Which Is the Oldest Capital City in Europe?

When this is about the oldest cities in Europe, out of top 8, only one of them is not in the present day Greece, but all 8 of them are the cities of the old Greece.

But this text is about the capitals, so the three oldest capital cities in Europe are:

  1. Athens, the capital of Greece.
  2. Lisbon, the capital of Portugal.
  3. Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus.

As you see, the two of them are the cities of the ancient Greece, but legends say that even Lisbon has a similar roots.

The interactive map below shows the location of the capitals from the list above. Zoom in to see more details:


This ancient city is named after a Greek goddess, it is currently the largest city in Greece, and it is the capital of the country. This is also one of the largest capitals in the EU. The coordinates of the city in the map above are: 37°59′03″N 23°43′41″E.

According to Wikipedia, its recorded history goes back to 3400 years BC. So the city has been continuously inhabited for at least 5000 years. In fact, this is also the world’s oldest continuously inhabited capital.

With such a long life, this has been a place of many important historical events, and you can realize this if you follow the link above. I wish to mentioned just that this is the city of Plato’s Academy and Aristotle’s Lyceum.


This city is also in my list of the warmest capitals in Europe and with many great beaches around.

About the place of Athens in the history of old Greece you can see in this video:


So Lisbon is the second-oldest European capital city. There are around three millions of people in this city, and from my own experience this is one of the most pleasant capitals in the EU.

From what I can find about the city, its history is at least 3200 years long. Phoenician presence is established there since 1200 BC.

According to legends, the city of Lisbon was founded by the mythical hero Ulysses (Odysseus), which makes even this city related to Greek’s history. It was Julius Caesar who made it a municipium called Felicitas Julia.


In this video you can see much more, please have a look:


Nicosia Cyprus.
Nicosia Cyprus.

This city is also in my list of capital cities that are actually two cities. It has been divided a few decades ago when Turkey established its control over the northern part of Cyprus.

Nicosia is the largest city of Cyprus island, and it is interesting that it is not located at the seaside. It is also southeasternmost of all EU member states’ capitals. The city is the capital of Cyprus since the 10th century. The coordinates of the city in the map above are 35°10′21″N 33°21′54″E.

It is here because of its history, it seems that the city has been continuously inhabited for over 3000 years, since 1050 BC. This is also the southernmost capital city in Europe.

Note that Larnaca is in fact a much older city on the island, but this is not a capital of course. More about the island of Cyprus in general you can see in this video:

So this was my presentation of the oldest capital cities in Europe. As you see, Rome is not in the list, but it is on the fourth place among the oldest current capitals in Europe.

This site is all about capitals, so bookmark it and keep as a reference. You will always find new texts added here. Check also my text about the oldest capital cities in Africa.

Thank you for reading. There is a comment box below, so let me know if you have any particular question related to capitals that could be answered here in the site.

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