Ruined City of Taxila (World Heritage)

By | August 20, 2021

Taxila is the most important North Pakistani archaeological site, where three city complexes came to light. The oldest, Saraikala, dates from the 6th century BC. It was built in 326 BC. Conquered by Alexander the Great. It was followed by Sirkap in the 2nd century BC. BC and Sirsukh in the 2nd century AD. In the taxi area, Greek and Indian influences mixed, from which the Gandhara culture developed.

Ruined city of Taxila: facts

Official title: Taxila ruined city
Cultural monument: most important north Pakistani archaeological site with three city complexes from the 6th century BC BC (Bhir Mound), the 2nd century BC. BC (Sirkap) and the 2nd century (Sirsukh); i.a. Uncovered building remains in Sirkap, a city with a chessboard-like network of streets, including the royal palace, the shrine with the double-headed eagle, the apse temple with a 70×40 m courtyard
Continent: Asia
Country: Pakistan, Punjab
Location: Taxila, northwest of Rawalpindi
Appointment: 1980
Meaning: Center of the Gandhara culture

Taxila Ruined City: History

518 BC Chr. Entry of the Persian king Darius I into Bhir Mound
327 BC Chr. Conquest by the army of Alexander the Great
2nd century BC Chr. Founding of the city of Sirkap, which is surrounded by a 5 km long wall, by the Bactrian Greeks
30 AD Destruction of Sirkap by earthquake, reconstruction under the Parthian king Gondophares
1./2. Century by order of the Kushana ruler Wima Kadphises founding of Sirsukh
2nd century Center of Mahayana Buddhism
5th century Invasion of the Huns

Hidden in the ground

No enemy should ever victorious in the new city, and so they fortified their builders in the most ingenious ways imaginable. The Central Asian Kushana clan laid Sirsukh in the valley of Taxila so cleverly that the rivers and mountains were given a natural protective function. Planned on an irregular rectangular ground plan, the foundation was also given a massive wall with round bastions. Despite all efforts, Sirsukh met the same fate in the 3rd century as the Central Asian conquerors had planned for the city of Sirkap, built by the Bactrian Greeks two centuries earlier. Persian Sassanids razed the proud Sirsukh to the ground.

Sirsukh’s ruined landscape, with the submerged cities of Bhir Mound and Sirkap, is one of the most impressive places in this remote part of the Punjab. Usually called »Taxila«, the most important archaeological excavation sites in Asia are located near the former Great Trunk Road. Their finds go back to the Middle Stone Age; Buddhist temples, houses of prayer and Koran schools make it clear that Taxila was continuously inhabited from the 5th century before the turn of the era until the early Middle Ages.

Bhir Mound was probably the oldest city to be founded during the reign of the ancient Persian Achaemenid dynasty. How carefully they had already planned the development is still evident today. Wide squares were laid out between the eastern residential areas. To avoid epidemics, the builders created septic tanks to remove the sewage; Waste was collected at central points. The buildings, which are located at busy intersections, have stone pillars at the corners so that they are not damaged by carts. Located at the intersection of two large axes, the remains of a building rise that – planned on a half-octagonal floor plan – presumably served as the administrative headquarters.

In the west of Bhir Mound there are the ruins of a monument that used to be decorated with relief representations. Near the building known as the temple, works have been found depicting deities and suggesting that there was a shrine there. Sirkap, whose Greek-Bactrian city plan on a chessboard plan later also inspired the builders of Sirsukh, consisted of regular building blocks. The remains excavated so far must, however, be assigned to the Parthians who later moved to Taxila from Persia. When they rebuilt their city after an earthquake, they replaced the building walls made of rubble stones with processed stones in order to improve the stability of the houses. The systematic spread of the Buddhist religion did not begin until the arrival of the Kushana, Buddhist places of worship existed in the Taxila Valley before. Stucco acanthus vines adorn the surface of a stupa near Sirkap. In the middle of a walled courtyard rises a temple consisting of a vestibule, nave and apse.

Named after the symbolic animal of the Kuschana, the “shrine of the double-headed eagle” has a considerable variety of styles. Bengali pointed arches alternate with Greek decorative gables and Toranas – gates with two upwardly curved beams. According to historyaah, one of the mightiest and most ornate stupas in Pakistan is located in the Dharmarajika Monastery, the sanctuary of which was set on a pedestal. While the Jaulian monastery kept statues of the enlightened in meditation posture, the Jandial temple is an example of the type of construction of the Greek ring hall temple. There is no doubt that the earth still holds enormous treasures. However, further excavations are practically impossible. Because Taxila is located near an armaments factory and is therefore in a security zone where foreigners are not welcome.

Ruined City of Taxila (World Heritage)