Ancient Cities in Africa

For thousands of years, humans have been living in Africa. Even though most of the people lived in nomadic areas for a significant amount of that time, Ancient Africa had many great cities that thrived along the northern coast of the Mediterranean Sea.

Himalaya Mountains

These cities grew from trade within the sea and constantly communicated with inhabitants of Asian and European cities.

Memphis and Thebes

Among the most famous cities of Ancient Africa was the city of Memphis which became the center of Egyptian civilization.

Situated at the mouth of the Nile delta, Memphis assumed a critical role in the agricultural industry of Ancient Egypt due to its fertile land.

In addition, it also served as a trading port because of its proximity to the Mediterranean Sea. At one time, Memphis was recognized as the center for political and economic activities of Egypt.

Thebes, on another hand, went on to become the capital city of Egypt at the start of The Middle Kingdom.

Himalaya Mountains

It also became the primary religious center of Egypt as it sheltered sacred sites and temples that were essential in their religious practices. Throughout the Middle and New Kingdoms, Thebes served as the political capital of Egypt.


The city of Alexandria was one of the last great African metropolises on the Mediterranean Sea. For many centuries, Alexandria became the center of the Hellenic empire in Africa.

By the same token, Alexandria also went on to become the focal point of trade in the region.

Its port is built with a great Lighthouse which is used to accommodate the many ships that are coming in and out of the city.

Oracle Bone Script


Founded in the 9th century B.C.E., the city of Carthage was among the most dominant forces in The Mediterranean.

It established a trading empire that became the landmark of the entire Carthaginian civilization.

During the Punic Wars, the Carthaginian occupied lands that were owned by the Roman Republic.

It is best remembered today for the heroics of General Hannibal who led the struggle against Rome.

In the third Punic Wars, the Romans defeated Carthage and went on to destroy the city. It is, however, essential to remember that Carthage was later rebuilt and is now considered by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

Interesting Facts about the Ancient Cities in Africa

  • Kano is the oldest city in West Africa. It is located in Nigeria and was established 1400 years ago.
  • The Great Lighthouse in the city of Alexandria is one of the seven wonders of the Ancient World.
  • Popular religious centers that can be seen in Thebes are the Temple of Luxor and the Karnak Temple.
  • Meroe which was a wealthy city during the Kush Kingdom is now situated in Sudan.
  • While the art and literary works of the city of Meroe started to disappear at the start of the 3rdcentury, there are still more than 200 pyramids that can be seen today in Sudan.
  • Carthage was situated at the seaboard of the Mediterranean Sea in what is today the country of Tunisia.
  • Aksum which was part of the Aksumite Kingdom is now a popular site of interest in Ethiopia. It is full of underground tombs, gigantic stelae, and palace ruins.
  • Olduvai Gorge which is located in Tanzania is one of the most exquisite archaeological locations in the world. A variety of tools, weapons, and fossils have been excavated in the area.

What was the capital city of the Dahomey Kingdom?

The capital city of the Dahomey Kingdom was Abomey. It is most famous for its palaces, temples, and winding lanes.

Where are the Pyramids of Giza located?

The Pyramids of Giza which is perhaps the most iconic symbol of Ancient Egypt is located in Memphis.

What is the city of Kano known for?

The city of Kano is known for being the center of Islamic studies in the middle ages.

Who was the founder of the city of Alexandria?

The city of Alexandria was founded by Alexander the Great.