There were many great ancient cities in Africa. These cities include the cities of Memphis and Thebes in Egypt as well as Carthage, home of the great warrior Hannibal, including the city of Alexandria which is known for its legendary library and many more which we will be listing here and interesting things to know about them.


Humans have inhabited the continent of Africa for hundreds of thousands of years. During that period, most of the ancient African cities inhabitants lived in nomadic tribes, but Ancient Africa was also home to many great cities at that time. These cities were mainly built along the northern coast of Africa, near the Mediterranean Sea, which separates Africa, Europe, and Asia.

Aside from Memphis and Thebes, other Ancient Africa famous cities such as Carthage, whose famed warrior Hannibal successfully attacked Rome and the city of Alexandria.


Memphis And Thebes
  • Memphis And Thebes

One of the key ancient cities in Africa, the city of Memphis now referred to as Ancient Egypt was the center of the civilization and is home to the Pyramids of Giza. perhaps the most famous symbols of Ancient Egypt. The city of Memphis is located at the mouth of the Nile delta, it expanse the area in which the great Nile river opens into the Mediterranean Sea. This location is important because of its proximity to the Mediterranean, this made the city an important trading port and the fertile land around the delta made it perfect for agriculture.

Ile Ife
  • Ile-Ife

Ile-Ife is among the ancient cities in Africa, the city is located in Nigeria and was founded in 350 Bc by Yorubas. Just as the Benin kingdom, Ife had various sculptures mostly carved from copper and Bronze. The city is still Very much inhabited up to date. Habitation of Ife land can be traced back to the 4th century BC. The kingdom of Ilé-Ifè is well known worldwide for its ancient and naturalistic bronze, stone and terracotta sculptures, which was at their artistic peak of expression between the 1200s and 1400 A.D. Within the period around 1300 C.E. the artists at Ife created a refined and naturalistic sculptural tradition in time, copper alloy – copper, terracotta, brass, and bronze many of which appear to have been created under the demand and patronage of King Obalufon II (the man who today is identified as the Yoruba patron deity of brass casting, weaving, and regalia). As this period fade off, the production of sculpture declined as political and economic power shifted to the nearby kingdom of Benin which developed into a major empire like the Yoruba kingdom of Oyo.

Giza – Ancient Cities In Africa
  • Giza

The city of Memphis was both the political and economic center of Ancient Egypt, home to the pharaohs, the monarchical rulers of Egypt, and their court during the Old Kingdom period. After the pharaohs moved to Thebes which is located south in the Middle Kingdom, nonetheless Memphis remained Egypt’s main trading port.

Thebes basically became Egypt’s capital city originating from the Middle Kingdom. It is established farther south down the Nile from the city of Memphis and also became Egypt’s main religious center and home to its temples and other sacred sites that were important parts of Egypt’s religious practices, including the temple at Karnak and the famous Luxor complex. Giza would serve as Egypt’s political capital on and off throughout the Middle and New Kingdoms.

  • Carthage

Carthage, an ancient African city, even though Ancient Egypt was the most dominant and popular African civilization. Throughout most of the ancient period, the city of Carthage, in modern-day Tunisia, became popular in the first century BCE and eventually became a major power in the Mediterranean region, competing with Rome.

General Hannibal is one of the icons in Carthage. He fought Rome in the Second Punic War. Hannibal’s defeat of Rome was famous after crossing the Alps and attacking from the north, instead of coming across the Mediterranean from the South, which led to the Carthaginian domination of much of the Italian peninsula for a 15-year period. However, Rome defeated Carthage in the Third Punic War, this led to the end and destruction of most of the city at the Battle of Carthage and enslavement of thousands of Carthaginians.

Benin Kingdom
  • Benin City

Benin City, among the the ancient cities in Africa, the city of Benin is the capital of Edo State, located in southern Nigeria. The Benin City National Museum (Central Kings Square), trace history of Benin Empire history and also has displays of terracotta sculpture just like Ife. The Oba’s Palace is known for its array of bronze plaques that once decorated the walls, which depicts historical events and life at court. The city is popularly known for its bronze casting, and the bronze casters ply their trade along Igun Street. Benin city was founded in 400 BC and it acted as the ‘capital’ of the Benin Empire.

Portuguese were the first to contact or locate Benin Empire in 1475 and in the early 16th century, the Portuguese even sent an ambassador to Lisbon and the Portuguese sent Missionaries.

Afterward, Benin Empire was overthrown by British colony as vengeance after two of their men were killed in previous expeditions in 1897 leading to its downfall. The British also took bronzes, portrait figures and carved irons from Benin. These artifacts are currently being displayed in different museums across the World.

  • Cairo

Cairo is the capital of Egypt, located at the bank of the Nile River. Tahrir Square and the vast Egyptian Museum, several antiquities including royal mummies and gilded King Tutankhamun artifacts at its heart is. Not far from Giza is the iconic site of the pyramids and Great Sphinx, dated back to the 26th century BC. In Gezira Island’s you’ll find the leafy Zamalek district, 187m Cairo Tower affords panoramic city views.

The Fatimid dynasty created the modern Cairo in 969 CE, but the land making up the present-day Cairo city was the site of ancient national capitals whose remnants remain visible in parts of Old Cairo. For a long time, Cairo has long been a center of the region’s political and cultural life, earning it the title “city of a thousand minarets” for its preponderance of Islamic architecture.

Kano City
  • Kano City

The major inhabitants of Kano city are the Hausas and the language is widely spoken in Kano and the city is the capital of the Kano Emirate. Kano city was also known for its groundnut pyramid (arranging the groundnut bags in a pyramid shape).

The Chronicle of Kano city identifies Barbushe, a priest who consults the Dala Hill spirit, was said to be the city’s first settler. Sakri Gijimasu laid The foundation for the construction of Kano City Walls from 1095 – 1134 and was completed in the middle of the 14th Century during the reign of Zamnagawa. In the 7th century, Dala Hill was the hunting and where the community that engaged in ironwork gather; it is unknown whether these people were Hausas or speakers of Niger-Congo languages. Kano was originally known as Dala, after the hill, and was thus referred.



Is are not just myth or stories but are a symbol of life before the present modern structure of the African continent. Though there are various ancient cities scattered around several African countries, the ones listed are just to mention but a few of them. The continent of Africa has a beautiful history and ancient cities which are as old as any other cities in another part of the world. Some of this cities were not wiped out but were transformed into a beautiful city. Some of the sites of this ancient cities are in ruin and are visited by tourist.

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