One day, people invented the wheel. It was about 6000 years ago. At the time, the wheel was not made to move. Then much later, the wheel was put to use, imposing itself as an essential component of the means of transport. Suddenly, at some point, the guys had to start working on the invention of the road. If the first so-called modern roads were born under the impetus of the Scottish engineer John Loudon McAdam between the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century, human beings did not wait for him to lay out paths in order to facilitate displacements. Some of these tracks still exist today. And no, we are not talking about the Paris ring road.
1. The road to Giza (Egypt)
So yes, the oldest road in the world, which is around 4500 years old, still exists but it is almost impossible to drive there by car, bicycle or even electric scooter. Located north of the Fayoum desert in Egypt, it was used to transport the basalt which was used to build mortuary temples, around the same time as the construction of the famous pyramids. It measures about 11 kilometers for 2 meters wide.
2. La route Nakasendo (Japon)
Built to connect Kyoto and Tokyo in the 17th century, this road of almost 500 km is still largely passable. And for good reason, some of its parts were restored. A real national monument!
3. The Silk Road
Running through Asia to connect the center of the Roman Empire to China, this famous road was first used around 200 BC. A major commercial road, it still exists today, in a more modern form, with tarmac and everything you need to drive quietly at the wheel of your hybrid car.
4. The Ridgeway (Royaume-uni)
Britain’s oldest road was first mentioned in writings in the early 10th century. It was once used by merchants wishing to travel to Dorset. Today, it is impossible to drive there with a car but it is strongly recommended to hike there. If only to admire the vestiges of the Bronze Age and the Iron Age which mark it out.
5. La route de Yuen Tsuen (Chine)
If today this path is perfect for walking, at the time, a very long time ago, it was the only road that made it possible to connect Yuen Long and Tsuen Wan in the New Territories of Hong Kong. .
6. La Great North Road (Australie)
Built by convicts to connect Sydney to the Hunter Valley between 1825 and 1836, this road of more than 260 km is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Considered a true engineering marvel, it alone tells a whole part of Australia’s history and is full of very fascinating sites.
7. The Old North Trail (USA)
Between Canada and Mexico, this route taken by the Blackfeet, an Amerindian tribe very present in the Rockies, can still be visited today. Finally, only fragments because if it is difficult to date it with precision, one thing is certain: it is very old. Note that the Amerindians took about four years to make the journey on foot.
8. The Khmer Road (Cambodia/Thailand)
A historical road, considered sacred, used to connect the different temples and facilitate their access. Largely puffed up by vegetation, it is still rather passable today.
9. The Via Augusta (Espagne)
Named in honor of Emperor Augustus, this road was, at 1500 km, the longest in the region. It originally started from the Pyrenees, on the Mediterranean coast, and joined the city now known as Cadiz, in the far south. It was built between the years 8 and 2 BC.
10. The King’s Road
Taken by the Hebrew people to reach the promised land, this trade route started from Egypt, at Heliopolis, then crossed the Sinai Peninsula before going through the Negev, the Arabah and the plateaus of Transjordan. It is dotted with historical sites such as Gadara, Geraa, Salt or the unmissable Petra and Wadi Rum, two places well known to film buffs for having hosted, among other classics, the filming of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and Lawrence of Arabia.