Ancient Argos Theatre Greece
By Ploync (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

You’ll remember perhaps that I went on a little trip to Colchester… well, during my standard research before I go any place new, I discovered that Colchester is the oldest recorded town in England. Which is really cool.  But then I discovered that there is an actual network of the ten most ancient European towns.

oooh – challenge accepted, I want to visit the most ancient towns in Europe.  There seems to be very little about it online.  Apparently Argos came up with the idea of having a special network for the ten oldest towns.  I can’t find a website, but there is a Facebook page… although it only has six likes and one of those is me!

So what are the most ancient towns in Europe then, I hear you cry…


Ancient Argos Theatre Greece

By Ploync (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Argos in Greece, dates back to the bronze age… a whopping 1600BC, it is said that Perseus was born there.  It actually blows my mind, just what that town must have experienced and how it has changed.

Beziers Arena

By Ben Beasley and the Online Distributed. Proofreading Team at (eBook of Musical Memories by Camille Saint, 1919) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Béziers in France, which dates back to 575BC. They have population figures that go back as far as 1793, when there were 12,501 people living in Beziers vs. 2008 when there were 71,672.  So probably a few more houses have been built since then!

Cádiz Cathedral

By Sedessapientiae (Own work) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Cádiz in Spain, was founded by the Phoenicians back in approximately 1200 BC.  Originally it was called Agadir and had ties to Hercules. 

Colchester Castle

By Andrew Walker (walker44) (Own work) [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC-BY-SA-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Colchester in the UK, was established by the Celts back in around 5 BC and was once the capital of Roman Britain. I’m not going to lie, as much as I enjoyed my mooch around Colchester, I didn’t see anything particularly ancient… but maybe I was just looking in the wrong places.

Old City Hall Cork

By File:CorkCity OldCityHall Stereo.jpg: National Library of Ireland on The Commonsderivative work: Guliolopez [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Cork, Ireland; Cork was originally a monastic settlement founded by Saint Finbarr in the 6th century AD.  Apparently Cork was once completely walled and parts of the walls remain there today. It boasts one of the worlds largest natural harbours, which is probably why Vikings once used it as a trading post.

Temple of Diana in Évora

By Georges Jansoone (Self-photographed) [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC-BY-2.5], via Wikimedia Commons

Évora, in Portugal dates back to approximately 275 BC, originally called Ebora by the Celts, Because of the number of Roman ruins that still remain in Evora, the whole area is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


By Bodoklecksel (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

There have actually been Neanderthal remains found just to the west of Maastricht in the Netherlands and it is said that Neanderthals existed in Europe as early as 600,000–350,000 years ago. The Celts then settled in Maastricht in 500 BC ad then of course the Romans came… 

Viking Ship Museum Roskilde

By Casiopeia (fotografiert von Casiopeia) [CC-BY-SA-2.0-de], via Wikimedia Commons

Roskilde in Denmark, dates back to the Viking Age – so we are looking at around 780 AD. It now boasts an impressive Viking Ship Museum, which I for one would very much like to see.

Roman Wall Tongeren

By Michel wal (Own work) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Tongeren in Belgium goes back pre-Ceasar, around 250 BC, by the looks of it.  Conquered by the Roman’s (of course), a large part of the Roman City Walls still remain.


No one seems to know when the Celts were first in Worms, Germany (or Borbetomagus as it was called back then), but the Romans captured it in 14 BC.  Atilla the Hun joined forces with the Roman army in 436 AD and destroyed both the Burgundian army and most of Worms by the sounds of it. 

Most Ancient European Towns Map


So there you have it, they are the members of the most ancient towns of Europe network. I want to visit them all. I love just how varied (apart of everywhere being conquered by the Romans) Europe’s history is.   So far I’ve only visited Colchester, well I drove through Maastricht once and had a quick picnic, but I don’t think that counts.  So, I shall give the network it’s own page on VHE and update it whenever I have visited one of the towns.

What do you think?  Do you fancy exploring any of these?


  • Wicked information… I’m almost embarrassed to say that I’ve been to 3 of these towns and never really pieced together that their history was that outstanding… But, when you’re Canadian, anything holder than a Maple tree seems to have a rich history, and it becomes hard to distinguish between the really old, and the really really old…

  • That is an awesome challenge! I’m a huge history buff at the best of times so something like this really appeals to me. I’m sure with a bit of research that list could be extended quite significantly though! Sounds like another challenge! ;D

  • Some interesting towns that i haven’t heard of and certainly want to explore. Love the history, arts and culture that the towns are gleaming with.

  • Milosz Zak says:

    I had no idea about all of this. I am an enthusiast of the Roman period. This is really great!

  • Revati Victor (Different Doors) says:

    Hadn’t even heard of half these towns, but now that I know a little bit about them, I’d love to explore!

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