Here are some of the important pre-Islamic historical sites in Pakistan.
Located near Bolan Pass in Balochistan, Mehrgarh is considered among the earliest settled sites where farming was practiced. Mehrgarh was inhabited from approximately 6500 BCE, around 8500 years ago.
Discovered in 1974, tens of thousands of artifacts have been recovered from the site. It is also considered as precursor the much-known Indus Valley Civilisation. Archaeologists disagree if the practice of farming displayed at Mehrgarh was indigenous or adapted from other cultures.
Close to: Dhadar, Kacchi Plain.
The ancient site of Harappa is 30 to 45 minutes drive away from Sahiwal and is considered a major archaeological site in Pakistan. The city of Harappa was inhabited from approximately 2600 BCE (4600 years ago) and is among the earliest settlements with a complex social system. The site was discovered by the British during construction of the Lahore-Multan railroad in 1857 but its significance was only revealed in the 1920’s. Harappa was among the largest settlements in the world at the time with roughly close to 24,000 people living in a 370-acre area.
In 2005, authorities halted the development of an amusement part close to the city after artifacts were unearthed during construction process, suggesting that a considerable portion of the city has not yet been excavated.
The site of Amri, located close to Hyderabad in Sindh is approximately 5400 years old (3600 BCE).
Mohenjo- Daro (Sindh)
Mohenjo-Daro is among the most famous archaeological sites in the world as it is counted among the earliest cities in the history of humanity. As such, Mohenjo- Daro has been declared a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO. The city is estimated to have been built around 4500 years ago (2500 BCE). The city is also well-known for its planned layout and buildings built with fired bricks, an innovation at the time.
Close to: Larkana.
Takht-e-Bahi (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa)
The Takht-e-Bahi is an ancient site located close to Mardan, KP and was a Buddhist monastery approximately 2000 years ago. Takht-e-Bahi has also been declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Taxila (Dharmarajika Stupa & Jaulian Monastery), Punjab
The Dharmarajika Stupa, located in Taxila, is approximately 1800 years old. Bone fragments discovered at the site during excavation are believed to be those of the Buddha. Some of the artifacts were taken to Sri Lanka in 2016 for a tour. The Sri Lankan prime minister and approximately 9 million people visited to see the artifacts. Dharmarajika Stupa was also declared a World Heritage Site. The Dharmarajika Stupa was established by Mauryan Emperor Ashoka.
World’s first University
The Jaulian Monastery is located in Haripur District, KP and is 1800 years old. Also a World Heritage Site.
It is believed to be a part of the world’s first university.
Mankiala Stupa, Punjab
Approximately 1800 years old, the site was built to commemorate Prince Sattva sacrificing parts of his body to feed seven hungry tiger cubs. Prince Sattva is believed by many to be an earlier incarnation of the Buddha.