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Old Towns

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Old Towns

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    This article is a travel topic

An Old Town, or a historical district, is a preserved urban neighborhood of significant age, at least older than rail travel and high-rise construction (which appeared in the mid-19th century), in some cases predating the birth of Christ.

Old Towns usually have narrow streets, fitted for pedestrians rather than automobiles. As buildings were constructed by hand, architecture is much different from modern town centers. Old Towns are usually dominated by city walls or other fortifications, together with palaces and religious buildings (churches and mosques).

Several Old Towns are recognized on the UNESCO World Heritage List. In contrast to archaeological sites, most Old Towns are still inhabited.

Old Towns are not necessarily the first settlements at the location; they might have been destroyed and rebuilt several times. This article includes districts that have remained largely intact since around 1850.

Famous Old Towns


Middle East




Get around

The very point of Old Towns was to collect buildings with walking distance. Because of this, Old Towns are most often walkable. Travellers with disabilities might have difficulties moving around. Wheelchairs, wheeled suitcases, infant strollers and bicycles might be difficult to push through certain alleys.

Entering an Old Town by automobile is either physically impossible, illegal, or very difficult.


Several Old Towns offer horse-carriage rides, in old-style carriages. These are often costly, far from genuine, and should primarily be considered if a guided tour is included.


As Old Towns are frequented by tourists, meals might be overpriced.


The accommodation inside the Old Towns is usually limited in size and comfort, compared to the Grand Old Hotels of the late-19th century. As rooms are rarely standardized, you should see the room, or at least have a description, before you make the deal.

Stay safe

As Old Towns are packed with travellers, be aware of common scams. Street lighting might be deficient in Old Towns.