Neolithic
Location: Sardinia
Famous for/as: Megalithic Altar
UNESCO World Heritage Site: – NA

Studies of the monument have described Monte d’Accoddi as a prehistoric altar, a viewing platform, a step pyramid, or even an ancient architectural ziggurat, and is made of huge stones arranged in neat layers. Around 6,500 years ago the area was dotted with round huts organized in a settlement, most probably belonging to the people of the ancient Ozieri culture. Although at that time there was no altar here, the settlement was centered around a few other important stones.

13. La Hougue Bie

Image of  La Hougue Bie

Circa: 4000-3250BC
Period: Neolithic
Location: Jersey parish of Grouville
Famous for/as: Passage Grave
UNESCO World Heritage Site: – NA

The La Hougue Bie was first excavated in 1924/1925 by the Société Jersiaise when fragments of twenty vase supports were found along with the scattered remains of at least eight individuals and bits of pottery. The site had evidently been entered and ransacked at an earlier unknown date.

14. Knap of Howar

Image of Knap of Howar

Circa: 3700 BC
Period: Neolithic
Location: UK (Scotland)
Famous for/as: Oldest preserved stone house in Europe
UNESCO World Heritage Site Site: Yes

Situated in Scotland, the Knap of Howar consists of two adjacent, rectangular buildings with very low doorways facing the sea. Though they now stand close to the shore, they would have originally lain inland. The shore shows how the local stone splits into thin slabs, giving a ready source of construction material.

15. Tarxien Temples

Image of Tarxien Temples

Circa: 3250 BC
Period: Tarxien Phase
Location: Malta
Famous for/as: Involved Animal Sacrificing Rituals
UNESCO World Heritage Site: Yes

The megalithic temple structures at Tarxien in Malta were used for ritual sacrifices and as a cremation cemetery.  Excavation of the site reveals that it was used extensively for rituals, which probably involved animal sacrifice. The Tarxien provides rare insight into how the megaliths were constructed: stone rollers were left outside the South temple.

16. Newgrange

Image of Newgrange

Circa: 3200 BC
Period: Neolithic
Location: Ireland
Famous for/as: Religious significance
UNESCO World Heritage Site: Yes

Consisting of a large circular mound filled with decorated passageways and chambers, this Neolithic structure is thought to have had religious significance. It is an exceptionally grand passage tomb built during the Neolithic Period, being older than Stonehenge and the Egyptian pyramids. It is also aligned on the winter solstice sunrise.

17. Skara Brae

Image of Skara Brae

Circa: 3180 BC
Period: Neolithic
Location: Scotland
Famous for/as: The Heart of Neolithic Orkney
UNESCO World Heritage Site: Yes

The Skara Brae is one of the oldest preserved prehistoric structures in the world. It consists of ten clustered houses, made of flagstones, in earthen dams that provided support for the walls; the houses included stone hearths, beds, and cupboards. A primitive sewer system, with “toilets” and drains in each house, carried effluent to the ocean.

18. Stonehenge

Image of Stonehenge

Circa: 3000 BC
Period: Between Neolithic and Bronze Age
Location: Salisbury, England
Famous for/as: Cremation/Burial Ground
UNESCO World Heritage Site: Yes

The whole monument of Stonehenge—although now ruinous—is orientated towards the sunrise on the summer solstice. Stonehenge could have been a burial ground from its earliest beginnings. Various deposits containing human bone date from as early as 3000 BC, when the ditch and bank were first dug, and continued for at least another 500 years.

19. Dolmens of the North Caucasus

Image of Dolmens of the North Caucasus

Circa: 3000 BC
Period: Early Bronze age
Location: Western Caucasus
Famous for/as: ispun (house of dwarves)
UNESCO World Heritage Site: – NA

The North Caucasus Dolmens make up a lost city by the shore of the Black Sea. The dolmens could have been vaults of metal objects or jewelry that were pillaged by the invading Scythians around the first millennium BC. The dolmens could have been of spiritual significance, and are becoming cherished again today.

20. Pyramid of Djoser

Image of Pyramid of Djoser

Circa: 2660 BC
Period: Early Third Dynasty (reign of King Netjerykhet)
Location: Egypt
Famous for/as: Egypt’s oldest surviving pyramid
UNESCO World Heritage Site: – NA

The pyramid is the central feature of a vast mortuary complex in an enormous courtyard surrounded by ceremonial structures and decorations. Its architect was Imhotep, chancellor of the pharaoh and high priest of the god Ra.

21. Mohenjo Daro

Image of Mohenjo Daro

Circa: 2600 BC
Period: Bronze age
Location: Pakistan
Famous for/as: Earliest urban settlements
UNESCO World Heritage Site: Yes

Mohenjo Daro is one of the earliest urban settlements. This city of the Indus Valley Civilization has a sophisticated road and drainage system, with two-storied brick houses and public baths. Mohenjo Daro is a Sindhi word that means ‘Mound of the Dead Men’.

22. Harappa

Image of Harappa

Circa: 2600 BC
Period: Bronze age (Harappa 1 to Harappa 5)
Location: Pakistan
Famous for/as: Bronze age fortified city
UNESCO World Heritage Site: – NA

The Harappan Civilisation has its earliest roots in cultures such as that of Mehrgarh—approximately 6000 BC. The two greatest cities, Mohenjo Daro and Harappa, emerged around the same circa along the Indus River valley in Punjab and Sindh.

23. Pyramids of Giza

Image of Pyramids of Giza

Circa: 2600 BC
Period: Ptolemaic
Location: Egypt
Famous for/as: Tallest man-made structure in the world for over 3,800 years
UNESCO World Heritage Site: – NA

The Great Pyramid of Giza is also known as the Pyramid of Khufu or the Pyramid of Cheops. It is the oldest and largest of the pyramids in the Giza pyramid complex bordering present-day Giza in Egypt. It is the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and the only one to remain largely intact.

24. Parthenon

Image of Parthenon

Circa:  447–432 BC
Period: High Classical
Location: Greece
Famous for/as: Zenith of the Doric order
UNESCO World Heritage Site: – NA

The Parthenon, built on the Athenian Acropolis, Greece, was dedicated to the goddess Athena, whom the people of Athens considered their patroness. It is the most important surviving building of Classical Greece, generally considered the zenith of the Doric order.

25. Ajanta Caves

Image of Ajanta Caves

Circa: 230 BC–650 AD
Period: Satavahana
Location: India
Famous for/as: Masterpieces of Buddhist religious art
UNESCO World Heritage Site: Yes

The Ajanta Caves are approximately 30 rock-cut Buddhist cave monuments in India. The caves include paintings and rock-cut sculptures described as among the finest surviving examples of ancient Indian art, particularly expressive paintings that present emotions through gesture, pose and form.

We hope the above list helped you learn about the oldest building in the world. We also hope you learned enough about the other oldest buildings scattered around different corners of our world.

Also Read: Pandemic stopping you to step out, travel the heritage with Google

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