This article lists the oldest known surviving buildings constructed in the Americas, including on each of the regions and within each country. "Building" is defined as any human-made structure used or interface for supporting or sheltering any use or continuous occupancy. In order to qualify for this list a structure must:
|Name||Image||Note||Country||Historical region||First Built||Use||Source|
|Sechin Bajo||A large archaeological site with ruins dating from 3500 BCE to 1300 BCE||Department of Áncash, Peru||3500 BC||Administrative-Ceremonial center|
|Pyramids of Caral||These pyramids predate the Egyptian pyramids by around 100 years||Department of Lima, Peru||Caral civilization||2600 BC||Temples and residential buildings|
|Kotosh||Archaeological site consisting of buildings with six periods of continuous occupation.||Huánuco, Peru||1800 BC||Temple|
|Garagay||One of the largest centers of pre-Columbian culture on Peru's central coast||Lima, Peru||1400 BC||Temples|
|Yucuita||Founded by the Mixtec civilization in the pre-Classic Period||Oaxaca, Mexico||Mixtec civilization||14th century BC||Ceremonial center and a square|
|San José Mogote||San José Mogote was the largest and most important settlement in the Valley of Oaxaca during the Early and Middle Formative periods||Oaxaca, Mexico||Zapotec civilization||1300 BC||Town|
|Chavín de Huantar||Occupation at Chavín de Huántar has been carbon dated to at least 3000 BCE||Department of Áncash, Peru||Chavín culture||1200 BC||Religious center|
|Basilica Cathedral of Santa María la Menor||It was the first and oldest cathedral established in the Americas.||Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic||Columbian Viceroyalty, Spanish Empire||1514-1541|
|Monasterio de San Francisco||It was the first and oldest monastery built in the Americas.||Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic||Columbian Viceroyalty, Spanish Empire||1509-1560|
|Hospital San Nicolás de Bari||It was the oldest hospital built in the Americas.||Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic||Columbian Viceroyalty, Spanish Empire||1503|
|Ozama Fortress||It is the oldest military construction of European origin in the Americas.||Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic||Columbian Viceroyalty, Spanish Empire||1502-1508|
|Palace of Cortés||It is the oldest conserved colonial-era civil structure in the continental Americas.||Cuernavaca, Mexico||Viceroyalty of New Spain, Spanish Empire||1523-1528|
|Colegio de Santa Cruz de Tlatelolco||It was the first European school of higher learning in the Americas and the first major school of interpreters and translators in the New World.||Mexico City, Mexico||Viceroyalty of New Spain, Spanish Empire||1536|
|Biblioteca Palafoxiana||It is the first and oldest public library in the Americas.||Puebla City, Mexico||Viceroyalty of New Spain, Spanish Empire||1646-1773|
Sucre is the constitutional capital of Bolivia, the capital of the Chuquisaca Department and the 6th most populated city in Bolivia. Located in the south-central part of the country, Sucre lies at an elevation of 2,810 meters. This relatively high altitude gives the city a subtropical highland climate with cool temperates year-round.
Santo Domingo, officially Santo Domingo de Guzmán, is the capital and largest city in the Dominican Republic and the largest metropolitan area in the Caribbean by population. As of 2010, the city had a total population of 2,908,607, when including the metropolitan area. The city is coterminous with the boundaries of the Distrito Nacional, itself bordered on three sides by Santo Domingo Province.
Puebla, known in Spanish as Puebla de Zaragoza, formally Heroica Puebla de Zaragoza and in colonial times as Puebla de los Ángeles, is the seat of Puebla Municipality, the capital and largest city of the state of Puebla, and the second largest in colonial Mexico and the richest Catholic diocese. A colonial era planned city, it is located in (southern) Central Mexico on the main route between the capital, Mexico City, and Mexico's main Atlantic port, Veracruz—about 100 km (62 mi) east southeast of Mexico City and about 220 km (140 mi) west of Veracruz.
The Distrito Nacional (D.N.) is a subdivision of the Dominican Republic enclosing the capital Santo Domingo. It is not in any of the provinces, but in practice, it acts as a province on its own. Before October 16, 2001, the Distrito Nacional was much larger, including what is now known as Santo Domingo Province. Published statistics and maps generally show the former, larger, Distrito Nacional. The Distrito Nacional has no rural or undeveloped areas.
Rímac is a district in the Lima Province, Peru. It lies directly to the north of downtown Lima, to which it is connected by six bridges over the Rímac River. The district also borders the Independencia, San Martín de Porres, and San Juan de Lurigancho districts. Vestiges of Lima's colonial heyday remain today in an area of the Rímac district known as the Historic centre of Lima, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988. Downtown Rímac District has, like its southern counterpart, its eastern and western sides divided by Jirón Trujillo, which connects to Lima District's Jirón de la Unión through the Puente de Piedra, the oldest bridge in the whole city. Rímac's East side features the Plaza de Acho, the most famous bullfighting arena in South America and one of the most well known in the world.
Spanish Colonial architecture represents Spanish colonial influence on New World and East Indies' cities and towns, and it is still being seen in the architecture as well as in the city planning aspects of conserved present-day cities. These two visible aspects of the city are connected and complementary. The 16th century Laws of the Indies included provisions for the layout of new colonial settlements in the Americas and elsewhere.
The Plaza de las Tres Culturas is the main square within the Tlatelolco neighborhood of Mexico City. The name "Three Cultures" is in recognition of the three periods of Mexican history reflected by buildings in the plaza: pre-Columbian, Spanish colonial, and the independent nation. The plaza, designed by Mexican architect and urbanist Mario Pani, was completed in 1966.
Mompox or Mompós, officially Santa Cruz de Mompox, is a town and municipality in northern Colombia, in the Bolívar Department, which has preserved its colonial character. Mompox depends upon tourism, fishing and some commerce generated by the local cattle raising. It has about 30,000 inhabitants, and is adjacent to the municipalities of Pinillos and San Fernando.
The Colegio de Santa Cruz in Tlatelolco, Mexico City, is the first and oldest European school of higher learning in the Americas and the first major school of interpreters and translators in the New World. It was established by the Franciscans on January 6, 1536 with the intention, as is generally accepted, of preparing Native American boys for eventual ordination to the Catholic priesthood. Students trained in the Colegio were important contributors to the work of Franciscan Bernardino de Sahagún in the creation of his monumental twelve-volume General History of the Things of New Spain, often referred to as the Florentine Codex. The failure of the Colegio had long-lasting consequences, with scholar Robert Ricard saying that "[h]ad the College of Tlatelolco given the country even one [native] bishop, the history of the Mexican Church might have been profoundly changed."
Ciudad Colonial is the historic central neighborhood of Santo Domingo and the oldest permanent European settlement of the Americas. It has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It is also known as Zona Colonial or more colloquially as "La Zona". The Ciudad Colonial is located on the west bank of the Ozama River, which bisects the city. It covers 1.06 km2 (0.41 sq mi) bounded by a walled perimeter.
Tlatelolco is an area now within the Cuauhtémoc borough of Mexico City, centered on the Plaza de las Tres Culturas. Its archeological history extends to remains from the 15th and 16th centuries, as well as more recent colonial structures.
The Ozama Fortress was built in 1502 by the Spanish at the entrance to Santo Domingo's Ciudad Colonial, Dominican Republic, and overlooking the Ozama River. Named after this river, the castle, also referred to as "La Fortaleza" or "The Fortress". It was declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, together with the other historical monuments of the Ciudad Colonial.
The Cathedral of Santa María la Menor in the Colonial City of Santo Domingo is dedicated to St. Mary of the Incarnation. It is the oldest cathedral in the Americas, begun in 1514 and completed in 1541. It is the Cathedral of the Archbishop of Santo Domingo who has the honorary title of Primate of the Americas because this cathedral was the first Catholic diocese and the oldest cathedral established in the New World.
The Museo de las Casas Reales is one of the important cultural monuments built during the colonial era in Hispaniola, now the Dominican Republic. It is located in the Colonial district of Santo Domingo.
Many of Mexico's older architectural structures, including entire sections of Pre-Hispanic and colonial cities, have been designated World Heritage sites for their historical and artistic significance. The country has the largest number of sites declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO in the Americas.
The Spanish Colonial Fortifications of the Philippines are strongholds constructed by Filipinos and Spanish under the rule of the Spaniards in the Philippines for protection against local and foreign aggressors during the Spanish Colonial Period. The fortifications were also used during the American and Japanese occupation eras. Many of the fortifications have been bady damaged, either due to old age or conflicts in the past. Currently, there has been initiatives to restore all Spanish fortifications throughout the Philippines. The initiative began when the Baluarte Luna of La Union and the Intramuros of Manila were restored in the 2010s. In 2013, a typhoon and earthquake hit Central Visayas and damaged numerous Spanish fortifications. This led to the largest restoration activity for fortifications in Philippine history.
Today a preserved ruin, it is recognized by the UNESCO for being the oldest hospital built in the Americas, the Hospital San Nicolás de Bari was constructed in 1503, in Santo Domingo, Dominican republic, at the behest of governor Nicolás de Ovando. This grand project was in keeping with the desire to emulate European princely courts, and looked to Renaissance Italy for inspiration. At the time of its completion, the wards could accommodate up to 70 patients, comparable to the most advanced churches of Rome. It is likely that the model for the Hospital de San Nicolás was the large Hospital of Sancto Spiritu in Rome. The complex forms part of the Colonial Zone of Santo Domingo World Heritage Site.
The Biblioteca Palafoxiana is a library in Puebla City's historic centre, in the Mexican state of Puebla. Founded in 1646, it is recognized by the UNESCO for being the first and oldest public library in the Americas, It has more than 45,000 books and manuscripts, ranging from the 15th to the 20th century. In 2005, it was listed on UNESCO's Memory of the World Register.
The historic centre of Puebla was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1987.