Take the 2-minute tour ×
History Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for historians and history buffs. It's 100% free, no registration required.

What's the oldest building in the world that is still in use (i.e. used for something other than a tourist spot).

share|improve this question
1  
I like the question. My first thought is a church or government building I would imagine. I don't see how anything else would still be used for a non tourist spot. Maybe refine it a bit? Are tombs considered "Still in use"? –  sealz Feb 27 '12 at 21:29
    
The Dunster castle(en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunster_Castle) is still in use despite being almost a 1000 years old. It has been modified and expanded extensively though so I'm not entirely sure whether it should count. Also by use, I meant active use so tombs wouldn't count. –  Opt Feb 28 '12 at 0:45
    
How about ancient churches in Ireland, for example? –  Meike Mar 2 '12 at 18:20

5 Answers 5

up vote 15 down vote accepted

Pantheon in Rome (126 AD).

Most of the older buildings in the Wiki list ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_the_oldest_buildings_in_the_world ) are either not in use, or used as tombs only, or were reconstructed significantly.

share|improve this answer
5  
Good point. All the "occupied" tombs in Wikipedia's list are technically still in use. –  coleopterist Dec 5 '12 at 7:57
    
I'd add the Great Pyramid which, although not in use in its original capacity is still in use as a tourist attraction. –  jwenting Nov 18 '13 at 9:13
    
@jwenting - OP very explicitly excluded that: "something other than a tourist spot" –  DVK Nov 18 '13 at 17:44
    
@DVK does using them as a backdrop for opera performances count? :) –  jwenting Nov 19 '13 at 7:32

The upper story of the Theater of Marcellus (ca 13 BC) in Rome is a block of apartments.

share|improve this answer
3  
Could you provide a link, please? –  Lohoris May 6 '12 at 21:10
1  
@Lohoris dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2084555/… I'm not sure that using ruins as a foundation to build something else really counts as "in use". though. –  Lennart Regebro Nov 14 '13 at 7:14

The Roman theatre in Caesarea.

share|improve this answer
    
Is this in still in constant use? Also, when was it constructed? –  American Luke Dec 6 '12 at 19:19
1  
It's very much in use. In fact, it's probably the top performance venue for singers in Israel. The phrase "doing Caesarea" is common in the show business in Israel, a bit like "performing in Carnegie Hall". As to when it was constructed, wikipedia wasn't very clear. I would hazard a guess that it was constructed by Herod who built much of the Roman city, but it might have been at a later stage. I'll try to look up the construction date. –  Felix Goldberg Dec 6 '12 at 20:36
2  
Goes to show that the Romans were really good engineers. –  Felix Goldberg Dec 6 '12 at 20:37

The Epidaurus Theatre (ca. 300-340 BC), the Delphi theatre (4th century BC) and the Odeon of Herodes Atticus (161 AD) in the Acropolis of Athens (known locally as the the Herodeon), still fulfil their original purpose, all three are constantly used as venues for various festivals. The ancient theatre in Dion is also used occasionally.

The Colosseum (completed in 80 AD) could also qualify, while not in constant use as with the Pantheon that DVK already mentioned, it is used by the catholic church for the Via Crucis ceremony on Good Friday. Furthermore in July 2000 the National Theatre of Greece performed Oedipus Rex in the Colosseum.

Lastly, the remains of the Temple of Hera (590 BC, destroyed by an earthquake in the 4th century BC) in Ancient Olympia is the location where the torch of the Olympic flame for the Modern Olympics is lit. A continuous flame was maintained at the sanctuary of the temple during the Ancient Olympics, and the temple was also the location where the olive wreaths for the victors were displayed during the games.

share|improve this answer

While not exactly a building, the Western Wall in Jerusalem ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_Wall ) is a site in which daily praying takes place. It was constructed around around 19 BCE.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.