First City,First Planned City and Origin of the Word ‘Town’

First City of the World- Ur   

Archaeologists have discovered evidences of an early occupation at Ur during the Ubaid period. These early levels were sealed off with a sterile deposit of soil that was interpreted by excavators of the 1920s as evidence for the Great Flood of the book of Genesis and Epic of Gilgamesh. It is now understood that the South Mesopotamian plain was exposed to regular floods from the Euphrates and the Tigris rivers, with heavy erosion from water and wind. The further occupation of Ur only becomes clear during its emergence in the third millennium BC although it must already have been a growing urban center during the fourth millennium. The third millennium BC is generally described as the Early Bronze Age of Mesopotamia, which ends approximately after the end of the Third Dynasty of Ur in the 21st century BC.

Ur was an important Sumerian city-state in ancient Mesopotamia located at the site of modern Tell el-Muqayyar  in Iraq’s Dhi Qar Governorate. Once a coastal city near the mouth of the Euphrates on the Persian Gulf, Ur is now well inland, south of the Euphrates on its right bank, 16 kilometres  from Nasiriyah.

The site is marked by the ruins of the Ziggurat of Ur, which contained the shrine of Nanna, excavated in the 1930s. The temple was built in the 21st century BC , during the reign of Ur-Nammu and was reconstructed in the 6th century BC by Nabonidus, the Assyrian born last king of Babylon. The ruins cover an area of 1,200 metres  northwest to southeast by 800 metres  northeast to southwest and rise up to about 20 metres  above the present plain level.

First Planned City of World

Derry, officially Londonderry, is believed to be the first ever planned city of the world and is second-largest city in Northern Ireland and the fourth-largest city on the island of Ireland. The name Derry is an anglicisation of the Irish name Daire or Doire meaning “oak grove”. In 1613, the city was granted a Royal Charter by King James I and the “London” prefix was added, changing the name of the city to Londonderry. While the city is more usually known as Derry, Londonderry is also used and remains the legal name.


A town is a human settlement larger than a village but smaller than a city. The size definition for what constitutes a “town” varies considerably in different parts of the world.

Origin and Use of the Term Town

The word town shares an origin with the German word Zaun, the Dutch word tuin, and the Old Norse tun. The German word Zaun comes closest to the original meaning of the word: a fence of any material.

In English and Dutch, the meaning of the word took on the sense of the space which these fences enclosed. In England, a town was a small city that could not afford or was not allowed to build walls or other larger fortifications, and built a palisade (a fence or wall made from wooden stakes or tree trunks and used as a defensive structure.) or stockade (an enclosure of palisades and tall walls made of logs placed side by side vertically with the tops sharpened to provide security) instead. In the Netherlands, this space was a garden, more specifically those of the wealthy, which had a high fence or a wall around them (like the garden of palace Het Loo in Apeldoorn, which was the example for the privy garden of William and Mary at Hampton Court). In Old Norse tun means a grassy place between farmhouses, and is still used in a similar meaning in modern Norwegian.

In Old English and Early and Middle Scots, the word ton, toun, etc. could refer to kinds of settlements as diverse as agricultural estates and holdings, partly picking up the Norse sense (as in the Scots word fermtoun) at one end of the scale, to fortified municipality at the other. If there was any distinction between toun (fortified municipality) and burgh (unfortified municipality) as claimed by some, it did not last in practice as burghs and touns developed. For example “Edina Burgh” or “Edinburgh” ( a city today) was built around a fort and eventually came to have a defensive wall.

In some cases, “town” is an alternate name for “city” or “village” ,especially a larger village. Sometimes, the word “town” is short for “township”. In general, today towns can be differentiated from townships, villages, or hamlets on the basis of their economic character, in that most of a town’s population will tend to derive their living from manufacturing industry, commerce, and public service rather than primary industry such as agriculture or related activities.

A place’s population size is not a reliable determinant of urban character. In many areas of the world, as in India at least until recent times, a large village might contain several times as many people as a small town. In the United Kingdom, there are historical cities that are far smaller than the larger towns!

read more at wikipedia

P.S-> There is a differing view on first city of world

When and where the first cities grew up is not certain, but Eridu is still popularly regarded as the oldest city on earth.1 The Neolithic town of Çatal Hüyük in Anatolia, discovered in 1961, may have a stronger claim to this distinction,2and it may yet be proved that the emergence of urban life in Anatolia actually preceded the beginnings of agriculture, which could have originated in cities.




Peter Beaumont Professor of Geography, St. David’s University College, University of Wales

Gerald H. Blake Senior Lecturer in Geography, University of Durham

J. Malcolm Wagstaff Senior Lecturer in Geography, University of Southampton


About Rashid Faridi

I am Rashid Aziz Faridi ,Writer, Teacher and a Voracious Reader.
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