Mohenjo-daro – which is thought to mean "mound of the dead men" in Sindhi -was once the largest city of the once-flourishing Indus Valley (also known as Harappan) Civilisation, that spanned from north-east Afghanistan to north-west India during the Bronze Age. Believed to have been home to at least 40,000 people. Mohenjo-daro was in its heyday from 2500 to 1700 BCE.
It was an urban centre that had social, cultural, economic and religious links with Mesopotamia and Egypt, although few have heard of it in comparison to its contemporaries in Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. By 1700 BCE, it had been abandoned, and to this day, we don't know why the inhabitants left or where they went.
The site was first discovered in 1911 after hearing reports of some brickwork in the area. This led to large-scale excavations – most notably by British archaeologist Sir John Marshall – and the eventual naming of Mohenjo-daro as a Unesco World Heritage Site in 1980.
Perhaps the city's most surprising feature was a sanitation system that was very advanced for its time. Unlike Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia where drainage and toilets were privileges of the rich, covered networks of drains criss-crossed Mohenjo-daro, which covertly disposed of waste from private residences.
The people of Mohenjo-daro were also closely in tune with their environment. They built impressive flood defences to protect themselves from the annual flooding of the Indus river.
Moreover, they were key players in a sea-trade network that extended from Central Asia to the Middle East. For centuries, they produced intricately carved pieces of pottery, jewellery, figurines and other items that can be traced today to Mesopotamia, Oman and everywhere in between.
Today, the historical site has been turned into a local park, surrounded by lush gardens and picnic areas. However, travellers from other parts of Pakistan rarely venture to this remote location, and foreign tourism is rare. The site still retains its authenticity and its status as a treasure of ancient civilizations.
Source: BBC Travel