HistoryWorld

10 of the oldest places of operations around the world

Old buildings and structures are often windows into an interesting past. Unfortunately, not all of these structures can survive the centuries or remain fully functional. But when they can do that, it can be really inspiring. This is also why these buildings and structures hold a special place in the world’s collective memory. So, in honor of some of the most important historical places in the world that are still in use today, here are some of the oldest operating places from around the world.

1 Pekin Noodle Parlor is one of the oldest continuously operating Chinese restaurants in the United States.

10 of the oldest places of operations around the world
The Pekin Noodle Parlor was built in 1909. Image credits: loc.gov, Natecation/Wikimedia.org

The oldest (or one of the oldest) continually operating Chinese restaurants in the United States is not located in San Francisco or New York. Alternatively, it can be found in a place called Butte, Montana. It was opened by Hum Yow and Tam Kwong Yee, and since then, the Tam family owns and operates this restaurant. Currently, it is operated by Jerry Tam.

The restaurant is located on the second floor, and patrons can climb a flight of stairs to access the noodle parlour. Once inside, they are greeted by the famous orange salon partitions which provide them with all the privacy they need. The pasta parlor also offers a wide variety of foods on its menu.

But more importantly, having been established in 1911, this noodle parlor still evokes memories of its rich history. For example, its furniture is believed to be from the 20th century. Moreover, the restaurant building itself is said to have had a colorful past. At one time it was believed to have housed a weed shop and illegal gaming facility within its premises.

2 Germany’s Fuggerei is the world’s oldest public housing complex still in use, and it’s a marvel.

10 of the oldest places of operations around the world
Image credit: Shutterstock

Can you imagine paying about $1 a year to rent a house? No, right? But at Fuggerei, that’s really the case. Located in the Bavarian city of Augsburg, Fuggerei is a historical marvel. It was founded in the 16th century by a merchant named Jakob Fugger and is considered the world’s oldest social housing project still in use.

10 of the oldest places of operations around the world
Image credit: Shutterstock

Over the past 500 years, the lease terms at Fuggerei have remained unchanged. Tenants can live here for an annual rent of one Rhenish guilder, which equals €0.88 or $1.17. In return, all they have to do is offer three daily prayers for the Fugger family.

10 of the oldest places of operations around the world
Image credit: Shutterstock

However, there are also some other conditions that must be followed. For example, those who are able are expected to help out in the community with jobs such as gardening or being a night watchman. All tenants must also be official residents of Augsburg, have no debts, and respected members of the Catholic community. Currently, about 150 people live in this complex, and it is distributed over about 140 apartments. Fuggerei is also visited by many tourists, which provides her with a source of income.

3 The Wieliczka Salt Mine is one of the oldest continuously operating salt mines in the world.

10 of the oldest places of operations around the world
The Wieliczka Salt Mine in the 18th century. Image credit: krakow-info.com

The Wieliczka Salt Mine may be a UNESCO World Heritage Site today, but when it began operating centuries ago, no one could have imagined the fantastical spaces it would eventually see. This salt mine is one of the oldest continuously operating mines in the world and is located near Kraków in southern Poland. It was mined in the 13th century and produced table salt continuously until about 2007. However, commercial mining here stopped in 1996. Today, it operates mostly as a tourist attraction, with over a million visitors annually.

10 of the oldest places of operations around the world
Image credit: Shutterstock

Over the years, the miners have slowly transformed this place from a dark cave into a majestic royal outpost. By the 19th century, its underground complex was decorated and lit up with giant salt crystal chandeliers. Later, in the early 20th century, it became home to the Kinga Church, a room filled with huge biblical inscriptions. The mine also has other attractions, such as beautiful salt sculptures and a maze of tunnels.

10 of the oldest places of operations around the world
Image credit: Shutterstock

Recently, it has been touted for its health benefits as well. For example, the atmosphere inside the mine is believed to be good for respiratory ailments.

4 Sean’s Bar is believed to be the oldest pub in Ireland, and possibly even the oldest pub in the world still in operation.

10 of the oldest places of operations around the world
Image credit: Shutterstock

Athlone, in County Westmeath, Ireland, is home to what is believed to be the oldest pub in the country, and perhaps even the oldest pub in the world still in operation. Known as Shaun’s Bar, this pub dates back to the dark ages. And so, over the past 1,100 years or so, this bar has no doubt seen countless glasses of alcohol poured.

10 of the oldest places of operations around the world
Image credit: Serge Ottaviani/Wikimedia.org

But even more impressive is how the bar’s lore links it to Ireland’s most legendary river, the Shannon. Athlone marks the site of what was once a ford across this river, known as the ford in ancient times. Around AD 900, a man named Luain Mac Luighdeach lived there and used to guide travelers across the water. He even established an inn and the site of this inn is where Sean Bar now stands.

This rich history was proven in the 1970s when the bar underwent renovations, and some of its walls were found to be made of ‘wicker and wicker’ dating back to the 9th century. In 2004, Guinness World Records officially designated this bar as the oldest pub in Ireland.

5 The oldest operating amusement park in the world is Dyrehavsbakken in Denmark.

10 of the oldest places of operations around the world
Image credit: wikiwand.com

Often a safe haven for families, the parks host attractions and rides that draw visitors of all ages. Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen, Denmark, is undoubtedly one such well-known garden. However, Denmark is also home to another, more interesting amusement park – Dyrehavsbakken. That’s because, when it comes to being the oldest amusement park in the world, Dyrehavsbakken is completely outclassed by Tivoli. Surprisingly, this amusement park is still going strong!

10 of the oldest places of operations around the world
Image credit: Stig Alenas/Shutterstock

Having opened in 1583, the origins of Dyrehavsbakken (also referred to as Bakken) can be traced back to the freshwater spring on the grounds. The discovery of this spring brought many people who came there in search of clean water. Since then, the park has undergone some transformations, but none of this has robbed it of its charm. Nowadays, Dyrehavsbakken boasts some great rides and attractions, including a wooden roller coaster from the 1930s.

10 of the oldest places of operations around the world
Image credit: Shutterstock

Unfortunately for its visitors, however, this park is not open all year round. Instead, visitors should plan their trip between April and August to get a glimpse of this park in all its glory.

6 Lock & Co. Hatters in London is the oldest hat shop in the world, still in operation.

10 of the oldest places of operations around the world
The oldest hatters in London. Image credits: Barabbas1312 via wikimedia.org, nytimes.com

Lock & Co. Hatters on St James’s Street in London is the oldest hat shop in the world. It was founded in 1676 by a man named Robert Davis and even got off on a high note by catering to the VIPs of the community. Later, the store was passed on to Charles Davis, son of Robert Davis. The younger Davis then took on an apprentice named James Locke, whose daughter, Mary Davis, he eventually married. This, then, is how James Locke inherited the hat shop from his former master. To this day, Luke’s descendants run the store.

Over the years, the Lock & Co Hatters have suffered through world wars, recessions, and depressions. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, they had to close their doors for the first time in years. Fortunately, reports indicate that they were able to bounce back quickly enough after businesses began to reopen around the world.

Interestingly, Lock & Co. Hatters is also one of the few hat stores that customizes hat sizes to suit their customers. For this purpose, they use a device called a “matcher” that is more than a century old.

7 Founded in 1909, College Park Airport is the world’s oldest continuously operating airport.

10 of the oldest places of operations around the world
Image credit: collegeparkairport. aero

Aviation has a long and varied history in the United States. A relic of this history is the College Park Airport in Maryland which is still in use today. It was established in 1909 when Wilbur Wright visited the field to train two military officers to fly the first government aircraft. From that day to the present, the airport has remained in operation, making it the oldest continuously operating airport in the world.

Dubbed the “Field of the Firsts”, this airport undoubtedly witnessed many of aviation’s first steps throughout its history. Continuing this legacy, it remains a valuable and active airport that serves the needs of aircraft pilots and history buffs alike. It also serves as an airport gateway to Washington, D.C. and Prince George’s County.

In 1973, College Park Airport was purchased by the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC). Later, in 1977, the airport was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Due to its rich and colorful past, this airport is deeply woven into the historical fabric of the US aviation industry.

8 Sea Life in Brighton is believed to be the world’s oldest aquarium still in use.

10 of the oldest places of operations around the world
Image credit: visitsealife.comPaul Hudson/Flickr

Located in the English city of Britain, Sea Life Briton is not only home to a variety of marine creatures but also an interesting past. This aquarium opened in 1872 and was conceived and designed by Eugenius Birch, who also designed the city’s western pier. Construction of the aquarium began in 1869 and was completed at a cost of £133,000 (equivalent to about £5.5 million / $7 million today).

Birch’s original designs contained archways, stonework, and columns inspired by the Gothic and Pompeian styles. He also incorporated statuary made of Bath stone, red Edinburgh granite, and green marble. Unfortunately, the aquarium eventually ran into financial difficulties and was acquired by the Brighton Corporation.

Then, between 1927 and 1929, they made extensive renovations to the aquarium and altered many of Birch’s original designs. Years later, in 1991, this aquarium was purchased by Sea Life. Every year, Sea Life Brighton spends around £50,000 (about $60,000) on food for its many animals which include octopuses, green sea turtles and more.

9 The State Theater in Washington, Iowa, holds the Guinness Book of Records for the oldest continuously operating movie theater.

10 of the oldest places of operations around the world
Image credit: Friends of the State Theatre/Facebook via onlyinyourstate.com

The magic of cinema has remained more or less unchanged even years after its inception. This is then highlighted by venues like the State Theater in Washington, Iowa, which still exemplify the old-world charm of early cinema. As of January 2022, this theater has been in operation for 124 years, having opened in May 1897. This is also what makes it worthy of the Guinness World Record for Oldest Continuously Operating Movie Theatre.

10 of the oldest places of operations around the world
Image credit: Farragutful/wikimedia.org

However, things weren’t always so great for this historical marvel. In 2010, a fire in the screening room caused it to be temporarily closed. This even led to a complete restoration of the theatre’s facilities. Recently, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the theater has also faced some financial stress. Hence, in an effort to stay afloat, the cinema began serving curbside popcorn so that movie lovers could enjoy it at home. There is no doubt that if this theater ever closed, it would be an irreparable loss to his community.

10 Nishiyama Onsen Konkan is said to be the oldest hotel in the world.

10 of the oldest places of operations around the world
Image credit: Boltor/wikimedia.org

Founded in 705 AD, Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan is a traditional-style hot spring hotel in Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan. It was officially recognized as the oldest hotel in the world by Guinness World Records in 2011. Over the course of 1,300 years or so, this hotel has been run by 52 generations of the same family, including adoptive heirs. In her early days, she also had some famous samurai and shoguns who patronized her. This hotel has earned a bad reputation even nowadays.

10 of the oldest places of operations around the world
Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan. Image credit: infobae.com

However, like any other business, this hotel too has had to evolve and adapt to keep up with the times. As a result, the hotel site is older than it was thousands of years ago. The hotel also includes many modern amenities for the comfort of its guests. But despite these amenities, the surrounding natural mountains still give the hotel the feel and look of a bygone era, allowing it to remain trapped in its glorious past.

Smith

Tricare west is a global news publication that tells the stories you want to know.

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