Bosra, Syria: It is an extremely ancient city mentioned in the lists of Tutmose III and Akhenaten in the fourteenth century B.C. The first Nabatean city in the second century B.C., it bore the name Buhora, but during the Hellenistic period, it was known by the name of Bustra. Later the Romans took an active interest in the city, and at the time of the Emperor Trajan it was made the capital of the Province of Arabia (in 106 B.C.) and was called Neatrajana Bustra. Bosra, once the capital of the Roman province of Arabia, was an important stopover on the ancient caravan route to Mecca. A magnificent 2nd-century Roman theatre, early Christian ruins and several mosques are found within its great walls. Bosra played a significant role in the history of early Christianity. It was also Iinked to the rise of Islam, when a Nestorian monk called Bahira, who lived in Bosra Amphitheatre the city, met the young Muhammad when his caravan stopped at Bosra, and predicted his prophetic vocation and the faith he was going to initiate.
Dougga and Thugga, Tunisia: Before the Roman annexation of Numidia, the town of Thugga, built on an elevated site overlooking a fertile plain, was the capital of an important Libyco-Punic state. It flourished under Roman and Byzantine rule, but declined in the Islamic period. The impressive ruins that are visible today give some idea of the resources of a small Roman town on the fringes of the empire.
Aleppo, Syria: Located at the crossroads of several trade routes from the 2nd millennium B.C., Aleppo was ruled successively by the Hittites, Assyrians, Arabs, Mongols, Mamelukes and Ottomans. The 13th-century citadel, 12th-century Great Mosque and various 17th-century madrasas, palaces, caravanserais and hammams all form part of the city's cohesive, unique urban fabric, now threatened by overpopulation.
Aleppo, going back to the early 2nd millennium BC, competes with Damascus on being the oldest inhabited city in the world. It appeared in the Hittite archives in central Anatolia and in the archives of Mari on the Euphrates. Aleppo (Halab) was the capital of the Amorite kingdom of Yamkhad, in the middle centuries of that millennium. It was the focus of the Hittites in their overthrow of the Amorite Dynasty, in 1595 BC. In about 1000 BC, Northern Syria was taken over by the Sea Peoples; however Aleppo remained a small Neo-Hittite state. From 800 BC to 400 BC, the Assyrians followed by the Persians were in control of Syria. In 333 BC, Aleppo was taken over by Alexander the Great, and was kept under the Greeks for 300 years in the form of the Seleucid Empire. During this time Aleppo was an important trading city, between the Euphrates and Antioch. In 64 BC Pompey brought Syria under Roman domination. It remained under Roman control in the form of the Byzantine Empire until 637AD, when the Arabs took over. In the 10th century Aleppo was taken over by the Hamdanids who made it virtually independent until 962 AD when it was retaken by the Byzantine Empire. In 1098, it was circled by soldiers from the First Crusade who could not conquer it, but paralyzed its commercial power. It was besieged again in 1124 by another Crusade, and then taken over by Zengi and his successor Nur al Din. Saladin then took over and at his death the Ayyubid dynasty was perpetuated in Aleppo.
Taxila, Pakistan: From the ancient Neolithic tumulus of Saraikala to the ramparts of Sirkap (2nd century B.C.) and the city of Sirsukh (1st century A.D.), Taxila illustrates the different stages in the development of a city on the Indus that was alternately influenced by Persia, Greece and Central Asia and which, from the 5th century B.C. to the 2nd century A.D., was an important Buddhist centre of learning.
Byblos, Lebanon: The ruins of many successive civilizations are found at Byblos, one of the oldest Phoenician cities. Inhabited since Neolithic times, it has been closely linked to the legends and history of the Mediterranean region for thousands of years. Byblos is also directly associated with the history and diffusion of the Phoenician alphabet. Byblos is one of the oldest continuously inhabited citys. According to Phoenician tradition it was founded by the God El, and even the Phoenicians considered it a city of great antiquity. Although its beginnings are lost in time, modern scholars say the site of Byblos goes back at least 7,000 years.
Kathmandu Valley, Nepal: At the crossroads of the great civilizations of Asia, seven groups of Hindu and Buddhist monuments, as well as the three residential and palace areas of the royal cities of Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur, illustrate Nepalese art at its height. Among the 130 monuments are pilgrimage centres, temples, shrines, bathing sites and gardens all sites of veneration for both religious groups.
Palmyra, Syrian Arab Republic: An oasis in the Syrian desert, north-east of Damascus, Palmyra contains the monumental ruins of a great city that was one of the most important cultural centres of the ancient world. From the 1st to the 2nd century, the art and architecture of Palmyra, standing at the crossroads of several civilizations, married Graeco-Roman techniques with local traditions and Persian influences.
Polonnaruwa, Tunisia: Polonnaruwa was the second capital of Sri Lanka after the destruction of Anuradhapura in 993. It comprises, besides the Brahmanic monuments built by the Cholas, the monumental ruins of the fabulous garden-city created by Parakramabahu I in the 12th century. Polonnaruwa used by the Sri Lankan kings as a country residence from the 7th century became the Islands capital in the 11th century AD. After Nissankamalla's death, Polonnaruwa went to decline, civil war, lawlessness and constant invasions from the South Indian Chola Empire, and Malay barbarians who sacked the city several times, virtually destroyed the social structure and religious order of the country. A whole century after this were the 'Dark Ages' of Sri Lanka, a century from which few historical records survive.
Punic Town of Kerkuane and its Necropolis, Tunisia: This Phoenician city was probably abandoned during the First Punic War (c. 250 B.C.) and as a result was not rebuilt by the Romans. The remains constitute the only example of a Phoenicio-Punic city to have survived. The houses were built to a standard plan in accordance with a sophisticated notion of town planning. This Phoenician city, probably abandoned during the First Punic War (around 250 B.C.), and as a result not rebuilt by the Romans, constitutes the only remains of a Phoenicio-Punic city, which has survived. Its houses were built to a standard plan in accordance with a very developed form of town-planning.