Alexandria on the Acesines


Alexandria: city in the southern Punjab, modern Uch.

The river Chenab, directly south of Uch
The river Chenab, directly south of Uch

In 325, Alexander the Great founded one of his Alexandrias, at the "Head of the Punjab", the place where, back then, the rivers Chenab Acesines and Indus came together. Today, this confluence has moved to the west; on the other hand, the confluence of the Chenab and Sutlej has come closer to the site of this Alexandria, which is now called Uch or Uch Sharif.

When Alexander founded the city, it was considerably larger, but when the Chenab shifted its course, it took away nearly half the citadel. The location of the lower city of Alexandria is not known; it may be beneath modern Uch, in which case it may perhaps one day be excavated; or it may be to the west of the citadel, in which case the river has destroyed the site.

When Alexander founded the city, he was recovering from the nearly mortal wound he had received during the siege of a large city in the country of the Mallians, which is probably identical to modern Multan. When the news of his wound had reached Gandara and Sogdia, the Greek colonists that Alexander had settled in those satrapies revolted against their Macedonian lords. This caused tensions in Alexander's army as well, which resulted in a Greek's suicide after a gladiatorial contest had taken place between a Greek and a Macedonian soldier (text). As a consequence, the king decided not to leave Macedonians and Greeks behind in the new city. The settlers were, therefore, Thracians.

The town flourished; in Buddhist texts, it is called Askandra. The mausoleum of Bibi Jawindi, which dates back to 1494, is even as a ruin a splendid sight.

This page was created in 2004; last modified on 6 August 2020.