Table of Content
- 1 1. Makli – Houses around 1 million Tombs
- 2 2. Katas Raj Temple – Hindu Temple Surrounded by a Pond
- 3 3. Badshahi Mosque – Mughal-era Congregational Mosque
- 4 4. Derawar Fort – Symbol of Pakistani Adaptability and Antiquity
- 5 5. Lahore Fort – One of the Oldest Forts in the Region
- 6 6. Shalimar Gardens: – Mix of Narutal Beuaty and Old Heritage
- 7 7. Mohenjo-Daro – One of The Oldest Civilizations of the World
- 8 8. Noor Mahal – Home of Nawabs of Bahawalpur
- 9 9. Wazir Khan Mosque – Build in the 17th Century
- 10 10. Takht-i-Bahi – Indo-Parthian Archaeological site
- 11 11. Baltit Fort – Get Best Views of Hunza Valley
- 12 12. Hiran Minar – The “Deer Tower” Build in Mughal Era
- 13 Conclusion
If historical places are a treasure then Pakistan is blessed with a lot of them. Even though the country itself was made 73 years ago, still this region is home to one of the oldest civilizations in the world. This includes places like Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro, centuries-old fortresses, and expertly carved historical mosques.
If you are someone with an interest in visiting historical places, There are many UN World Heritage Sites in Pakistan that you need to visit.
Here is a list of Historical Places in Pakistan that one shouldn’t miss while visiting Pakistan:
1. Makli – Houses around 1 million Tombs
Starting off our list with one of the World’s largest funeral sites and a United Nations World Heritage site since 1981. Makli Necropolis is spread on an area of about 10km2 and is located near the plateau of Makli Hill which is 6.5 km long and is just outside the Thatta, city of Sindh.
This funerary site has almost 500000 graves of royal families, governors, Sufis, Religious Scholars, etc. And tourists come from all over the world to witness this sight. Different graves represent the architectural work of the 14th to 18th century, as many of these graves are beautifully decorated with stone bricks, glazed tiles etc. The most decorated or colourful grave of all is of Diwan Shurfa Khan (1638). And not just simple graves but even decorated tombs are part of this funerary site.
2. Katas Raj Temple – Hindu Temple Surrounded by a Pond
As I said that Pakistan itself is not too old but this region’s history is quite old. Now Pakistan is itself a Muslim country but it always had people of different religions living here. One of those religions is Hinduism and Katas Raj Temple is a remnant of the Hindu religion.
Katas Raj Temple is situated at an altitude of 2000 feet near Kallar Kahar. It can be reached by a drive of 2 hours from Islamabad through M2 Motorway that connects Islamabad and Lahore. This ancient monument is a set of different temples connected by pathways, surrounding a pond known as Katas. This pond is regarded as a sacred pond in the Hindu religion as some history of Hinduism is connected to this pond and this temple.
Even so that the Shivling situated in this temple is said to be hand made by the Hindu deity Krishna himself. And its pond is said to be created by the tears of Shiva and it occupies an area of two Kanals and 15 marlas, with a depth of 20 feet.
3. Badshahi Mosque – Mughal-era Congregational Mosque
Some of the historical buildings of Pakistan were by Mughal Emperors and Badshahi Mosque is one of those buildings. Like Katas Raj Temple, this site is one of the sacred sites of Muslim culture. Badshahi Mosque is situated in Lahore near the Lahore Fort or Shahi Qilla. Its main magnificent entrance door lies in the Hazuri Bagh.
This mosque was built in 1671 by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb Alamgir and was opened after two years in 1673. Even though it was created in 1671, still has one of the beautiful and finest artworks of all time. It has a courtyard of 276000 square feet which can accommodate around 100000 worshipers.
Its interior is decorated with Kashan style work. And it resembles the Jama Masjid of Delhi built by Shah Jehan. It was the biggest mosque in the world but after the construction of the Faisal Mosque and some other mosques in the world, it is now Pakistan’s second-largest mosque.
4. Derawar Fort – Symbol of Pakistani Adaptability and Antiquity
Derawar Fort or as previously known as Dera Rawar is a large fortress located in the Cholistan Desert in the southern part of Punjab. It is one of the most magnificent forts of Pakistan, built-in 9th century AD by Hindu ruler Rai Jajja Bhati. This fortress was under the possession of different rulers, of different religions. And was rebuilt in 1732 by Nawab Sadeq Muhammad, an Abbasi ruler.
This stronghold is of square shape and one of the breath-taking scenes of it is the view of its walls. Its walls have a perimeter of 1500 meters and are surrounded by 30-meter-tall bastions.
This fort is visited by many tourists and can be reached by an off-road Jeep drive. While the fort is no doubt is quite strong but still, the passage of time has left its mark on the fort.
5. Lahore Fort – One of the Oldest Forts in the Region
Another monument of the Mughal Era is Lahore Fort. It is the most famous fort in Pakistan. And is visited by hundreds of people on daily basis. It is not just a historical place of Pakistan itself but it also has about 21 other Mughal monuments in it. These monuments are said to be from the era of Mughal Emperor Akbar.
It is located in the walled city Lahore and is opposite to second largest mosque of Pakistan, Badshahi Mosque. Its actual date of formation is not known but it is said that this fort was rebuilt in the 17th century. And many Emperors have added a lot of new monuments to it. Even its main door known as Alamgiri Gate was later built by Aurangzeb Alamgir.
One of its many builds in Sheesh- Mahal or Palace of Mirrors. It is fully decorated with mirrors and was built inside the Lahore Fortress by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. The sight of thousands of mirrors of the finest quality making different types of designs in the whole palace can’t be defined in a single word.
6. Shalimar Gardens: – Mix of Narutal Beuaty and Old Heritage
Gardens are representers of natural beauty but Shalimar Garden is full of both natural beauty as well as historic architectural work. It was built in 1641 during the reign of the Mughal Emperor known for its artistic and aesthetic builds Shah Jahan.
It is one of the most beautiful gardens in Pakistan. Well, it was initially built by a Royal Mughal family to entertain their guests but later in 1981 due to Mughal build and artwork it was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Shalimar Gardens were intended to look like Shalimar Gardens of Kashmir built by Jahangir, father of Shah Jahan and another prominent ruler of the Mughal Empire. As Shalimar Gardens of Kashmir are built on naturally formed sloping landscapes, so these gardens were engineered to look like them.
These beautiful gardens are spread over 16 hectares and are divided into three terraces. And all these terraces are in a way that the first one is 4-5 feet lower than the next one. And all these terraces have given poetic names known in English as Bestower of Pleasure, Bestower of Goodness and Bestower of Life.
It also has finely made pools that look pleasing to the eyes when their marble floor reflects light through the clear water. There are about 410 fountains, which discharge water into these wide marble pools.
7. Mohenjo-Daro – One of The Oldest Civilizations of the World
The lost city of Mohenjo-Daro or the biggest city of Mohenjo-Daro is a must-visit when visiting historical places of Pakistan. It is one of the most ancients’ civilizations in the world.
Mohenjo-Daro is spread over an area of 300 hectares and was not known for over 3700 years. It is said to be built around 2500 BCE and was rediscovered in 1921. It is also one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Mohenjo-Daro at its peak was the largest city of Indus Civilization. And it is said to have the world’s finest civil engineered builds. And The Great Bath is the perfect example of it. And the proverb that Old places have souls perfectly fits here. The builds of Mohenjo-Daro also resemble that of Harappa which is also an ancient city around that time. It is the first ancient colony to have planned builds. With upper Citadel and Lower City. In short, it is a must-visit.
8. Noor Mahal – Home of Nawabs of Bahawalpur
The palace located in Pakistan’s city Bahawalpur named Noor Mahal or in English as Noor Palace is another historical place of Pakistan. A remarkable building was built by Nawab Adnan Abbasi IV. It is often said that he built it for her wife and was meant to be their family house but she was only there for one night and left that palace forever after knowing that the graveyard of Basti Maluk Shah was right next to the palace.
It is said that this palace was built at a cost of 1.2 million which will be around 8.1 million USD at present time. This palace is now under the Pakistani Army and is used as a state guest house and tourist place.
The Noor palace is spread over an area of 44,600 square feet and has 32 rooms, 14 of which is under the basement. Its 6 verandas and 5 domes are beautifully decorated and represent the Corinthian style of architecture. Other than the Corinthian style it also has an Islamic style of architecture used in its building.
Noor Mahal is also full of things that were used by Nawab. And its furniture is transported from England and Italy. Its courtyard has a wall full of imaginary pics of Nawab himself. But only one of these pics is real.
9. Wazir Khan Mosque – Build in the 17th Century
As mosques are quite important in religion Islam so many mosques of the Mughal Empire are still safe and have been restored. Wazir Khan mosque is also one of those Mughal era mosques that have their value in historical places of Pakistan.
This mosque was built in the reign of the artistic ruler of the Mughal Empire known as Shah Jahan. Order of its build was given by the chief physician of Mughal Court named Hakeem Ilam-ud-din Ansari also known as Wazir Khan. After the completion, this mosque was also named on the name of that Viceroy and is now known as Wazir Khan Mosque.
This beautiful mosque is about 260 meters west of the Delhi Gate in the Walled City of Lahore. Its build was started in 1634 and was completed after seven years in 1641. And this course of seven years is visible in its design and architectural work. It is also Asia’s first build to purposefully have 22 shops locally known as Charsu Bazaar (Four Axis Bazaar).
It is one of the most beautiful mosques in Pakistan. And is known to be inspired by the Begum Shahi Mosque also known as “Mother of all Mosques”. Its courtyard measures approximately 160 feet by 130 feet and has the tomb of 14th-century Sufi saint Syed Muhammad Ishaq Gazruni or Miran Badshah.
Wazir Khan mosque is widely known for its beauty. It has art designs made in the whole mosque with beautiful tiles. And has Quran’s Surah Al-Baqara written from the entrance to the main prayer hall. The interior of the mosque is full of frescoes of the Mughal era with the unique decorative style that can be found in the other mosques of that era. Even the bricks on the exterior of the mosque also have Persian style tile work. In short, the whole mosque is filled with eye-opening gorgeous designs that one can admire for hours.
10. Takht-i-Bahi – Indo-Parthian Archaeological site
We have listed remains of Hindu culture but as I said that this region has seen different religions, so here is another historic place that is believed to be a Buddhist monastery. Takht-i-Bahi means “Throne of Spring Water” believed to be representing the near springs on the hill. According to archaeologists this monastery dates back to the 1st century BCE and was used until the 7th century CE.
It is no doubt one of the oldest monasteries and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This archaeological site is in Mardan and is located 500 ft atop a village of the same name.
It consists set of stupa courts, monastic chambers, dining areas, halls, and even have Tantric monastic complex. It is an important archaeological site that was well preserved.
It was a French officer that made its reference in 1836 and its exploration was started in 1864. And now there is a paved road and car parking that made it easily reachable by people, making it a well-visited tourist spot.
While exploring this site archaeologists have found inscriptions bearing the name of Gondophares who was the founder of the Indo-Parthian Kingdom and rules in the era of 20-46 CE. Many of the ancient objects found here are now in the British Museum.
11. Baltit Fort – Get Best Views of Hunza Valley
Forts are a must part of the list of historic buildings. Baltit Fort is like those forts that are a must-visit. Built to keep an eye on the trade route and all of its town, this fort is near the town of Karimabad, in the beautiful Hunza Valley. This fort has also seen some wars and fights to gain power. These wars have changed some of its architecture but it is still one of the important strongholds of Pakistan.
Founded in 8th CE and said to be 700 years old, this fort is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2004. This fort has also won awards one of which was from UNSECO.
Even if though it is a historical site, still it has one of the most beautiful views of Hunza seen from its top. As its history suggests that it was built to keep watch of the whole town, so tourists can have a beautiful view of Karimabad town and Hunza.
In Pakistan, most of its fort and other historic sites are found in Punjab and other providences but it is said that many of the forts were here in mountains. And were destroyed by the attacks of the King of Kashmir in the 19th century. Just like those forts this one also has marks of war. One of the most prominent is the British invasion in December 1891. Many other changes were made in the fort after that invasion. Nowadays it is a popular tourist place and a museum.
12. Hiran Minar – The “Deer Tower” Build in Mughal Era
The word Hiran in English means Deer. Hiran Minar is also a Mughal complex that was built in the 17th century in honour of an Antelope, unique right?
Mughal Emperor Jahangir, father of Shah Jahan had a pet antelope that was trained to bring animals for hunting and was known as Mansiraj.
Hiran Minar is located near the city of Sheikhupura and can be reached by M2 Motorway, the same one that is used to reach Makli. This hunting reserve has a minaret that represents the antelope and is 110-metre-tall and was built in 1606 CE.
This large hunting reserve has an octagonal pavilion in the centre of a rectangular pool. This pavilion is built with the same architectural design as of Sher Mandal made by Emperor Humayun. One of the unique things about Hiran Minar is its water system that fills that pool. The grave of that antelope is also in Hiran Minar which is another unique aspect of this historic place.
Historic places are full of memories and remains of older civilizations. Like Mohenjo-Daro, Harappa, Derawar fort, the list goes on. While visiting them might, they might seem like old ruins and not as good as the new buildings, still, these are the buildings that have seen the history and have stood firm in the strong winds of time. They are part of every countries culture and treasure of this world. And these are the buildings that have led to the formation of many newer buildings. As Kevin McCloud said:
I cannot look at modern buildings without thinking of historical ones