200 BC Greek City Sirkap Taxila in Pakistan is designed like Islamabad

SirKap Taxila is the only Greek city in the Indo-Pakistan Subcontinent from the Greco-Bactrian times.


Taxila city, which is synonymous with Sirkap Taxila, has been mentioned by Greek philosopher Apollonius of Tyana of the 1st Century AD as resembling Athens and Nineveh (a Greek colony in present-day Iraq).

Even a Chinese traveler of early times talked of this city being strategically located at the crossroads of trade between India, China, Central Asia, and Persia.

‘Bhir’ was the native city near the SriKap site that was sacked by Alexander of Macedonia in 326 BC.

Following Alexander’s (The son of Zeus’s) footsteps, Demetrius sacked the town again in 180 BC and laid the foundation of SirKap city.

Jain Temple

Demetrius styled the city in Athens.

The imposing castle of Asoka (304-232BC) still overlooks the city.

The Greeks took over Asoka’s Buddhist Kingdom and melded into it.


Indo-Greek Menander in 130 BC increased various sectors of SirKap. A Greek-styled temple (Jandial) was built outside the 30-foot walls of SirKap, complete with its front Columns. Inside the walled city were syncretic temples of Jain, Sun worshipers, Hindus, and Buddhists.

There was Persian Gondophares’s double-headed eagle temple and a huge sundial. The King had his royal court at the opposite end of the main boulevard.

The city had its water channels, drainage, wells, marketplace, barracks’, and residential colonies.

One illegal excavator approached me with coins of the Kushan period and said that very recently bronze statues and utensils were dug out by locals. The private archeological collection of locals is a lot more valuable than what is in the Taxila Government Museum.


SirKap was destroyed by a great earthquake in the 40 AD and then taken over by the mysterious ‘European looking’ central Asian Kushan’ (Yuezhi)

A rival city, SirSukh was built a few kilometers away by the Kushan. SirSukh has yet to be completely excavated.

Buddhist monasteries like Jaulian, Maura Muradu, Badalpur, etc. dotted the higher grounds around SirKap

The city was probably abandoned in the White Hun’s invasion of the 5th century BC

Standing in the middle of the sundial of SirKap, it made perfect sense to me that Demetrius located this modern city on higher ground protected by the Indus & Jehlum Rivers on both flanks and by mountains from the North.

I always wondered where the pencil Greek nose, light eyes, blond hair, and widely hedonistic traits in some Pakistani families come from.

Well now I know — from the Turkish Greek Border!

Other Taxilla sites include

Jaulian Monastery

Mohra Murady Stupa

Dharmajika Stupa

Bhamala Stupa

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