Thatta is an ancient city of the Indus delta. The city is situated about 100 kilometers from Karachi, Pakistan via the national highway. It had great importance in history and today is famous for its archeological sites and centuries old monuments, which are great tourist attractions. [Click on photos to enlarge]
According to historians Thatta may have been the main port on the Indus in the time of Alexander the Great’s invasion. The river Indus has changed its course many times since the days of Alexander, and this ancient site of Patala has been subject to much conjecture (the river changes course slowly due to a process called “siltation” which is essentially water pollution by fine silt particles).
Thatta was the capital of three successive dynasties, the traces of which are evident in the Makli necropolis, which spreads over a twelve square kilometer area. These dynasties are: Samma (1335-1520), Arghun (1520-1555) and Tarkhan (1555-1665).
There are archeological sites in the city and on its outskirts. The most famous of these sites is the Makli Hill, which is the biggest necropolis in the world and about three kilometers from Thatta.
Because of its cultural and archeological importance, in the 1980s UNESCO listed the Makli necropolis as a World Heritage Site. The most preserved area of the necropolis is Makli Hill, which comprises about 35 monuments and contains four different schools of architecture and art made from stone to brick and glaze.
The monuments here also tell the story of external cultural influences in Lower Sindh, including Hindu, Central Asian and Persian cultures.
Later on, the city of Thatta was ruled by the Mughal emperors of Delhi through its governors, leaving an indelible mark on the shape of the monuments there. The most famous example of Mughal architecture is the Shah Jahan Mosque, constructed in the latter half of the seventeenth century.
Thatta played an important role in the history of Sindh and the city was constantly renovated from the 14 to 18 century. But in 1739, when the province of Sindh was taken over by Nadir Shah of Persia, Thatta entered into a period of decline. However the four centuries that comprise the golden age of Thatta have left their traces on the form of monuments in the region. – Text by Mukhtar Azad