Pakistan – Seat of 2000 Years Old Civilisations and World Heritage Sites
World heritage sites are pieces of lands that have cultural, historical and scientific importance and UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) selects such landmarks in order to protect ancient heritage and cultural value.
Pakistan is not only a country with a great range of beauty and culture but it also contains some highly valuable heritage places which are included by UNESCO in world heritage sites list. These places include 6 sites:
- Mohenjo daro
- Lahore fort and Shalimar gardens
- Rohtas fort
- Monuments at Makli, Thatta
1. Mohenjo daro
Mohenjo daro is one of those world heritage sites which gained international interest after its discovery. It is located in the Sindh province of Pakistan. Mohenjo daro is the ancient city of Indus Valley Civilization and was first discovered in 1922. UNESCO designated this city as a world heritage site in 1980. This ancient settlement tends to have many major buildings, fortifications, and water supplies.
Taxila is an archaeological site which is situated in Punjab province. A modern city with the same name still exists there. This city had great significance in ancient times as it was a junction of two regions, i-e, South Asia and Central Asia. This region has been ruled by several empires because of its strategic importance in terms of trade between two regions. In 1980 Taxila was included in the world heritage site list by UNESCO after the discovery of its ruins in the 19th century. Taxila had a series of monuments and historical notable places including Bhir mound, Sirkab, Sirsukh, and others.
In 1980 UNESCO added one more piece of the landmark in world heritage sites list named Takht-i-Bahi. It is one of the most exceptionally well-preserved and it is situated in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. This site implicit the relics of Buddhism as it was under Buddhist monastery for a long period. Takht-i-Bahi was a complex which had 4 main areas ;
- Stupa court
- Monastic chambers
- Temple complex
- Tantric monastic complex
4. Lahore Fort and Shalimar Gardens
Lahore fort and Shalimar garden are the two milestones from the Mughal era which are selected by UNESCO as a world heritage site. The architect of fort simply presents the height of Mughal Empire while Shalimar gardens are also the example of their greatness in 16th and 17th century. Fort has been reconstructed many times by Mughals during the 13th to 15th centuries. Lahore fort contains 21 monuments inside its boundary which exhibits the artistic picture of Mughal emperors.
However, Shalimar Garden is situated at a distance of 7 km from the fort and it was constructed by Shah Jahan in 1642. This Mughal garden is characterized by walls, different paths of layout and huge expanses of flowing water. Shalimar garden is located over an area of 16 hectares and contains three descending terraces from south to north. Both complexes are well preserved and well managed and can be seen as it is.
5. Rohtas fort
Rohtas fort is another example of a Muslim military architect in South Asia and was included in the UNESCO heritage sites list in 1997 because of strategic significance attached to it. This fort was constructed by Sher Shah Suri in 1541when Mughal Emperor Humayun got defeated. This fort has large defensive walls and several monument gateways. This fort has never been stormed by force and has kept intact remarkably.
6. Monuments at Makli ,Thatta
The monuments of Makli, thatta are a significant heritage site as Sindh capital and it reflects the art of Islamic dynasties as well. From the 14th century this place was ruled by Muslim emperors but in 1739, this place declined with the shift of capital.
This site covers one of the large necropolises in the world named Makli hills. It had some notable monuments includes;
- Tomb of Jam Nizamuddin
- Tomb of Isa Khan Tarkhan the Younger
- Tomb of Jan Baba
- Tomb of Diwan Shurfa Khan