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    Japan: Traditional foods. Go Now!

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    Bahrain: Desert. Go Now!

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    This tiny country has overcome the desert and has found a way to thrive, like this tree on al Jazair Beach. Explore Bahrain!

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    Laos: Karst peak. Go Now!

    Laos
    The simplicity and natural beauty of the countryside make Laos a hidden gem in Southeast Asia overlooked by most travelers. Begin Your Journey!

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    Tajikistan: A yurt in the mountains. Go Now!

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    The high mountains have mysteries around every turn, including yurts (pictured), a home for the nomadic people. 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