9 of the World’s Oldest Buildings

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Old buildings are a fascinating way to look back at the development of human civilization and appreciate just how far architecture has come since man’s earliest attempts to build in stone and wood.  Some of the oldest buildings are now ruins, while others have stood the test of time, here are 9 of the oldest still in existence today:

Knap of Howar, Scotland

Dating back to around 3700-3500 BCE the Knap of Howar is one of the oldest stone houses in the world.  Not only that, but it also has a hidden passage and joint walls that link two stone houses together.

Monks would likely have been the first residents here and they probably built the houses.  There are 50 other abandoned homes nearby and while these would probably make better candidates for renovation, the fact that these ancient homes are still standing is impressive, to say the least.

Ġgantija Temples, Malta

The Ġgantija Temples are also known as the Megalithic Temples and have been named a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Dating back to 3200 BCE and 3600 BCE respectively, these two temples represent some of the oldest free-standing temples in the world.  They were possibly used for the ritual sacrifice of animals according to the archaeological evidence found at the site.

Tarxien Temples, Malta

These temples are slightly younger than the Ġgantija Temples.  The oldest of the temples were constructed in 3600 BCE – 2500 BCE and has almost disappeared,  but the other three have been lovingly reconstructed.   In 2012 the local people constructed a walkway to allow visitors to appreciate the beautiful blocks, screens, and altars that remain in place there.

Shunet el-Zebib, Abydos, Egypt

Shunet el-Zebib is one of the oldest buildings in existence with much of it in ruins but parts of it do still stand which is impressive for a mud and brick building that was constructed back in 2750 BCE.  Alongside the above-ground structures, there is also an underground tomb here and it is said that this is a precursor to the pyramids.

Cairn de Barnenez,  Brittany

The Cairn de Barnenez is a megalithic structure located in Brittany, France, and overlooks the English Channel. The monument was built around 4850 BCE and is sometimes known as the “Prehistoric Parthenon”.

It is not what you could call a building but as a structure, it is one of the oldest still intact and contains 2 burial chambers and 11 passage tombs.  It remains a fascinating place for anyone interested in architecture or archaeology to visit.

West Kennet Long Barrow, Wiltshire, England

The West Kennet Long Barrow is an old tomb that forms part of the Avebury Neolithic complex.  It is believed that people built these barrows in 3600 BCE and when archaeologists excavated the site they found many artifacts like pottery, tools, and jewelry alongside the remains of around 46 people.

The site is one of the largest burial sites in Britain and has many visitors from all around the world.

Newgrange Neolithic Historical Site, Ireland

Newgrange is located in the Boyne Valley, Ireland.  Constructed around 2300 BCE this passage tomb has a chamber with 3 alcoves. The entire structure is circular and spreads across an acre of land.  It is a popular location with visitors especially during the winter solstice when they come to see the illuminated passageway.

Tomb of Cyrus, Iran

This is one of Iran's major UNESCO World Heritage sites and is said to be one of the first structures that was protected against earthquakes. The base is constructed in such a way that the main structure cannot move away from the foundation which is even more impressive when you consider that it was built in 530 BCE.