What Is the Oldest Capital City in Africa?

There are many old and continuously inhabited cities in Africa, in particular in what is now Egypt where Faiyum and Luxor exist for more than 4000 years. But with capitals this is different.

According to the data available on Wikipedia, the oldest continuously inhabited capitals in Africa are as follows:

  1. Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia.
  2. Cairo, the capital of Egypt.
  3. Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar.

In the interactive and zoomable map below you can see the positions of these cities:


Mogadishu is the capital of Somalia, and it is the largest city in the country with a multi-million population. The city has been continuously inhabited since around 200 BC.

So this is a city with a long history, it used to be the capital of the Sultanate of Mogadishu in the 9th-13th century. It was also an important city in 14th and 15th centuries.

Here is a video that shows the life in the capital now, please have a look:


The Old Cairo city which is the topic here dates back to 100 AD, so compared to many other cities in Egypt it is quite young.


But this is a city that was established by Romans who built a fortress there. The place is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Please see more in this video:


Antananarivo the capital of Madagascar.
Antananarivo the capital of Madagascar.

This capital of Madagascar was founded around 1610 under the name Analamanga. Later, in the period of king King Andriamasinavalona it was renamed into the present name which means  “City of the Thousand”, and this number was in honor of king’s soldiers.

This is an island city, but it is far from the sea, and it is at an elevation of 1276 meters (4186 ft).

Here is more about the capital of Madagascar:

So this was the list of the oldest capital cities in Africa. As mentioned above, there are many older cities that are not capitals. Apart from those mentioned in the beginning, these are Tangier, Aswan, Benghazi, Aksum, Alexandria, etc. You might want to read also about the oldest capital cities in Europe.


Thank you for reading. Let me know if you have questions or if you would like to suggest some texts about capitals, there is a comment box below. As you realize, this site is all about capitals in the world, so let me know.

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