History junkies, right this way.
There’s a reason 14.7 million people visit the pyramids each year, 10 million people journey to St. Peter’s Basilica, and over seven million take in Athens’ Parthenon: aside from the fact that they’re architecturally stunning, these destinations are also old. Very, very, old. There’s a mystical, thrilling quality to stepping foot on the same grounds as individuals who were there centuries before. If you get the goosebumps finding out the doorway you just walked through dates back to the 17th century or the stained glass in the window is circa Gothic period, then the next leg of your journey as a history junkie should be the world’s oldest shops.
Dissimilar to cathedrals and ancient temples, it’s arduous to track down shops that have been in continuous operation for centuries. Fires, earthquakes, world wars, financial instability, and just about every other issue that business owners encounter make staying open for several lifetimes a huge feat. Thankfully, some have managed to do it and they offer a diverse smattering of objects ranging from the traditional book shop to the odd (but wonderful) pickle stand. Here are 20 of the world’s oldest shops from around the world.
Top Picks for You
WHERE: Salzburg, Austria, 12th Century
Stiftsbäckerei St. Peter is a tranquil bakery in Salzburg, Austria, that dates back to the 12th Century. For hundreds of years, it has focused on the wood-fire production of black bread with natural sourdough and prides itself on allowing patrons to watch the baking process. Don’t miss the old water mill wheel near the entrance as well as the St. Peter Monastery it’s affiliated with.
WHERE: Florence, Italy, 1221
Tucked away on Via della Scala in Florence, Italy lays Santa Maria Novella, a pharmacy that Dominican friars founded in 1221. Monks began selling rose water on the property toward the end of the 14th century, which was formulated to combat plagues such as the black death. They even supplied the Medici family. The pharmacy is well-known for its apothecary shop that offers its Antisterica water and other compelling concoctions.
Oldest Pickle Shop
WHERE: Bejing, China,1530
If chomping down on a pickle with a history that dates back to 1530 sounds appealing, then book your next flight to Bejing. Lubiju Pickle and Sauce Shop in Quianmen offers non-brined pickles that have been cured in myriad tasty seasonings. It’s a destination that should be added to every foodie’s bucket list.
Oldest Liquor Store
WHERE: Charleston, South Carolina, 1686
The city of Charleston was established in 1670. A mere sixteen years later, a liquor store was founded on the corner of East Bay and Exchange Street—and it never left. The Tavern is a popular tourist destination and is conveniently located next door to the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon. Go here to take a photo outside the petite structure and head inside for their monthly tastings or bottle of local spirits.