Historic Monuments of the ancient city of Thatta

The archaeological site of Thatta and the graveyard of Makli give evidence in a terrific way to the civilization of Sindh from the 14th to the 18th centuries. Within the wide-ranging family of Islamic monuments, those of Thatta correspond to a particular kind, prominent for the fusion of diverse influences into a local style. The effect of the majestic Mosque of Shah Jahan with its compound of blue and white buildings covered by 93 domes is only one of its kind.

From the 14th to the 18th centuries, Thatta played a significant role in the history of Sindh, as the city, which commanded the riverside of the Indus, had been previously the capital of the Samma, Argun and Tarkhan dynasties before being governed in the name of the Mughal emperors of Delhi.

From 1739, when the province of Sind was ceded to the Shah Nadir of Iran, Thatta entered into a phase of corruption and ignorance. The site preserves, in a state of outstanding integrity, a striking monumental complex with the ruins of the city itself in the valley and particularly those of the graveyard, massed at the edge of the Makli plateau, covering a distance of about 12 km.

The centuries that include the golden era of Thatta have left their traces on the structure of monuments of high quality in stone and brick. Among those in stone are the tombs of Jam Nizammudin, who reigned from 1461 to 1509, and those of essa Khan Tarkhan the Younger and of his father, Jan Baba, both of which were built earlier than 1644. Among the edifices in brick and glossy tiles are the mosque of Dabgir, that of Shah Jahan and numerous mausoleums, and tombs of which the most colorful is that of Diwan Shurfa Khan.

If the vault of Jam Nizam-ud-din establishes obvious connections with Hindu architecture of the Gujarat style and the power of Mughal royal architecture, it is in no way a simple replica. At Thatta, an original idea of stone decoration was born, maybe using glossy tile models.


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