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Archaeological ruins in Moenjodaro
UNESCO world heritage UNESCO World Heritage Emblem

Panoramic view of the stupa mound and great bath in Mohenjodaro.JPG
Mohenjo-Daro - Stupa , Citadel Hill and "Big Bath"
National territory: PakistanPakistan Pakistan
Type: Culture
Criteria : (ii) (iii)
Surface: 240 ha
Reference No .: 138
UNESCO region : Asia and Pacific
History of enrollment
Enrollment: 1980  ( session 4 )

Coordinates: 27 ° 19 ′ 45 ″  N , 68 ° 8 ′ 20 ″  E

Map: Pakistan
Wells and houses

Mohenjo-Daro (sometimes written Mohanjo-Daro or Moenjo-Daro , Sindhi موئن جو دڙو) is a historical town-like settlement on the lower reaches of the Indus in today's Pakistan approx. 40 km south of the city of Larkana . It was from about 2600 to 1800 BC. Part of the Indus culture . It does not show any of the usual rulership structures, the central building is a bathroom.

The site was abandoned and then forgotten , it was only rediscovered by British-Indian archaeologists in 1922 (other sources: 1924). These excavations were led by Sir John Marshall , then director of the Archaeological Survey of India . Connected to the excavations around 1950 is the name Sir Mortimer Wheeler . Mohenjo-Daro is better preserved than the Harappa found a few years earlier .

Mohenjo-Daro is the assumed main center of the Harappa or Indus culture, one of the three early advanced civilizations of mankind in the 3rd millennium BC. The name means "hill of the dead" in modern Sindhi. Mohenjo-Daro is on the UNESCO World Heritage List as the largest preserved city from the Bronze Age .

The hill of ruins can be seen from afar in the plain. The citadel (a later building) to the west of the lower town rises the highest - up to 15 meters. 4500 years ago the picture must have been even more impressive, as the Indus has swept the plain by more than 7 meters since then.

Origin and heyday

The Harappa culture developed from the regional predecessor cultures around centers such as Amri and Kot Diji . The fertile Indus valley is about 100 kilometers wide in this area. The city reached its prime around 2500 BC. At that time it had about 30,000 to 40,000 inhabitants. This was made possible by a brief but intense innovation push. This essentially consisted of making the Indus usable, on the one hand for agriculture, on the other hand as a year-round transport route. Since the lower Indus plain was not sufficiently accessible by land during the flood period from July to October, this was of crucial importance. This ability to be transported was achieved through enormous platform substructures made of fired bricks, which enabled construction to be carried out near the banks of the Indus.

Furthermore, a social structure developed during this time, which made the leap from the decentrally organized village settlements to an urban political-economic system possible.

In addition, a script was created, the Indus script , which is mainly found on small steatite seals . However, this script has not yet been deciphered.

Unfired adobe bricks of today's hand size (approx. 6 × 13 × 27 cm) were standard in high culture. Almost all parts of the building were made from these - including the infrastructure with its water supply and over 600 wells as well as the sewers for disposal.

Knowledge and guesswork

"Big bathroom"

On the one hand, Mohenjo-Daro is the largest historical settlement from the Bronze Age that has survived and many findings can be described as certain. On the other hand, there are also many assumptions and assumptions, including from the time of the rediscovery. For example, an enormous building (approx. 60 × 27 meters) is referred to as a granary, although this is by no means to be regarded as a reliable finding. It is believed that this building had a huge wooden structure in earlier times.

The unique piece of a 17 cm high statuette is interpreted as a priest king; in any case he wears a diadem or a kind of royal armband . On the other hand, unlike the high cultures in Mesopotamia and on the Nile , there was no secular or sacred architecture in the entire city . At least nothing could be supported by sufficiently well-founded evidence and facts. A 60 × 30 meter facility is known as a "large bathroom". In the inner courtyard there is a 7 × 12 meter pool that is sunk about 2 meters into the ground. This is probably a ritual use. But even this is by no means certain.


Stupa seen from the west

In the 2nd or 3rd century AD, a Buddhist stupa that could be seen from afar was built on the top of the citadel hill from adobe bricks ; Nothing is left of the monastery that probably existed at its feet.


During the heyday of the Industal culture, the climate was moderate and the monsoons brought regular rainfall. Today Mohenjodaro is the hottest place in Asia and one of the hottest places in the world. The highest registered temperature is 53.5 ° C. Temperatures over 50 ° C in summer are not uncommon, on cold, cloudy winter nights the thermometer sometimes even falls below 0 ° C. Mohenjo-Daro is also one of the wettest places in Pakistan; even in the monsoon months of July and August there is very little rain.


  • Michael Jansen : Mohenjo-Daro. City of fountains and canals. Water luxury 4500 years ago. Wirtschafts- und Verlags-Gesellschaft Gas und Wasser, Bonn 1993, 144 S., Ill., Graph. Darst., Maps, ISBN 3-922671-02-0
  • Michael Jansen (Ed.): Mohenjo Daro: a publication on CD-ROM of the excavation archive from Mohenjo Daro covering the years 1916 - 1940. RWTH Aachen Mohenjo Daro Project. UNESCO, Paris 1997, ISBN 3-929832-03-8
  • Khurshid Hasan Shaikh, Syed M. Ashfaque: Mohenjodaro: a 5,000-year-old-legacy. UNESCO, Paris 1981


Web links

Commons : Mohenjo-daro  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. UNESCO World Heritage Center: Archaeological Ruins at Moenjodaro. Retrieved September 11, 2017 .
  2. "How climate change led to the fall of Indus Valley Civilization", accessed on December 10, 2018