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