There is something magical yet mysterious about ancient buildings. Whether you are walking through a corridor that has been fraught with war, taking a stroll down an unbeaten and forgotten path, or even browsing through images of historic structures on your phone, you can’t help but be in awe of the building’s wonder and beauty.
That’s because many of the oldest buildings in the world hold great importance to those early civilizations who used them and today’s archaeologists who continue to study them.
If you’re interested in learning more about historic structures, you’ve come to the right place. Here is a list of the 25 oldest buildings in the world!
Palace of Knossos
The Palace of Knossos is an ancient palace in Knossos, Crete, Greece. It was the administrative and political center of the Minoan civilization, which flourished on the island of Crete around 2000-1400 BC.
The palace is a large complex of buildings and structures, including a central court, a throne room, a royal residence, and several smaller rooms and corridors.
It is known for its sophisticated architectural design, including frescoes, columns, and built-in storage areas.
Su Nuraxi in Barumini
Su Nuraxi is a pre-Nuragic archaeological site located in Barumini, Sardinia, Italy.
It is a complex of ancient structures built between the 16th and 13th centuries BC by the Nuragic civilization, which inhabited the island of Sardinia.
Su Nuraxi is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is considered one of Sardinia’s most important examples of Nuragic architecture.
Van Fortress, also known as Van Castle or Van Citadel, is a medieval castle located in Van in eastern Turkey.
The castle was built in the 9th century by the Kingdom of Van, which was a powerful Armenian kingdom that ruled over parts of modern-day Turkey and Iran.
It was used as a defensive fortress and the kingdom’s capital. The castle comprises a series of walls and towers and has a complex layout with several courtyards and buildings inside.
Pyramid of Djoser
The Pyramid of Djoser, also known as the Step Pyramid, is an ancient Egyptian pyramid in Saqqara, Egypt.
It was built in the 27th century BC during the Third Dynasty for Pharaoh Djoser, the second dynasty king. The pyramid is considered the oldest complete stone structure in the world and is a significant example of early pyramid construction in ancient Egypt.
Newgrange is a Neolithic passage tomb in Boyne Valley, County Meath, Ireland. It is one of the most famous prehistoric sites in Ireland. The monument was built around 3200 BC, making it one of the oldest structures in the world.
It is believed to have been used as a burial site and for ceremonial purposes. The most notable feature of the monument is the passage tomb, a long, narrow tunnel leading to a burial chamber.
The passage tomb is aligned so that on the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, the sun’s rays enter the chamber through a roof box and illuminate the burial chamber.
Megalithic Temples of Malta
The Megalithic Temples of Malta are a series of ancient temples in the Maltese Islands. They are some of the oldest and most important European archaeological sites and date back to the Neolithic period (4000-2500 BC).
The temples are made of stone and are characterized by their large size and complex design. They consisted of chambers, passages, and courtyards used for ritual and ceremonial purposes.
The temples are adorned with carvings and sculptures and are thought to have played a central role in the religious and social life of the ancient Maltese people.
La Hougue Bie
La Hougue Bie is a Neolithic burial monument located on Jersey, Channel Islands island. It is one of the oldest and most important archaeological sites in the Channel Islands and dates back to the 4th millennium BC.
La Hougue Bie is a long barrow, a burial monument typical in the Neolithic period.
It consists of chambers and passages used for burial and ritual purposes. The monument is made of earth and stone and is adorned with carvings and sculptures.
Great Pyramid of Giza
The Great Pyramid of Giza is an ancient Egyptian pyramid in Giza, Egypt. It is the oldest and largest of the three pyramids in the Giza Necropolis and is one of the most famous landmarks of the ancient world.
The pyramid was built in the 26th century BC as a tomb for Pharaoh Khufu and is an example of the Old Kingdom style of architecture.
It is made of limestone blocks and is 147 meters tall, making it the tallest building in the world for more than 4000 years.
Royal Palace of Ebla
The Royal Palace of Ebla was an ancient palace located in the city of Ebla in modern-day Syria.
It was built in the 24th century BC and was one of the most important palaces in the ancient Near East. The palace was a large complex of buildings that served as the residence and administrative center of the Eblaite kings.
It consisted of chambers, halls, and courtyards decorated with reliefs and inscriptions. The palace is famous for its well-preserved notes, which provide valuable information about the history, culture, and daily life of the Eblaite civilization.
Karnak is an ancient Egyptian temple complex located in Luxor, Egypt. It is one of the largest temple complexes in the world and consists of a series of temples, chapels, towers, and other buildings that were built over more than 2000 years.
The temple complex is dedicated to the gods Amun, Mut, and Khonsu and was a major center of worship in ancient Egypt. Karnak is famous for its massive columns, obelisks, and other architectural features, as well as for its well-preserved reliefs and inscriptions, which provide valuable information about the history and culture of ancient Egypt.
Pyramid of Khendjer
The Pyramid of Khendjer was an ancient Egyptian pyramid in Saqqara, Egypt. It was built by Pharaoh Khendjer, who ruled from 1332 to 1323 BC, and was dedicated to the Pharaoh’s mortuary cult.
The pyramid is an example of the Middle Kingdom style of architecture and is made of limestone. It consists of chambers, halls, and corridors decorated with reliefs and inscriptions.
The pyramid is famous for its well-preserved reliefs and inscriptions, which provide valuable information about the reign of Khendjer and the daily life of the ancient Egyptians.
Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut
The Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut is an ancient Egyptian temple in Luxor, Egypt. It was built by Pharaoh Hatshepsut, who ruled from 1479 to 1458 BC, and was dedicated to the Pharaoh’s mortuary cult.
The temple is an example of the New Kingdom style of architecture and is made of sandstone.
It consists of chambers, halls, and courtyards decorated with reliefs and inscriptions. The temple is famous for its well-preserved reliefs and notes, which provide valuable information about the reign of Hatshepsut and the daily life of the ancient Egyptians.
The Ramesseum is an ancient Egyptian temple located in Luxor, Egypt. It was built by Pharaoh Ramses II in the 13th century BC and was dedicated to the Pharaoh’s mortuary cult.
The temple is an example of the New Kingdom style of architecture and is made of sandstone.
It consists of chambers, halls, and courtyards that were filled with inscriptions. The temple is famous for the giant statue of Ramses II which was discovered there, as well as for the temple’s well-preserved inscriptions.
Temple of Cyrene
The Temple of Cyrene was an ancient Greek temple located in Cyrene, Libya. It was dedicated to Apollo, the god of prophecy, music, and archery, and was one of the most important temples in ancient Libya.
The temple was built in the 6th century BC and is an example of the Doric style of architecture. It was made of marble and had a peripteral colonnade of six by 13 columns.
The temple was destroyed in the 3rd century AD, and the ruins were later used as quarries. The temple is now a popular tourist attraction and a reminder of the ancient history of Cyrene and the importance of the god Apollo in ancient Libyan religion and culture.
Temple of Hera
The Temple of Hera, also known as the Temple of Hera Lacinia or the Temple of Juno Lacinia, was an ancient temple located in Crotona, Italy.
It was dedicated to Hera, the queen of the gods in Greek mythology, and was one of the most important temples in ancient Italy. The temple was built in the 5th century BC and is an example of the Doric style of architecture.
It was made of tufa, a type of volcanic rock, and had a peripteral colonnade of six by 13 columns. Unfortunately, the temple was destroyed in the 3rd century BC, and the ruins were later used as quarries.
Persepolis was the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire, which ruled over much of the ancient Near East from 550 to 330 BC. It is located in modern-day Iran and is one of the most important archaeological sites in the country.
Persepolis was founded by the Achaemenid king Darius I in the 6th century BC and was used as a royal palace and a center of administration. It is a large complex of palaces, halls, and other buildings decorated with elaborate reliefs and sculptures.
The site is famous for its terrace, a massive platform used for royal ceremonies and other important events.
The Parthenon is a temple on the Athenian Acropolis, Greece, dedicated to the goddess Athena, the patron of Athens. It was built in the 5th century BC and is considered one of the most important examples of classical Greek architecture.
The Parthenon is a peripteral temple with a colonnade of columns surrounding the temple’s perimeter.
It is made of marble and has a distinctive Doric style of architecture. The temple is adorned with sculptures and reliefs that depict mythological scenes and figures. It was initially used for religious ceremonies and was later converted into a Christian church.
Thracian Tomb of Sveshtari
The Thracian Tomb of Sveshtari is an ancient tomb located in the village of Sveshtari, Bulgaria. It is a well-preserved tomb that dates back to the 3rd century BC and belongs to the ancient Thracian culture.
The tomb is made of stone and rectangular with a barrel-vaulted roof decorated with frescoes depicting mythological scenes.
The artwork is considered some of the best examples of Thracian art. The grave is adorned with ornate carvings and sculptures of mythical creatures and animals.
The Dhamek Stupa is a Buddhist stupa located in Sarnath, near Varanasi, India.
It is one of the oldest and most important Buddhist stupas in India and is believed to mark the spot where the Buddha gave his first sermon after attaining enlightenment.
The stupa was built in the 5th century AD and is made of brick and stone. It is a cylindrical structure with a diameter of 43 meters and a height of 28 meters.
The stupa is adorned with intricate carvings and is surrounded by a stone railing with four gateways. It is a popular tourist attraction and a place of pilgrimage for Buddhists from all over the world.
Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor
The Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor is an ancient burial site located in Lintong District, Xi’an, China. The mausoleum is the tomb of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China, who reigned from 246 to 210 BC.
It’s located at the foot of Mount Li and is surrounded by a complex of tombs and burial sites that belong to Qin Shi Huang and other members of the imperial family.
The mausoleum is famous for the terracotta warriors, a collection of life-sized terracotta statues of soldiers and horses buried with the emperor to protect him in the afterlife.
Dun Carloway is a well-preserved Iron Age broch located on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides, Scotland.
A broch is a type of fortified tower that the ancient inhabitants of Scotland built during the Iron Age. Dun Carloway is one of the best-preserved brochs in Scotland and is thought to date back to the 1st or 2nd century AD.
It is a circular structure with double walls and a central staircase leading to the tower’s top. The broch was probably used as a defensive structure and a dwelling and may have been occupied by a chieftain or a wealthy family.
The Maison Carrée is a well-preserved Roman temple located in Nîmes, France. It is one of the best-preserved Roman temples in the world and is considered a masterpiece of Roman architecture.
The temple was built in the 1st century AD and is dedicated to the god Castor and Pollux. It is made of limestone and has a Corinthian colonnade of six fluted columns.
The temple has a rectangular plan and is symmetrical on all sides. It was initially used for public gatherings and religious ceremonies and is now a popular tourist attraction and a symbol of the Roman heritage of Nîmes.
Lei Cheng Uk Han Tomb
The Lei Cheng Uk Han Tomb Museum is in Hong Kong, China. Built on the site of an ancient Han dynasty tomb, it was discovered in 1955 during construction work and dates back to the Eastern Han period (25-220 AD). it’s also believed to have belonged to a wealthy family.
The tomb consists of a burial chamber, a pottery workshop, and a passage leading to the burial chamber.
Temple of Garni
The Temple of Garni is a Hellenistic temple in Garni, Armenia. It is the only classical temple in Armenia and the former Soviet Union. The temple was built in the 1st century AD and dedicated to the god Mihr, the Armenian equivalent of the Greek god Apollo.
The building is an example of the Greco-Roman style of architecture that was popular in the region during the Hellenistic period. It is made of basalt blocks and has a colonnade of 24 fluted Corinthian columns.
The Colosseum, also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre, is an oval amphitheater in the center of Rome, Italy. It is one of the most famous landmarks of the ancient world and is considered a masterpiece of Roman architecture and engineering.
The Colosseum was built between 70 and 80 AD. It was originally used for gladiatorial contests, public spectacles such as mock sea battles, animal hunts, executions, and reenactments of famous battles.