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Taxila: Sirsukh


Map of Taxila. Design Jona Lendering
Map of Taxila
Taxila (Old Indian Takshaçila): the ancient capital of the eastern Punjab, the country between the rivers Indus and Hydaspes. The site consists of several parts, which belong to three periods:
Taxila (history)
Achaemenid age Greek age Kushan age
Bhir Sirkap 1, 2 Sirsukh

Jandial Jaulian


Mohra Moradu
Ancient-Warfare.com, the online home of Ancient Warfare magazine
Fortification wall of Sirsukh. Photo Jona Lendering. After 80 CE, the Punjab, which had been conquered by Macedonians, Greeks, Sacae, and Parthians, was taken over by theYuezhi nomads or Kushans, a tribe that had once lived in northern China. Their king Kanishka abandoned the part of Taxila known as Sirkap, and founded -in a green and lush valley- Sirsukh. It was to become famous for its fortifications, which you can see here on a satellite photo.
Fortifications of Sirsukh / Taxila. Photo Marco Prins. A cut through the fortification wall, which is almost 5 kilometers long and nowhere less than 6 meters thick. It circumvenes an irregular square of 1350 x 1000 meters. The inner part of this citadel was not really investigated by archaeologists. It is low-lying and abundantly irrigated land, where ruins are buried inaccessibly deep.
Inside the fortifications of Sirsukh / Taxila. Photo Marco Prins. Inside the fortifications of Sirsukh. The walls are made of rough rubble and faced with the heavy diaper masonry masonry that is characteristic for this period.
Inside the fortifications of Sirsukh / Taxila. Photo Marco Prins. A loophole for archers inside the wall, at floor level. This was part of one of the semi-circular bastions, which probably had second and third stories.

There were several contemporary Buddhist monasteries (e.g., Jaulian and Mohra Moradu) in the neighborhood.

Sirsukh was left when the White Huns invaded the Punjab at the end of the fifth century. Today, it is partly covered with hemp.

© Jona Lendering for
Livius.Org, 2004
Revision: 28 May 2008
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