Which is the world’s oldest city still inhabited as in the past?

Most scholars agree that the title rightfully belongs to Jericho, a city located near the Jordan River in the West Bank of the Palestinian Territories, about 8 miles north to the Dead Sea. The conclusion is based on radio-carbon dating on archaeological specimens from the lowest levels reached during excavations. These specimens indicate habitation of perhaps 3,000 people as early as 7800 BC.

Today the city of Jericho is inhabited chiefly by Palestinians and the total population is about 35,000. The city is mentioned in the Bible (the Book of Joshua) in which the destruction of Israelites is mentioned. It is also believed that the city of Jericho owns the most ancient known protected wall in the whole world. The city is also known as Tell es-Sultan (Hill of the Sultan). The name of Jericho is originally derived from the word Yeriho.

There is not unanimously agreed count of the population which is associated with the city of Jericho. It varies from as low as 300 to as high as 3000 people. The crops widely used at that time were Wheat and Barley along with peas. The process of irrigation was also supposed to be owned by the citizens of the city due to which the cultivation of such crops was possible on a particular level. 

It is believed that the people used to go far for hunting as an added source of diet. Jericho was also considered a camping ground for hunters of the areas surrounding the city. The initial settlement at the city after addition of 70 homes happened around 9400 BCE. The homes were made of clay and straw in the start.

An interesting fact about the wall surrounding Jericho is that surprisingly this wall was not built as a source of protection. There was neither a warfare situation nor any conflict back in the Nineteenth millennium. That era was considered as the era of Peace.

According to archeologists, this wall surrounded the city back in 8000BC. Inside the Wall was a tower having 22 staircases. In 2008, two researchers named Ran Barkai and Roy Liran claimed the reason behind building a wall to be ideological rather than any other notion. 

Both of them tracked the history and came up with an astonishing discovery that is related to religious reference regarding Mount of Temptation. There is also a popular thought that the wall was used to prevent floods however the tower was used for communal purposes.

After some centuries, it was believed that some invaders came and started to dwell the city. These invaders not only started to live there but also influenced the culture of the city. With this settlement, the home-produced plants also increased in the city. There was an obvious change in the architecture. Rectangular structure of buildings was introduced constructed from mudbricks. 

A lot of rooms and a central courtyard were a must in the majority of homes at that time. Items considered among usual utensils were hammer stones and axes made of greenstones. The crockery made up of limestone was also discovered to be a part of the culture in Jericho.  

One of the unique norms as a part of the existing culture at that time was the preservation of deceased ones in family. The tradition was to keep the skull and to bury the remaining body of the departed soul. The skulls which were kept in homes were engraved with the features of the dead member. The occupation level was quite low at those times inside the Jericho city.

Later on, several settlements were established on a periodic basis. The walls of Jericho were built many times over the years. The largest of settlements were made by Amorites. In the 16th century, there were two walls present around the city, but they were not considered to be solid ones. During that time, the city of Jericho collapsed due to an earthquake.

The remains at the site suggest that the city was burned. It remained unoccupied till the 10th century when rehabilitation was carried out. While crossing Jordan, Jericho was considered to be the first city under attack by Israelis and its wall was also destroyed during this misadventure.

After renovations and habitation, the city of Jericho has developed to a sort of man-made plateau and was the first city handed over to Palestine after Israeli occupation.

You might also like: