World Heritage Sites

TAKHT BAHI, MARDAN Archaeological ruins of Takht bhai and Seri Bhalol are situated in district Mardan-KPK. Archaeological ruins of the site are one of the well preserved Buddhist sites in Pakistan. Buddhist Stupa and Monastic complex of Takht e Bhai is situated on the kneel of mountain, which is an attractive locationfor erecting stupas and monasteries in past. Monastic complex of Takht e Bhai was established in 1st Century BC and remained prosper till 7th Century AC. It went through the various states of renovations and expansion during this long period and remained icon of attraction for the Buddhist people. Scythians, Partian, Khushans Sassanian and little Kushan had extended vigorous patronage to this Heritage complex and greatly contributed in the spread of Buddhism and development of monastic complexes in the region.
 
The site of Takht e Bhai and Sari Bhalol inscribed on world Heritage List of UNESCO in 1980.
ARCHAEOLOGICAL RUINS AT TAXILA Taxila, located in the Rawalpindi district of Pakistan’s Punjab province, is a vast serial site that includes a Mesolithic cave and the archaeological remains of four early settlement sites, Buddhist monasteries, and a Muslim mosque and madrassa. Situated strategically on a branch of the Silk Road that linked China to the West, Taxila reached its apogee between the 1st and 5th centuries. It is now one of the most important archaeological sites in Asia. The ruins of the four settlement sites at Taxila reveal the pattern of urban evolution on the Indian subcontinent through more than five centuries. One of these sites, the Bihr mound, is associated with the historic event of the triumphant entry of Alexander the Great into Taxila.The archaeological sites of Saraikala, Bhir, Sirkap, and Sirsukh are collectively of unique importance in illustrating the evolution of urban settlement on the Indian subcontinent. The prehistoric mound of Saraikala represents the earliest settlement of Taxila, with evidence of Neolithic, Bronze Age, and Iron Age occupation. The Bhir mound is the earliest historic city of Taxila, and was probably founded in the 6th century BC by the Achaemenians. Its stone walls, house foundations, and winding streets represent the earliest forms of urbanization on the subcontinent. Bihr is also associated with Alexander the Great’s triumphant entry into Taxila in 326 BC. Sirkap was a fortified city founded during the mid-2nd century BC. The many private houses, stupas, and temples were laid out on the Hellenistic grid system and show the strong Western classical influence on local architecture. The city was destroyed in the 1st century by the Kushans, a Central Asian tribe. To the north, excavations of the ruins of the Kushan city of Sirsukh have brought to light an irregular rectangle of walls in ashlar masonry, with rounded bastions. These walls attest to the early influence of Central Asian architectural forms on those of the subcontinent.
 
The site of Taxila was inscribed on world Heritage List of UNESCO in 1980.
ARCHAEOLOGICAL RUINS AT MOENJODARO The Archaeological Ruins at Moenjodaro are the best preserved urban settlement in South Asia dating back to the beginning of the 3rd millennium BC, and exercised a considerable influence on the subsequent development of urbanization. The archaeological ruins are located on the right bank of the Indus River, 510 km north-east from Karachi, and 28 km from Larkana city, Larkana District in Pakistan’s Sindh Province. The property represents the metropolis of Indus civilization, which flourished between 2,500-1,500 BC in the Indus valley and is one of the world’s three great ancient civilizations. The discovery of Moenjodaro in 1922 revealed evidence of the customs, art, religion and administrative abilities of its inhabitants. The well planned city mostly built with baked bricks and having public baths; a college of priests; an elaborate drainage system; wells, soak pits for disposal of sewage, and a large granary, bears testimony that it was a metropolis of great importance, enjoying a well organized civic, economic, social and cultural system. Moenjodaro comprises two sectors: a citadel area in the west where the Buddhist stupa was constructed with unbaked brick over the ruins of Moenjodaro in the 2nd century AD, and to the east, the lower city ruins spread out along the banks of the Indus. Here buildings are laid out along streets intersecting each other at right angles, in a highly orderly form of city planning that also incorporated systems of sanitation and drainage.
 
The site of Moenjodaro was inscribed on world Heritage List of UNESCO in 1980.
HISTORICAL MONUMENTS AT MAKLI, THATTA Near the apex of the delta of the Indus River in Pakistan’s southern province of Sindh is an enormous cemetery possessing half a million tombs and graves in an area of about 10 km2. Massed at the edge of the 6.5 km-long plateau of Makli Hill, the necropolis of Makli – which was associated with the nearby city of Thatta, once a capital and centre of Islamic culture – testifies in an outstanding manner to the civilization of the Sindh from the 14th to the 18th centuries. The vast necropolis of Makli is among the largest in the world. Kings, queens, governors, saints, scholars, and philosophers are buried here in brick or stone monuments, some of which are lavishly decorated with glazed tiles. Among the outstanding monuments constructed in stone are the tombs of Jam Nizamuddin II, who reigned from 1461 to 1509, and of lsa Khan Tarkhan the Younger and of his father, Jan Baba, both of whose mausolea were constructed before 1644. The most colourful is that of Diwan Shurfa Khan (died in 1638). The unique assemblage of massive structures presents an impressive order of monumental buildings in different architectural styles. These structures are notable for their fusion of diverse influences into a local style. These influences include, among others, Hindu architecture of the Gujrat style and Mughal imperial architecture. Distant Persian and Asian examples of architectural terra-cotta were also brought to Makli and adapted. An original concept of stone decoration was created at Makli, perhaps determined by the imitation of painted and glazed tile models. The historical monuments at the necropolis of Makli stand as eloquent testimonies to the social and political history of the Sindh.
 
The Makli Hill Monument was inscribed on world Heritage List of UNESCO in 1981.
FORT AND SHALAMAR GARDEN, LAHORE  The inscribed property includes two distinct royal complexes, the Lahore Fort and the Shalimar Gardens, both located in the City of Lahore, at a distance of 7 km. from each other. The two complexes – one characterized by monumental structures and the other by extensive water gardens - are outstanding examples of Mughal artistic expression at its height, as it evolved during the 16th and 17th centuries. The Mughal civilisation, a fusion of Islamic, Persian, Hindu and Mongol sources (from whence the name Mughal derives) dominated the Indian subcontinent for several centuries and strongly influenced its subsequent development. The Lahore Fort, situated in the north-west corner of the Walled City of Lahore, occupies a site which has been occupied for several millenia. Assuming its present configuration during the 11th century, the Fort was destroyed and rebuilt several times by the early Mughals during the 13th to the 15th centuries. The 21 monuments which survive within its boundaries comprise an outstanding repertory of the forms of Mughal architecture from the reign of Akbar (1542-1605), characterized by standardized masonry of baked brick and red sandstone courses relieved by Hindu motifs including zooomorphic corbels, through that of Shah Jahan (1627-58), characterized by the use of luxurious marbles, inlays of precious materials and mosaics, set within exuberant decorative motifs of Persian origins.
 
The Fort and Shalimar Garden was inscribed on world Heritage List of UNESCO in 1981.
ROHTAS FORT, JHELUM  Rohtas Fort, built in the 16th century at a strategic site in the north of Pakistan, Province of Punjab, is an exceptional example of early Muslim military architecture in central and south Asia. The main fortifications of this 70-hectare garrison consist of massive masonry walls more than four kilometres in circumference, lined with 68 bastions and pierced at strategic points by 12 monumental gateways. A blend of architectural and artistic traditions from elsewhere in the Islamic world, the fort had a profound influence on the development of architectural style in the Mughal Empire. Sher Sha Suri, founder of the Suri dynasty, commenced construction of Rohtas Fort (also called Qila Rohtas) in 1541. Irregular in plan, this early example of Muslim military architecture follows the contours of its hilltop site. An interior wall partitions the inner citadel from the remainder of the fort, and an internal water supply in the form of baolis (stepped wells) gave the fort’s garrison self-sufficiency in water. A beautiful mosque known as Shahi Masjid is situated near the Kabuli Gate, and the Haveli (Palatial House) Man Singh was constructed later in the Mughal period. Rohtas Fort represented a new form of fortification, based essentially on Turkish military architecture developed in reaction to the introduction of gunpowder and cannon, but transformed into a distinct style of its own. Rohtas Fort blended architectural and artistic traditions from Turkey and the Indian subcontinent, thereby creating the model for Mughal architecture and its subsequent refinements and adaptations (including the European colonial architecture that made abundant use of that tradition). Most noteworthy are the sophistication and high artistic value of its decorative elements, notably its high- and low-relief carvings, its calligraphic inscriptions in marble and sandstone, its plaster decoration, and its glazed tiles.
 
The Rohtas Fort was inscribed on world Heritage List of UNESCO in 1997.