Oldest Shops in the World

10 Oldest Shops in the World

The oldest shops around the globe are more than just retail spaces; they are living museums embodying centuries of commerce, culture, and community.

These ten establishments are remarkable not only for their age but for their ability to adapt and thrive through various historical epochs. Here is a closer look at each, detailing their heritage and unique stories.

10 Oldest Shops in the World

10. Antica Trattoria Suban

Year Founded: 1865
Owner: Owned by the Suban family
Country: Italy

Antica Trattoria Suban has been an integral part of Trieste’s gastronomic scene since 1865. This family-run restaurant is renowned for its traditional Friulian cuisine, which was influenced by the region’s historical Austro-Hungarian rule.

The Suban family has preserved traditional cooking methods and recipes, offering dishes that are rich in history and flavor.

The restaurant’s interior, with its vintage decor and warm ambiance, echoes the cultural fusion that is characteristic of Trieste, providing a dining experience that is both gastronomically and historically enriching.

Did You Know?

The legacy of Antica Trattoria Suban is not just in its food but also in its historical resilience. Surviving through the turbulence of two World Wars, the restaurant served as a meeting place for various cultural and intellectual figures of the time, contributing to the rich cultural tapestry of Trieste.

The establishment’s ability to retain its identity through the region’s political shifts is a testament to the strength and dedication of the Suban family. This restaurant does not merely serve meals; it serves stories, making each dining experience a dive into history.


9. Cafe Procope

Year Founded: 1686
Owner: Managed by a hospitality group
Country: France

Cafe ProcopePhoto Source: Wikimedia Commons

Cafe Procope in Paris, established in 1686, is known as the oldest cafe in Paris. It has been a hub of intellectual and cultural activity, frequented by prominent figures such as Voltaire, Rousseau, and later, figures of the French Revolution.

Today, it continues to serve as a cafe and restaurant, where patrons can enjoy French cuisine amidst a collection of historical memorabilia, including relics from its revolutionary past. The cafe’s decor includes period artwork and furnishings, offering a glimpse into the intellectual life of Paris over the centuries.

Did You Know?

Cafe Procope’s rich history encapsulates its role as a meeting place for philosophers, playwrights, and revolutionaries.

During the Enlightenment and the French Revolution, it was a venue for heated debates and philosophical discussions that helped shape modern democratic ideals. The cafe preserves this legacy by hosting literary events and discussions, ensuring that the spirit of debate and enlightenment continues to thrive.

The presence of historical artifacts, like Napoleon’s hat, adds a tangible connection to the past, enriching visitors’ cultural experience.


8. Grogan’s Castle Lounge

Year Founded: 1661 AD
Owner: Managed by a local Irish family
Country: Ireland

Grogan’s Castle Lounge is one of Dublin’s oldest pubs, established in 1661. This pub is cherished for its traditional Irish atmosphere, complete with a warm, rustic interior that features wood paneling and classic pub furnishings.

Grogan’s is famous for its selection of Irish beers and whiskies, as well as for its literary connections, having been a favored spot for generations of Irish writers and artists. The pub regularly hosts poetry readings and live music, making it a vibrant cultural hub in Dublin’s city center.

Did You Know?

Beyond its appeal as a traditional pub, Grogan’s Castle Lounge plays a significant role in Dublin’s artistic community. The pub’s commitment to supporting local artists and musicians has made it a cultural institution where new talents are nurtured and celebrated.

Its walls are adorned with works by local artists, and its cozy corners have inspired many poems and stories. This nurturing of the arts has established Grogan’s as a key player in the cultural life of Dublin, where the creative spirit of the city is both preserved and propelled forward.


7. Elzenveld Pharmacy

Year Founded: 1261
Owner: Managed by the city of Antwerp
Country: Belgium

Elzenveld Pharmacy in Antwerp is one of the world’s oldest pharmacies, operating continuously since 1261. It has evolved from a simple apothecary shop into a modern health center while preserving its historic character.

The pharmacy is located within a larger complex that includes a hotel and conference center, set in a historic building with beautiful gardens. This unique setting provides visitors with a blend of medical history and contemporary healthcare services, making it a fascinating destination for both history buffs and those interested in the evolution of pharmacy.

Did You Know?

The historical significance of Elzenveld Pharmacy extends beyond its age. Originally part of a medieval hospital complex, it has been at the forefront of healthcare in Antwerp for centuries. The pharmacy has witnessed the transformation of medical practices from ancient herbal remedies to modern pharmaceuticals.

It also serves as an educational resource, offering insights into the history of medicine and pharmacy. The integration of the pharmacy with a modern health center and historical site reflects its enduring commitment to community health and its rich heritage.


6. Ma Yu Ching’s Bucket Chicken House

Year Founded: 1153
Owner: Ma family lineage
Country: China

Ma Yu Ching’s Bucket Chicken House, located in Kaifeng, Henan Province, has been a culinary landmark since 1153 AD. The restaurant is renowned for its ‘bucket chicken,’ a recipe that has been passed down through generations of the Ma family.

The dish, known for its savory and aromatic flavors, reflects the region’s culinary traditions and has remained largely unchanged for centuries.

The restaurant’s longevity is a testament to its commitment to quality and tradition, attracting food enthusiasts from all over the world who seek to experience authentic Chinese cooking.

Did You Know?

The resilience of Ma Yu Ching’s Bucket Chicken House is not just about its age or recipes; it’s also about its cultural impact. Through centuries of political upheavals, including the fall of dynasties and the dramatic changes of the 20th century, the restaurant has persisted as a pillar of the community.

Its ability to maintain traditional cooking methods in a rapidly modernizing world is a significant feat. The restaurant offers an increasingly rare taste of history. It serves as a living museum of Chinese culinary history, making it a cultural treasure as well as a gastronomic one.


5. Zum Franziskaner

Year Founded: 1150
Owner: Managed by a Bavarian family
Country: Germany

Zum FranziskanerPhoto Source: Wikimedia Commons

Zum Franziskaner in Munich is a storied establishment that began its life as a brewery and refectory for Franciscan monks. Over the centuries, it has evolved into a celebrated restaurant and beer hall, known for its authentic Bavarian cuisine and atmosphere.

The current building, a recreation of the original that was demolished, still retains the historic charm and architectural elements typical of traditional Bavarian construction.

The menu features hearty regional specialties, including sausages, pretzels, and an excellent selection of local beers, served in a setting that transports patrons back in time.

Did You Know?

Zum Franziskaner’s history is deeply intertwined with the cultural and social life of Munich. The establishment has been a gathering place for locals and travelers alike, surviving numerous historical upheavals, including both World Wars.

The restaurant has witnessed Munich’s changing cityscape and served generations of families, making it a beloved landmark. Its commitment to maintaining its historical integrity while providing top-notch Bavarian hospitality has made Zum Franziskaner a cornerstone of Munich’s cultural heritage.


4. The Old House

Year Founded: 1147
Owner: Local family
Country: Wales

The Old HousePhoto Source: Wikimedia Commons

The Old House in Llangynwyd, Wales, is reputedly the oldest house in the region. Now operating as a pub, it provides a picturesque setting with its thatched roof and timber structure, evoking the historical essence of rural Wales.

Inside, the pub retains much of its original charm with stone floors and large fireplaces, offering a warm, inviting atmosphere. The menu includes traditional Welsh dishes, which are enjoyed by locals and tourists seeking a historical dining experience.

Did You Know?

Beyond its function as a pub, The Old House is enveloped in local lore and legend. It is said to be haunted by Ann Maddocks, the “Maid of Cefn Ydfa,” a local figure who lived a tragic love story akin to Romeo and Juliet.

Her presence is said to add a mystical allure to the pub, attracting those who are fascinated by ghost stories and Welsh folklore. This blend of history, legend, and community makes The Old House a unique landmark, providing not just food and drink but a story to remember.


3. The Bingley Arms

Year Founded: 953 AD
Owner: Local family
Country: England

The Bingley ArmsPhoto Source: Wikimedia Commons

The Bingley Arms stands in the village of Bardsey, Leeds, and has been operating continuously since 953 AD. Originally established as an alehouse for travelers, it has served various purposes over the centuries, including a courthouse and a priest’s hideout.

Today, it offers a cozy pub experience, combining historical charm with modern British pub culture. Its menu features classic English dishes made from locally sourced ingredients, and its architecture includes original features like the old fireplace and beamed ceilings.

Did You Know?

The Bingley Arms is steeped in fascinating history beyond its role as a public house. During the English Reformation, when Catholic priests were persecuted, the pub served as a safe haven, equipped with a priest hole where clergy could hide.

This secret chamber is a rare historical feature, providing a direct connection to the turbulent times of religious conflict in England.

The pub’s survival through numerous historical events, including the Norman conquests and both World Wars, speaks to its resilience and the deep-rooted affection that locals and visitors alike hold for this establishment.


2. Sean’s Bar

Year Founded: 900 AD
Owner: Timmy Donovan and Paul Donovan
Country: Ireland

Sean’s BarPhoto Source: Wikimedia Commons

Recognized by Guinness World Records as the oldest pub globally, Sean’s Bar has welcomed visitors in Athlone, Ireland since 900 AD. Throughout its extensive history, the pub has maintained a vibrant atmosphere, offering traditional Irish music and hospitality.

The pub’s physical structure features remnants of its ancient origins, including walls made from wattle and daub, preserved under the current building’s facade. This connection to the past is palpable in its rustic décor and historical artifacts displayed within the pub.

Did You Know?

Sean’s Bar has a profound historical significance that extends beyond its ancient walls. Archaeological evidence suggests that the site was a crucial crossing point along the River Shannon, used by travelers for centuries.

The bar’s strategic location made it a gathering spot for both locals and visitors, enabling it to witness and participate in significant historical events in Ireland. Moreover, Sean’s Bar has its line of whiskey and a rich tradition of hosting live music events, preserving and promoting Irish cultural heritage.

These efforts have not only enriched the local community but have also attracted tourists from around the world, eager to experience a piece of Irish history.


1. St. Peter Stiftskulinarium

Year Founded: 803 AD
Owner: Claus Haslauer
Country: Austria

St. Peter StiftskulinariumPhoto Source: Wikimedia Commons

Nestled within St. Peter’s Abbey’s historic walls, St. Peter Stiftskulinarium in Salzburg claims the title of Central Europe’s oldest restaurant. With a history that stretches back to the year 803, it has served a range of guests from medieval monarchs to modern celebrities.

The restaurant offers a blend of traditional and innovative dishes, celebrating Austrian culinary traditions while embracing contemporary flavors. The ancient dining rooms provide a stunning backdrop filled with medieval art and architecture, creating an immersive historical dining experience.

Did You Know?

St. Peter Stiftskulinarium is not just a restaurant; it’s a cultural institution that has played a significant role in Salzburg’s social and culinary scene for centuries. The restaurant’s longevity is a testament to its ability to maintain high standards of quality and service while adapting to changing tastes and societal norms.

Additionally, the establishment hosts the Mozart Dinner Concert, a unique event that combines fine dining with live performances of Mozart’s music.

This event is held in the restaurant’s Baroque hall, beautifully illuminated by candlelight, offering guests a taste of 18th-century Salzburg’s artistic life.


Conclusion

The oldest shops in the world are living museums of commerce, culture, and community. From Sean’s Bar in Ireland to Antica Trattoria Suban in Italy , these establishments have adapted through centuries, offering more than just goods.

They are places where history lives, telling stories of refuge, intellectual discourse, and cultural heritage. They stand as testaments to human resilience and innovation, reminding us of our ability to thrive amidst change.

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