CULTURE


Taxila – ancient university centre of Orient recognized as UNESCO World Heritage site in Pakistan

Baku, April 30, AZERTAC

Taxila - one of the most visited sites in Pakistan, located in Rawalpindi district of Punjab province, is one of the ancient sites that symbolizes the rich cultural heritage of the country.

It is a vast serial site that includes a Mesolithic cave and the archaeological remains of four early settlement sites, Buddhist monasteries, and a Muslim mosque and madrassa.

Situated strategically on a branch of the Silk Road that linked China to the West, Taxila reached its apogee between the 1st and 5th centuries.

It is now one of the most important archaeological sites in Asia. The ruins of the four settlement sites at Taxila reveal the pattern of urban evolution on the Indian subcontinent through more than five centuries.

One of these sites, the Bihr mound, is associated with the historic event of the triumphant entry of Alexander the Great into Taxila.

The archaeological sites of Saraikala, Bhir, Sirkap, and Sirsukh are collectively of unique importance in illustrating the evolution of urban settlement on the Indian subcontinent.

The prehistoric mound of Saraikala represents the earliest settlement of Taxila, with evidence of Neolithic, Bronze Age, and Iron Age occupation. The Bhir mound is the earliest historic city of Taxila, and was probably founded in the 6th century BC by the Achaemenians. Its stone walls, house foundations, and winding streets represent the earliest forms of urbanization on the subcontinent. Bihr is also associated with Alexander the Great’s triumphant entry into Taxila in 326 BC.

The Taxila serial site also includes Khanpur cave, which has produced stratified microlithic tools of the Mesolithic period, and a number of Buddhist monasteries and stupas of various periods.

Buddhist monuments erected throughout the Taxila valley transformed it into a religious heartland and a destination for pilgrims from as far afield as Central Asia and China.

The Buddhist archaeological sites at Taxila include the Dharmarajika complex and stupa, the Khader Mohra grouping, the Kalawan grouping, the Giri monasteries, the Kunala stupa and monastery, the Jandial complex, the Lalchack and the Badalpur stupa remains and monasteries, the Mohra Moradu monastic remains, the Pipplian and the Jaulian remains, and the Bahalar stupa and remains.

The Giri complex also includes the remains of a three-domed Muslim mosque, ziarat (tomb), and madrassa (school) of the medieval period.

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