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There are 6 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Pakistan. All 6 of these sites are listed under the Cultural category.
Pakistan UNESCO Sites
- Archaeological Ruins at Moenjodaro (1980)
- Buddhist Ruins of Takht-i-Bahi and Neighbouring City Remains at Sahr-i-Bahlol (1980)
- Fort and Shalamar Gardens in Lahore (1981)
- Historical Monuments of Thatta (1981)
- Rohtas Fort (1997)
- Taxila (1980)
Archaeological Ruins at Moenjodaro (1980)
The first entry into the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Pakistan is a cultural site: Archaeological Ruins at Moenjodaro. This archaeological site is located in Sindh Province, Pakistan. This site was originally built in 2500 BCE and is one of the largest settlements from the Indus Valley Civilization. This ancient city is one of the major early cities in Pakistan that arose in about the same time as ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia.
Along with the decline of the Indus Valley Civilization, this settlement area was abandoned in 19th century BCE. There have been plenty of excavations done at the site since it was rediscovered in 1920s. However, the site has been threatened due to improper restoration and erosion at the site.
Buddhist Ruins of Takht-i-Bahi and Neighbouring City Remains at Sahr-i-Bahlol (1980)
The Buddhist Ruins of Takht-i-Bahi and Neighbouring City Remains at Sahr-i-Bahlol was inscribed into the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Pakistan. This site consists of the ruins of a Buddhist monastery and a Buddhist city.
Within this site, you will find ruins of chapels, stupas and other structures that date back to the 1st century CE. The site is considered as one of the best examples of a Buddhist monastic architecture in this particular era. The site was rediscovered in the early 1900s.
Fort and Shalamar Gardens in Lahore (1981)
Inscribed in 1981 into the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Pakistan, the Fort and Shalamar Gardens are considered as important secular structures from the Mughal civilization. The Lahore Fort comprises of 21 monumental sites that are spread throughout 20 hectares of land. The origins of the fort can be dated back to antiquity but the base structure of the fort was built in the mid-16th century.
The second component of the site is the Shalamar Gardens. This Persian-style garden has been around since 1641 AD. The design of the garden is elaborate as it is composed of three descending terraces. A special canal was constructed in order to irrigate this garden.
Historical Monuments of Thatta (1981)
The Historical Monuments of Thatta is an archaeological site added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Pakistan in 1981. Thatta served as an ancient capital of Sind and was the heart of the Islamic art landscape. In the early 18th century, the capital moved from Thatta to elsewhere and this saw a decline in the on the legacy of the site.
Within this site, you will find Makli Hill, one of the world’s largest necropolises. Other notable monuments include tombs of Jam Nizamuddin, Isa Khan Tarkhan the Younger, Jan Baba and Diwan Shurfa Khan.
Rohtas Fort (1997)
This 16th century fortress in the city of Jhelum was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Pakistan in 1997. The fortress was constructed in 1541 in an effort to subdue rebellion from tribes of the Potohar region. Thankfully, it was never stormed in and most of the structure has remained intact. The monumental gateways and large defensive walls are among the distinctive features of this fort.
When this fort was added by UNESCO, it was cited as an exemplary showcase of Muslim military architecture, which is the best of its kind in South Asia.
Taxila completes this list of UNESCO sites in Pakistan. It is an important archaeological site in Punjab, Pakistan. The origin of ancient Taxila can be traced back to c. 1000 BCE. There are plenty of ruins that are found within this archaeological site with some part of the Achaemenid Empire from the 6th century BCE.
The strategic location of Taxila can also be attributed to its prosperity during the ancient times. It was under the control of many empires throughout its history. The great ancient trade routes were also interlinked with this region. In the mid-17th century, the site was rediscovered by archaeologist Sir Alexander Cunningham. A 2010 report cited that this world heritage site was on the verge of damage and irreparable losses. Some of the threats to the site included war, conflict, developmental pressure, and insufficient management.