• Bangladesh!

    Bangladesh: Traditional houses. Go Now!

    This low-lying country has historic ties to India and Pakistan, but today maintains a wholly unique culture. Explore Bangladesh!

  • Indonesia!

    Indonesia: Lombok. Go Now!

    This archipelago nation is culturally diverse from big cities to isolated islands. Begin Your Journey!

  • Jordan!

    Jordan: Petra. Go Now!

    Tucked away in this Middle Eastern country, the famed city of Petra (pictured) links the past to the present culture. Explore Jordan!

  • Mongolia!

    Mongolia: Desert. Go Now!

    This vast country has a culture that spans past and present... a nomadic life shifting to a modern & sedentary society. Begin Your Journey!

  • Kyrgyzstan!

    Kyrgyzstan: Tian Shan Mountains. Go Now!

    The mountains, including the Tian Shan Mountains (pictured), give Kyrgyzstan a unique culture, partially formed from this isolation from the mountains. Go Now!

Architecture of Pakistan

WARNING: Terrorist threats continue in Pakistan, please read this travel warning before going!

Despite its long history and the historic people that have lived in the Indus Valley, Pakistan's architecture is somewhat limited since most early buildings were constructed of wood or brick, neither of which has lasted to the present. The earliest buildings in Pakistan are generally from about the 600s or 700s AD and even these are few and far between.

Of the earliest architecture still present, most of it is either Buddhist or Hindu in origin and purpose. The Gandhara style from about 100 AD consists of numerous stupas, which are funerary monuments; the best of these are found in Taxila in Punjab. Another excellent example of early Buddhist architecture is Takht-i-Bahi.

Islam was introduced to Pakistan in the 700s and this next wave of architecture was heavily Arab influenced, although again little remains today. The Mihrablose Mosque in Banbhore (727) is one of the earliest buildings from this time period. Among the Persian-influenced buildings, the tomb of Shan Rukn-i-Alam (1320-1324) is among the finest examples.

In the 1500s and 1600s Mughal architecture blossomed in Pakistan as it did in neighboring India (including the famous Taj Mahal). These rulers ruled primarily from modern day India, but also were centered in Lahore, which received the Wazir Khan Mosque (1634-1635), Badshahi Mosque (1673-1674), and the Lahore Fortress (1500s-1600s).

In the 1500s and 1600s the British slowly took control of the region as a colony and introduced their architectural styles. Among these British-influenced buildings are the Mohatta Palace and Frere Hall, both in Karachi.

After gaining independence in the mid-1900s, Pakistan made a movement to define themselves in various ways, one of which was in architectural movements. Among the best structures from this time are the Faisal Mosque (1969) in Islamabad, the Minar-e-Pakistan in Lahore, and the Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah (1960s) in Karachi, although all three of these cities have a large number of modern and post-modern buildings in addition to these three.

This page was last updated: July, 2012