7

My suspicions are that a road in Rome, Italy, likely has a strong claim, or perhaps a road in Egypt. It just needs to be a road that has been in continuous use for traffic, whether it was some form of vehicle or pedestrian, through the present day.

Per the concerns raised by some of the comments the requirements are: regular upkeep, some sort of system of paving, some sort of control over the road by a city.

3
  • 2
    I understand this was intended as a real question, but it turned up to be a list of random ancient roads, with varying definitions of road, and with little or no info about that road's real age, with varying definitions of age.
    – o0'.
    May 15, 2012 at 20:49
  • 1
    @Lohoris I agree that the original question needed some attention, however after the edited version which includes regular upkeep, some sort of system of paving, some sort of control over the road by a city it seems to now have direction. NOTED: The question was edited after your comment :–)
    – E1Suave
    May 16, 2012 at 19:39
  • The yellow brick road. Sep 16, 2014 at 3:35

5 Answers 5

10

Damascus, in southwestern Syria, is widely believed to be the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world. Therefore, it's not a stretch to suggest that the city of Damascus has the oldest road in the world. A road that would also meet the following criteria.

 1. System of paving
 2. Continual upkeep
 3. Continual control by a city
 4. Continuous use, from construction to present day

Damascus Straight Street is the Roman street Decumanus Maximus and dates at least as far back as the first century AD.

In Roman times, Straight Street was 26 meters wide and 1,570 meters long, lined on both sides with covered porticos containing shops. The present road follows the same line, starting at Bab Sharqi in the East, crossing the whole width of the ancient city of Damascus, and coming out at the end of Suq Madhat Pasha, 20 meters to the North of Bab al-Jabiya on the western side. However, the present road is narrower than the ancient one, and via upkeep about 4 meters above its original level.

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  • Good answer, but some sources would be really great.
    – Yves
    Sep 15, 2014 at 12:08
  • 1
    I agree on all points except that it has to be within the control of a city. Why not a trade route? Between cities/nations/continents?
    – Rajib
    Sep 15, 2014 at 12:48
17

I think, it depends on the definition of a road.

Most old roads will start as a path trail, later it will be paved. Maybe it will decline and become again a trail.

I think some of the oldest roads will be a mountain pass.

An example: The Brenner Pass in the Alps was already used in the stone age (Ötzi was found nearby).

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  • 2
    That is a really good point. I'm not sure exactly what I mean by road. I think there would necessarily have to be some sort of sovereign control over the path, so perhaps the Brenner Pass would not necessarily qualify at its beginning.
    – ihtkwot
    May 9, 2012 at 19:31
  • 2
    I'm trying to think of criteria... Maybe regular upkeep? Or being paved (starting with flagstones and the like)? May 10, 2012 at 1:11
7

Italy's Appian Way began construction in 312 BCE. It is still in use, at least as a bicycle path. I am not certain whether any of the current material could be dated to the original construction.

Links: Wikipedia; New York Times (reg. req.).

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  • I think the Via Appia is one of the oldest roads and still in use as well May 24, 2012 at 20:11
  • 1
    @Hendrik After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, the road fell out of use; Pope Pius VI ordered its restoration. A new Appian Way was built in parallel with the old one in 1784 as far as the Alban Hills region. The new road is the Via Appia Nuova ("New Appian Way") as opposed to the old section, now known as Via Appia Antica. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appian_Way#Main_sights
    – E1Suave
    May 25, 2012 at 17:11
7

I would vote for Grand Trunk Road.

EDIT: I just learned about the Ridgeway, in England. Over 5,000 years old and still in use.

2

Tripodon Street, in Plaka, Athens, has been used continuously since 500 B.C

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