Historic Sites at Makli, Thatta – World Cultural Heritage in Pakistan

The capital of three successive dynasties and then ruled by the Mughal emperors of Delhi, Thatta was continuously embellished from the 14th to the 18th centuries. The rest of the city and its graveyard offer a unique look at the civilization in Sind.

Accreditation year: 1981
Criteria: (iii)
Sind Province

Outstanding global value

Near the crest of the Indus River Delta in Pakistan’s southern Sindh province is a huge cemetery containing half a million graves and graves in an area of ​​about 10 square kilometers. Centered on the edge of the 6.5km-long Makli Hills plateau, the Makli necropolis – linked to the nearby city of Thatta, once the capital and center of Islamic culture – exemplifies the Sindh civilization from the 14th to the 18th century.

The Makli Graveyard is one of the largest in the world. Kings, queens, governors, saints, scholars and philosophers are buried here in brick or stone monuments, some richly decorated with glazed tiles. Among the prominent monuments built in stone are the tomb of Jam Nizamuddin II, who reigned from 1461 to 1509, the mausoleum of lsa Khan Tarkhan the Younger and that of his father, Jan Baba, both mausoleums. All were built before 1644. The most colorful are those of Diwan Shurfa Khan (died 1638). The unique assemblage of massive structures presents an impressive order of massive buildings in different architectural styles. These structures are notable for the fusion of diverse influences into a local style. These influences include, among other things, Gujrat-style Hindu architecture and Mughal royal architecture. Distant Persian and Asian examples of terracotta architecture were also brought to Makli and adapted. An early concept of stone decoration was created at Makli, probably identified by imitation of painted and glazed brick patterns. The historical sites at the Makli necropolis are powerful testimony to the social and political history of Sindh.

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Criterion (iii): The historical monuments at Makli, Thatta are outstanding evidence of the Sindh civilization from the 14th to the 18th centuries. The site is preserved in a particularly intact condition, a complex complex. The monumental complex includes the remains of the cemetery, centered on the edge of the Makli plateau and covers an area of ​​about 10 square kilometers.


Within the boundaries of the property are placed all the elements and components necessary to represent the Outstanding Universal Value of the property, including the graves and graves located in the Makli necropolis. However, some historical sites have been seriously degraded. The integrity of the property is threatened by significant decomposition due to local climatic conditions (earthquakes, temperature variations, winds containing salt and moisture, heavy rainfall, natural growth) and displacement of the river bed. In addition, encroachment and vandalism threaten the site, and damage and loss due to petty theft has taken up a huge proportion.


The historic sites at Makli, Thatta, are authentic in form and design, materials and content, as well as location and setting. However, because the elements of the monument are in a state of serious decay and disintegration, the authenticity of the monument is threatened, especially with regard to the material and form of the monument. Unless scientific action is taken to minimize threats to property, irreparable damage will be caused.

Protection and management requirements

The Historic Site at Makli, Thatta, is an antiquity protected under the Antiquities Act, 1975, passed by the Parliament of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The Constitution Act (18th Amendment) of 2010 (Act No. X 2010), gives the Government of Sindh full administrative and financial authority over all estates located within its province. The Cultural Division of the Sindh Provincial Government is responsible for the management and protection of the Historic Site at Makli, Thatta. The site is staffed by curators, archeological conservators, technical assistants, support staff, and valet. Funding comes from the Sindh Provincial Government; This grant is recognized as insufficient.

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Maintaining the site’s Outstanding Universal Value over time will require the development and implementation of an emergency action plan to address the urgent measures needed for the security and stability of structures; completing, approving and implementing the Comprehensive Master Plan and the Asset Management Plan; determine the exact boundary of the asset and the buffer zone; making reports on the current status of monuments and tombs; take appropriate measures to stabilize the tomb of Jam Nizamuddin II; and implement an overall monitoring program.

Map of Historic Sites in Makli, Thatta

Video about Makli historical site, Thatta

See also: UNESCO World Cultural/Natural Heritage Sites

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