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Don’t just read about the glories of the past: surround yourself with them! World Heritage natural sites are recognized as having “outstanding universal value. Check out these historical sites that you simply need to see. Pakistan is a country that is absolutely a gem for tourists. The main reason is that it has got a flavor for all types of tourists and beautiful locations, mountains, landscapes, large cities and the historic places that can be witnessed here. The historical places in Pakistan dominate the entire arena because of its rich history and one of the oldest civilizations of this world had lived where Pakistan stands today.
1. Mohenjo-Daro (Sindh)
Mohenjo-Daro is probably the most attractive historic place in the country which is famous all over the world. It is part of the Larkana District of the province of Sindh and is at the right bank of the mighty River Indus. The archaeological ruins of the place take us back into history till 3000 B.C. So, this makes it a 5000 years old city which is the oldest civilization known to man after the Chinese. It was also the urbanized and the largest civilization in South Asia. They were first discovered in the year 1922 but, it was the year 1965 when significant excavations were completed. Now, people come from all over the places to witness this historic site. It was inscribed as a place of cultural significance by UNESCO in 1980.
2. Lahore Fort and the Shalamar Gardens (Punjab)
These places in Lahore tell about the charismatic approach of the Mughal dynasty when it comes to making some really attention-grabbing beautiful constructions. They both are distinct places and the royal complexes of the unforgettable Mughal era. The Fort is very prominently located in the northwest part of the Lahore city which has been renovated several times throughout its history. The Shalamar Gardens on the other side is the Royal Mughal garden with beautiful lawns, fountains, and construction. It was built by Shahjahan (the 5th Mughal emperor) in the year 1642. UNESCO inscribed them in 1981.
3. Makli (Sindh)
Makli is actually a necropolis in the famous and historic city of Thatta. The history of Makli dates back to the 14th century. People flock here from different parts of the country and even from outside Pakistan for witnessing the amazing mausoleums and the monuments in the country. The best thing about the place is that it is built with the use of some really top-quality stone, glazed tiles and the bricks which represent the actual Sindh civilization of the time. UNESCO inscribed them in 1981.
4. Takht-i-Bahi (KPK)
The literal meaning of Takht-i-Bahi is the ‘spring throne’ which refers to the monastic complex of the Buddhists dating back to the 1st century BC. It is situated right up a 152 m hill and the place is about 16 km from Mardan city and some 80 odd km from the Peshawar city. It has four major parts which are its Stupas courts, monastic complex, tantric complex and a temple complex. UNESCO inscribed them in 1980.
5. Taxila (Punjab)
Taxila is a great archaeological site that is very much approachable and nearby the capital city of Pakistan, Islamabad. It is also UNESCO designated World Heritage site in 1980. The history of this city takes us back to the Gandhara period and now it holds the ruins of that civilization dating back 5th to 2nd Century B.C. It used to be a very critical place in the history of the Hindus and the Buddhists. Further, it still is a great place for visitors and also sacred for the people who follow Hinduism or Buddhism traditions.
6. Minar-e-Pakistan, Lahore (Punjab)
The literal meaning of Minar-e-Pakistan is the ‘Tower of Pakistan’. It is situated right at the heart of Lahore city and it took about 8 years to complete in the year 1968. The history of this place is that the famous Lahore resolution in the year 1940 was passed at this location by the founder of Pakistan, Quaid-e-Azam. It has huge gardens all around it and has become one of the finest historic tourist spots of Pakistan.
7. Rohtas Fort (Punjab)
This UNESCO protected world heritage site (inscribed in 1997) was built by Afghan king Farid Khan, also known as Sher Shah Suri in the 16th century. The Afghan-Persian architectural layout of the fort took eight years to build. This fort was actually built as a garrison by the then ruler of the area. It is located near Jhelum, Punjab at a distance of just about 15 km. This fort is loved by all because of its exceptional architecture and apart from this it also beautifully reflects the Islamic architecture of the military. It was built with the help of architectural intelligence of the designers from the Indian subcontinent and Turkey. It has a very strategic location on top of the hill which gave the then army a good chance to protect themselves against the Ghakkars.
8. Badshahi Mosque (Punjab)
The Great Badshahi Mosque is one of the oldest mosques of the region which was built in the Mughal era by the Great Emperor Aurangzeb. It was constructed in the year 1671 and today it is the second-largest mosque in the country after Shah Faisal Mosque. It can accommodate as much as 100,000 worshipers at a time when all its halls and courtyards are occupied. It was till 1986, that this historic mosque was known as the largest mosque in the world. But, with Shah Faisal Masjid and several other mosques in the entire world were constructed which were bigger than this one. But, that doesn’t take away any credit from this mosque as it is still one of the most frequently visited historical places in Pakistan.
9. Quaid’s Residency (Balochistan)
Quaid’s Residency is the last place where the great leader Jinnah spent the last few months of his life. It is located in Ziarat which is a picturesque hill station some 3 hours’ drive from the Quetta city of Balochistan province. It has historic relevance for the entire nation as the ailing Quaid was recommended by his doctors to live in a peaceful area such as Ziarat. It was because of the fresh mountain air and the fragrance of the place which convinced Jinnah to live here.
10. Islamia College (KPK)
Islamia College is located in the historic city of Peshawar and it was established by Nawab Abdul Qayyum and George Kepel. It has great historical relevance as the idea here was to develop not only an educational building but also to give a platform for boosting the much-needed political activities of the time. It is still in Peshawar and serving students with all the modern knowledge of the time. During the independence movement for Pakistan, Jinnah thrice visited this college to encourage the youth.
11. Ranikot Fort (Sindh)
Ranikot Fort is a historical Talpur fort near Sann, Jamshoro District, Sindh, Pakistan. Ranikot Fort is also known as The Great Wall of Sindh and is believed to be the world’s largest fort, with a circumference of approximately 32 kilometers. The fort’s ramparts have been compared to the Great Wall of China.
The site was nominated in 1993 by the Pakistan National Commission for UNESCO world heritage status and has since been on the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The fort is listed as a historical site under the Antiquities Act, 1975 and its subsequent amendments, and is provided protection. Ranikot Fort is 90 kilometers to the north of Hyderabad on the national highway. There is also easy access to about an hour’s journey from Karachi to Sann on the Indus Highway. A diversion road, starting a little distance away from Sann, the nearest town, leads to the fort along a rugged 21 kilometers road and reaches the eastern gate of the fort, known as Sann Gate. Sann is a rail-head on the Kotri-Larkana line of the Pakistan Railway. It is inside the Kirthar National Park, the second-largest national park in Pakistan.
The original purpose and architects of Ranikot Fort are unknown. It was formerly believed that the fort was built during the regimes of the Sassanians, the Scythians, the Parthians or the Bactrian Greeks, however, more recent evidence shows that the fort originated under the Talpurs.
Archaeologists point to the 17th century as the time of its first construction but Sindh archaeologists now agree that some of the present structures were reconstructed by Talpurs in 1812 at a cost of 1.2 million rupees. The battlements of Ranikot formed the last capital of the Amirs of Sindh when they were brought under the colonial rule of the British Empire. Radiocarbon tests were conducted at the Sann Gate on the charcoal embedded in the mortar of a collapsed pillar of the eastern gate of the fort. These tests have confirmed that this gate was probably renovated between the early part of the 18th century and the early part of the 19th century, prior to Britain invading the fort when the Kalhoras, or most likely the Talpur Mirs of Sindh ruled over the area.
The fort is huge, connecting several bleak mountains of the Kirthar hills along contours, and measures 31 kilometers in length. The fort’s wall is interspersed with several bastions, and three are of semi-circular shape. The northern part of the fort’s perimeter is a natural high hilly formation while on the other three sides it is covered by fort walls. Within this main fort, there is a smaller fort known as the “Miri Fort” which is about 3 km from the Sann gate and is reported to have served as the palace of the Mir royal family. The entire fort structure has been built with stone and lime mortar. The fort is built in a zig-zag form, with four entry gates in the shape of a rhomboid. The four gates are namely: Sann Gate, Amri Gate, Shah-Pere Gate, and Mohan Gate. Two of the gates, facing each is crossed diagonally by the Sann river; the first gate is on the western side and is skirted by the river water and is difficult to approach. The southern entry gate has a double doors gate. Within the gates, there are two niches that have floral ornamentation and carved stones.
Ancient Architectural Carving on the walls of Rani Kort
The Sann gate is well preserved and can be climbed to reach the top of the fort from both sides to get a scenic view of the terrain around the fort. This gate is also the entrance to the Meeri.
12. Mansehra Rock Edicts
Mansehra Rock Edicts are fourteen edicts of the Mauryan emperor Ashoka, inscribed on rocks in Mansehra in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. The edicts are cut into three boulders and date back to 3rd century BC and they are written in the ancient script of Gandhara culture, Kharosthi.