Cities of the ancient Near East

The earliest cities in history appear in the ancient Near East. The area of the ancient Near East covers roughly that of the modern Middle East; its history begins in the 4th millennium BC and ends, depending on the interpretation of the term, either with the conquest by the Achaemenid Empire in the 6th century BC or that by Alexander the Great in the 4th century BC.

The largest cities of the Bronze Age Near East housed several tens of thousands. Memphis in the Early Bronze Age with some 30,000 inhabitants was the largest city of the time by far. Ur in the Middle Bronze Age is estimated to have had some 65,000 inhabitants; Babylon in the Late Bronze Age similarly had a population of some 50–60,000, while Niniveh had some 20–30,000, reaching 100,000 only in the Iron Age (ca. 700 BC).

The KI 𒆠 determinative was the Sumerian term for a city or city state.[1] In Akkadian and Hittite orthography, URU𒌷 became a determinative sign denoting a city, or combined with KUR𒆳 "land" the kingdom or territory controlled by a city, e.g. 𒄡𒆳𒌷𒄩𒀜𒌅𒊭 LUGAL KUR URUHa-at-ti "the king of the country of (the city of) Hatti".


Further information: Geography of Mesopotamia and Mesopotamia

Lower Mesopotamia

(ordered from north to south)

Upper Mesopotamia

Map of Syria in the second millennium BC

(ordered from north to south)

Zagros ( West and South )

(ordered from north to south)

Tepe Sialk


Settlements of Bronze Age Anatolia, based on Hittite records.

(ordered from north to south)

The Levant

In alphabetical order:

Arabian Peninsula

The Arabian Peninsula and the Horn of Africa, separated by just a few miles of the Red Sea, have a history of related settlements, especially near the coast.

Kerma (Doukki Gel)

Horn of Africa


This is a list of ancient Egyptian sites, throughout all of Egypt and Nubia. Sites are listed by their classical name whenever possible, if not by their modern name, and lastly with their ancient name if no other is available.


The nomes of Ancient Egypt, in lower Egypt
The nomes of Ancient Egypt, in upper Egypt

A nome is a subnational administrative division of Ancient Egypt.

Lower Egypt

Upper Egypt

Lower Egypt (The Nile Delta)

Middle Egypt

The area from about Al Fayyum to Asyut is usually referred to as Middle Egypt.

Upper Egypt

Northern Upper Egypt

Southern Upper Egypt

Lower Nubia

Map of Nubia

Upper Nubia

The Oases and Mediterranean coast


Eastern Desert

Notes and references


See also

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ancient Near East maps.


    The ancient Near East
    Regions and States
    Mesopotamia  Akkadian Empire  Assyria  Babylonia  Neo-Assyrian Empire  Neo-Babylonian Empire  Sumer

    Egypt  Ancient Egypt
    Persia  Achaemenid Empire  Elam  Medes
    Anatolia  Hittites  Hurrians  Neo-Hittite states  Urartu
    The Levant  Ancient Israel  Phoenicia

    Archaeological Periods
    Chronology  Bronze Age  Bronze Age collapse  Iron Age
    Akkadian  Aramaic  Assyriology  Cuneiform script  Elamite  Hebrew  Hittite  Hurrian  Phoenician  Sumerian  Urartian
    Babylonian literature  Hittite texts  Sumerian literature
    Babylonian mythology  Hittite mythology  Mesopotamian mythology  Egyptian mythology
    Other topics
    Assyrian law  Babylonian astronomy  Babylonian law  Babylonian mathematics  Cuneiform law
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