Ultimate Bucket List: World’s ‘Oldest’ Edition

Most people travel to get away from life’s responsibilities. With limited time and finances, many choose to head for the beach. It’s a solid plan that involves a familiar itinerary: sun, sand, repeat.

However, many also choose to incorporate cultural activities when the opportunity presents itself. Europe, with many centuries-old locations, is popular for history buffs around the world. South, Southeast, and East Asia are also popular destinations for those interested in the artistic and spiritual traditions that stretch back centuries.

In some cases, travellers flock to locations because of ancient history. For example, archaeologists and ethnographers still aren’t sure why ancient humans erected Stonehenge. Regardless, many people travel across continents for a chance to stand near the monolithic stones.

Clearly, there’s an air of wonder that surrounds historic locations. They inspire awe in visitors and ignite the imagination. However, for those looking to create a tour of the world’s oldest locations, there’s bound to be quite a bit of plane-hopping.

Ready for the ultimate bucket list of the world’s oldest locations? Keep reading for destinations related to the arts, entertainment, architecture, and education that are still open to visitors today.

Oldest in Entertainment


Casino di Venezia, 1638 (Venice, Italy)

The Casino di Venezia isn’t just the oldest running casino in the world but is also one of the city’s best-preserved palazzos. When the location was established in 1638, it was part of an aristocratic family’s estate or ‘palazzo’. The modern casino has since moved to a new location, but local groups have worked hard to preserve the architecture and design of the original.

Teatro Olimpico, 1585 (Vicenza, Italy)

Though there are remnants of theatres around the world (with the earliest found in Indian caves dating back to around 200BC), the oldest theatre on record is located in Vicenza, Italy. During the start of the Renaissance, the local Vicenza Olympic Academy sponsored the theatre’s stunning design. In 1585, the theatre put on Oedipus the King.

Oldest in the Arts

Capitoline Museums, 1734 (Rome, Italy)

As an early centre for European culture, Italy isn’t short on historical feats. The Capitoline Museums are a series of exhibits that date back to the late 1400s. The museums were used to store bronze statues before opening the halls to the public. Older than the Capitoline Museums is the hillside they’re situated on top, which has been consistently occupied since Etruscan settlers arrived around 500 BC.

Honke Owariya, 1465 (Kyoto, Japan)

Travellers to Kyoto won’t have any trouble locating this famous staple. The Honke Owariya Sobu Shop has been open for half a millennium and has fed emperors and shoguns alike. As a supplier to the Imperial Household, Honke Owariya noodles aren’t just delicious—they’re fit for royalty.

Oldest in Architecture


Persepolis, 550-330 BC (Shiraz, Iran)

Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979, this vast ruin is often forgotten alongside the Egyptian Pyramids and sites like Petra in Jordan. Persepolis is a remnant of the powerful Achaemenid Empire and its architectural style, which is defined by grand entrances, massive walls, and towering columns. Alexander the Great even paid a visit in 330 BC.

Göbekli Tepe, 10,000-7,500 BC (Urfa, Turkey)

From the outside, this modest archaeological site might now look like much. However, it’s the world’s oldest standing piece of architecture. Today, scholars believe the early structure was used as a temple.

Oldest in Education

Al-Qarawiyyin Library & University, 859 AD (Fez, Morocco)

Today, Al-Qarawiyyin is part of Morocco’s modern state university system. However, it was founded as a religious learning institution over 1,000 years ago. Some still debate whether Al-Qarawiyyin counts as the oldest university in the world, as its original purpose was as a madrasa rather than a college. However, it’s undisputed that its library is the longest-running in the world. Even more interesting, the establishment was founded by a woman. Today, Al-Qarawiyyin are still taught in traditional methods, such as learning while seated in a half-circle.

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