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This article lists the oldest known surviving free-standing buildings constructed in the world, including on each of the
continent A continent is any of several large landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of th ...

continent
s and within each country. A
building A building, or edifice, is a structure with a roof and walls standing more or less permanently in one place, such as a house or factory. Buildings come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and functions, and have been adapted throughout history for a ...

building
is defined as any human-made structure used or interface for supporting or sheltering any use or continuous
occupancy Within the context of building A building, or edifice, is a structure with a roof and walls standing more or less permanently in one place, such as a house or factory. Buildings come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and functions, and have been a ...
. In order to qualify for this list a structure must: * be a recognisable building; * incorporate features of building work from the claimed date to at least 1.5 metres (4.9 ft) in height; * be largely complete or include building work to this height for most of its perimeter. * contain an enclosed area with at least one entry point. This deliberately excludes ruins of limited height and statues. The list also excludes: *
dolmen A dolmen () is a type of single-chamber megalithic tomb A megalith is a large pre-historic stone that has been used to construct a structure or monument, either alone or together with other stones. There are over 35,000 in Europe alone, l ...

dolmen
s, a type of single-chamber megalithic tomb, usually consisting of three or more upright stones supporting a large flat horizontal capstone. Dolmens were typically covered with earth or smaller stones to form a
tumulus A tumulus (plural tumuli) is a mound A mound is a heaped pile of earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of co ...

tumulus
(which are included in the list). In many instances, that covering has weathered away, leaving only the stone "skeleton" of the burial mound intact.
Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age The Stone Age was a broad prehistoric Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, also known as world history, is t ...
dolmens are extremely numerous, with over 1,000 reported from
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (MV; , Mecklenburgian nds, Mäkelborg-Vörpommern), internationally also known by its anglicized Linguistic anglicisation (or anglicization, occasionally anglification, anglifying, or Englishing) is the practice of mod ...
in Germany alone. *
cairn A cairn is a man-made pile (or stack) of stones. The word ''cairn'' comes from the gd, càrn (plural ). Cairns have been and are used for a broad variety of purposes, from prehistoric times to the present. In modern times, cairns are often ...

cairn
s, which are simply large piles of loose stones (as opposed to
chambered cairn A chambered cairn is a burial monument, usually constructed during the Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age, with a wide-ranging set of developments that appear to have arisen independently in several parts of t ...
s) * standing stone rings, such as
Stonehenge Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, England, west of Amesbury. It consists of an outer ring of vertical sarsen standing stones, each around high, wide, and weighing around 25 tons, topped by connecting ho ...

Stonehenge
, also do not count because they are not enclosed and do not have roofs. Dates for many of the oldest structures have been arrived at by
radiocarbon dating Radiocarbon dating (also referred to as carbon dating or carbon-14 dating) is a method for determining the age of an object containing organic material Organic matter, organic material, or natural organic matter refers to the large source of ...
and should be considered approximate.


By age

The following are amongst the oldest buildings in the world that have maintained the requirements to be such. Occupation sites with older human made structures such as those in
Göbekli Tepe Göbekli Tepe (, "Potbelly Hill"; known as ''Girê Mirazan'' or ''Xirabreşkê'' in Kurdish languages, Kurdish) is a Neolithic archaeological site near the city of Urfa, Şanlıurfa in Southeastern Anatolia Region, Southeastern Anatolia, Turkey. ...

Göbekli Tepe
do exist, but the structures are monuments and do not meet the definition of building (which can be seen above). Many of the buildings within the list contain primarily bricks, but most importantly maintain their walls and roof. There are numerous extant structures that survive in the
Orkney Orkney (; sco, Orkney; on, Orkneyjar; nrn, Orknøjar), also known as the Orkney Islands, is an archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster or collection of island A ...

Orkney
islands of Scotland, some of the best known of which are part of the
Heart of Neolithic Orkney Heart of Neolithic Orkney refers to a group of Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age The Stone Age was a broad prehistoric Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human histor ...
World Heritage Site A World Heritage Site is a landmark or area with legal protection by an international convention administered by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). World Heritage Sites are designated by UNESCO for h ...
."Heart of Neolithic Orkney"
UNESCO. Retrieved 21 July 2012. The list also contains many large buildings from the Egyptian Age of the Pyramids.


By continent

The following are amongst the oldest known surviving extant buildings on each of the major continents.


By country

The following are among the oldest buildings in their respective countries.


By function

The following are probably the oldest buildings of their type.


See also

Lists * List of oldest buildings in Scotland * List of oldest buildings in the Americas * List of oldest buildings in the United Kingdom *
List of oldest church buildings This article lists some but by no means all of the oldest known Church (building), church buildings in the world. In most instances, buildings listed here were reconstructed numerous times and only fragments of the original buildings have survived. ...
*
List of oldest continuously inhabited cities This is a list of present-day cities by the time period over which they have been continuously inhabited as a city. The age claims listed are generally disputed. Differences in opinion can result from different definitions of "city A city is ...
* List of oldest synagogues *
List of the oldest buildings in the United States This article lists the oldest extant, freestanding buildings constructed in the United States and its territories. The list includes sites in current states and territories which were not part of the original Thirteen Colonies The Thirteen Col ...
*
List of the oldest mosques The designation of the oldest mosques in the world requires careful use of definitions, and must be divided into two parts, the oldest in the sense of oldest surviving building, and the oldest in the sense of oldest mosque congregation. Even here ...
Sites * Los Millares, a
Chalcolithic The Chalcolithic (),The New Oxford Dictionary of English (1998) , p. 301: "Chalcolithic /,kælkəl'lɪθɪk/ adjective ''Archaeology'' of, relating to, or denoting a period in the 4th and 3rd millennium BC, chiefly in the Near East and SE Europe, ...
site in
Almería Almería (, also , ) is a city in Andalusia, Spain, located in the southeast of Spain on the Mediterranean Sea, and is the capital of the province of Almería, province of the same name. Abd al-Rahman III founded the Alcazaba of Almería, Alcazaba ...

Almería
, Spain including both ruins and reconstructions *
Antequera Dolmens Site The Antequera Dolmens Site is a cultural heritage ensemble comprising three cultural monuments (the Dolmen of Menga, Dolmen de Viera, Dolmen of Viera and Tholos de El Romeral, Tholos of El Romeral) and 2 natural mountain features (the Peña de los ...
,
Antequera Antequera () is a city and municipality in the Comarca de Antequera, province of Málaga, part of the Spain, Spanish autonomous communities of Spain, autonomous community of Andalusia. It is known as "the heart of Andalusia" (''el corazón de Anda ...

Antequera
Málaga Málaga (, ) is a municipality of Spain, capital of the Province of Málaga , population_note = , blank_name_sec2 = Parliament , blank_info_sec2 = Cortes Generales The Cortes Generales (; en, Spanish Parliament, li ...

Málaga
Spain, s a cultural heritage ensemble comprising 3 cultural monuments.


References

{{Prehistoric technology, state=expanded Historic preservation
Old Old or OLD may refer to: Places *Old, Baranya Old () is a village in Baranya (county), Baranya county, Hungary. Populated places in Baranya County {{Baranya-geo-stub ..., Hungary *Old, Northamptonshire Old (previously Wold and befor ...