Sites & cities that bear the name of Taxila


Today in : Pakistan
First trace of activity : 3,360 B.C.E
Last trace of activity : ca. 5th century C.E
Recorded names : Takkasilā, तक्षशिला, Takṣaśilā, Takshashila, Takshila

Description : Taxila (from Pāli: Takkasilā, Sanskrit: तक्षशिला, IAST: Takṣaśilā, meaning "City of Cut Stone" or "Takṣa Rock") is an important archaeological site of the ancient Indian subcontinent, located in the city of Taxila in Punjab, Pakistan. It lies about 32 km (20 mi) north-west of Islamabad and Rawalpindi, just off the famous Grand Trunk Road. Ancient Taxila was situated at the pivotal junction of the Indian subcontinent and Central Asia. The origin of Taxila as a city goes back to c. 1000 BCE. Some ruins at Taxila date to the time of the Achaemenid Empire in the 6th century BCE, followed successively by Mauryan Empire, Indo-Greek, Indo-Scythian, and Kushan Empire periods. Owing to its strategic location, Taxila has changed hands many times over the centuries, with many empires vying for its control. When the great ancient trade routes connecting these regions ceased to be important, the city sank into insignificance and was finally destroyed by the nomadic Hunas in the 5th century. The renowned archaeologist Sir Alexander Cunningham rediscovered the ruins of Taxila in the mid-19th century. In 1980, Taxila was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In 2006 it was ranked as the top tourist destination in Pakistan by The Guardian newspaper.By some accounts, the University of Ancient Taxila was considered to be one of the earliest (or the earliest) universities in the world. Others do not consider it a university in the modern sense, in that the teachers living there may not have had official membership of particular colleges, and there did not seem to have existed purpose-built lecture halls and residential quarters in Taxila, in contrast to the later Nalanda university in eastern India.In a 2010 report, Global Heritage Fund identified Taxila as one of 12 worldwide sites most "On the Verge" of irreparable loss and damage, citing insufficient management, development pressure, looting, and war and conflict as primary threats. However, significant preservation efforts have been carried out since then by the government which have resulted in the site being declared as "well-preserved" by different international publications. Because of the extensive preservation efforts and upkeep, the site is a popular tourist spot, attracting up to one million tourists every year.

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