Pakistan is home to several ancient civilization, some of them date back to 10,000 BC. Magnificence of ancient cultures and their way of living can still be observed in the ruins that can be found at many sites in the country. There are number of places in Pakistan that are of great interest to archaeologists who study how life once used to be in ancient times. There are several such historically important sites that are thousands of year old, some of the most prominent world heritage and archaeological sites in Pakistan are listed here.

1. Mohenjo Daro

Mohenjo-daro means Mound of the Dead in Sindhi. Its ancient name is Kukkutarma. It is located in Larkana District of Sindh. Built in 3,000 BC, it used to be one of the largest cities of ancient Indus Valley Civilization a.k.a Harappan Civilization. Estimates of the area covered by the city range from 85 to 200 hectares. Dancing Girl, Priest-King, Seven-stranded Mohenjo-daro necklace are some of the oldest statues found here that date as back as 4,500 BC. The ruins of the city remained undocumented for over 3,700 years, until their discovery in 1922.

2. Taxila

Taxila used to be the center of Gandhara Civilization that is also found in the archeological sites spread over Taxila and Swat. This civilization is 3,000 years old. Taxila had attracted Alexander the great from Macedonia in 326 BC, with whom the influence of Greek culture came to this part of the world. During the year 2 BC, Buddhism was adopted as the state religion, which flourished and prevailed for over 1,000 years, until the year 10 AD.

3. Takht-i-Bahi

Takht-i-Bhai is another well-known and preserved monument, a Buddhist monastery located on a rocky ridge about 10 miles northeast of Mardan. It was founded in the early 1st century BC. Explorations and excavations on this site began in 1864. The complex has central courtyard, monastic chambers, assembly halls and dining areas. A significant number of objects from the site can be found in the British Museum.

4. Makli

Makli is is a large ancient cemetery with elaborated tomb monuments that spreads over 8 kilometers and is the burial place of some 125,000 local rulers, Sufi saints and others. The capital of three successive dynasties and later ruled by the Mughal emperors of Delhi, Thatta was constantly embellished from the 14th to the 18th century.

5. Fort Rohtas

It was built by Sher Shah Suri in the 16th century and is now located in Jhelum. The Rohtas fort was built to crush the local tribes of Potohar, who rebelled against the Sur dynasty. It took 8 years to built the Rohtas fort. he main fortifications consist of the massive walls, which extend for more than 4 km; they are lined with bastions and pierced by 12 monumental gateways. Rohtas Fort, a.k.a Qila Rohtas, is an exceptional example of early Muslim military architecture in Central and South Asia.

6. Katasraj temple

Katasraj temple site is a group of seven ancient templates, a few medieval templates, havelis, holy pond and remains of a Buddhist stupa. The smaller temples, built in pairs around the larger central temple, were built around 900 years or so ago, although the earliest of them dates back to the latter half of the 6th century AD.

7. Ranigat

Ranigat means 'Queen's Rock'. This archaeological site is located in Totalai in the Buner District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Ranigat is a 2500 year old Buddhist archaeological site belonging to the Gandhara civilization and is a good evidence of the Buddhist past of the area. The main attractions include; Stupas, monasteries, drainage systems and a big rock erected by the ancient people at some distance that they probably used to worship.

8. Rehman Dheri

Rehman Dheri is a pre-Harappan archaeological site that is located near Dera Ismail Khan in KPK. This is one of the oldest civilization in South Asia that dates about 4000 BC.

9. Mangla Fort & Ramkot Fort

Mangla Fort (left), named after Mangla Devi, the daughter of King Porus, is situated on the hill of Mangla Dam lake. The fort dates back to times before Christ. The fort is almost at the same place  from where Alexander the Great crossed the Jhelum River. Ramkot Fort (right) nearby the Mangla Fort is yet another forgotten and generally unexplored fort on the banks of Mangla Fort. Built on the site of an old Hindu Shiva temple, the fort was built by the Muslim rulers of Kashmir in safeguarding their boundaries.

10. Kafirkot

Kafir Kot is located near Dera Ismail Khan District. Its an ancient Hindu Civilization. The ruin consists of two forts in the north-west of the district on small hills attached to the lower spurs of the Khasor Range, and overlooking the Indus River. Their main features are an outer defensive wall, consisting of rough blocks of stone, some of great size, and various groups of buildings resembling small Hindu temples and more or less carved.

11. Harappa

This archaeological site located near Sahiwal City. Harappa and the city of Mohenjo-Daro were the greatest achievements of the Indus valley civilization. These cities are well known for their impressive, organized and regular layout. It dates back about 6000 BC.


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