Pakistan. Monsoon rains endanger UNESCO World Heritage Site Mohenjo Daro | cultural | Report on arts, music and lifestyle in Germany | DW
Reports say parts of ancient Mohenjo Daro in Pakistan are already damaged, with heavy monsoon rains affecting the archaeological ruins of the 4,500-year-old city.
The ruins of Mohenjo Daro are located in the southern province of Sindh, on the right bank of the Indus River, about 510 kilometers (317 miles) northeast of Pakistan’s largest city, Karachi, and 28 kilometers from Larkarna . The site is considered one of the best preserved urban centers in South Asia.
Repair works have started in Mohenjo Daro
The Indus floods did not directly affect Mohenjo Daro, Ahsan Abbasi, the site curator, told the AP news agency. Nevertheless, the unprecedented rainfall severely damaged the ruins of the ancient city, he said. Several large walls collapsed, he said, adding that major repair work had begun. However, the site’s iconic Buddhist stupa (a mound-like structure, editor’s note) is intact, Abbasi said.
Mohenjo Daro was part of the Bronze Age Indus culture of 2600-1800 BC, one of the first three advanced civilizations of mankind in the 3rd millennium BC. Its disappearance coincided with that of Egypt and Mesopotamia. The settlement was abandoned, forgotten and only rediscovered in 1922 by Anglo-Indian archaeologists. The name Mohenjo Daro means “mound of the dead” in the Sindhi language.
Ahsan Abbasi says several large walls collapsed due to rains
The discovery of the site allowed precise conclusions on the customs, the art, the religion and the administrative organization of the inhabitants. Their well-planned city with its public baths, a college of priests, an elaborate sewage system with wells and cesspools, and a large granary, was built largely of baked brick. According to UNESCO, Mohenjo Daro was a “metropolis of great importance”. It is listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List as the largest preserved Bronze Age city.
Heavy monsoon rains
The ruins are visible from afar. At 15 meters, the citadel (a later addition) to the west of the lower town is the tallest structure. 4,500 years ago, the site must have been even more impressive: over time, the Indus River raised the plain by more than seven meters.
Mohenjo Daro is listed as the largest preserved Bronze Age city
The rising waters of the Indus, one of the most important rivers in the region, have wreaked havoc on large parts of Pakistan. More than 1,300 people were killed and millions lost their homes in the floods.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres is due to visit Pakistan on September 9 to express his solidarity with the people and call for massive international support for the country. The floods are the result of climate change, which is “accelerating the destruction of our planet”, he said.
“Today it’s Pakistan. Tomorrow it can be anywhere else,” he warned.
According to Pakistani officials, Guterres will travel to Sindh, but it was unclear whether he would visit the archaeological site.
This piece was originally written in German.