Following his defeat of the Mughal emperor Humayun in 1541, Sher Shah Suri built a strong fortified complex at Rohtas, a strategic site in the north of what is now Pakistan. It was never taken by storm and has survived intact to the present day. The main fortifications consist of the massive walls, which extend for more than 4 km; they are lined with bastions and pierced by monumental gateways. Rohtas Fort, also called Qila Rohtas, is an exceptional example of early Muslim military architecture in Central and South Asia.
Fort de Rohtas
Après avoir vaincu l'empereur moghol Humayun en 1541, Sher Shah Suri a construit un ensemble d'ouvrages défensifs à Rohtas, site stratégique dans le nord de l'actuel Pakistan. Le fort de Rohtas n'a jamais été pris d'assaut et subsiste intact aujourd'hui. Les fortifications principales sont constituées de murs massifs qui s'étendent sur plus de 4 km ; elles comportent des bastions et sont percées de portes monumentales. Le fort de Rohtas, ou Qila Rohtas, est un exemple exceptionnel des débuts de l'architecture militaire musulmane dans cette région d'Asie.
بنى شيرشاه سوري بعد أن غلب الإمبراطور المغول همايون في العام 1541، مجموعة من الحصون الدفاعية في رحتاس التي تُعتبر موقعًا استراتيجيًا يقع في شمال الباكستان اليوم. لم يتم اقتحام حصن رحتاس أبدًا من قبل وهو لا يزال سالمًا حتى اليوم. وتتألف التحصينات الأساسية من جدران صلبة تمتد على أكثر من 4 كلم، كما تتضمن مواقع محصّنة وتخرقها بوابات أثرية. ويشكل حصن رحتاس او كيلا رحتاس مثالاً استثنائيًا على بدايات الهندسة العسكرية الإسلامية في هذه المنطقة من آسيا.
После поражения от могольского императора Хумаюна в 1541 г. Шер-Шах-Сури построил мощный оборонительный комплекс в Рохтасе – стратегически важном месте, расположенном на севере современного Пакистана. Поскольку этот форт никому не удалось взять штурмом, он сохранился до настоящего времени неповрежденным. Основные укрепления состоят из массивных стен протяженностью более 4 км, бастионов и монументальных ворот. Форт Рохтас, иногда называемый Кила-Рохтас, является редким примером ранней мусульманской военной архитектуры в Центральной и Южной Азии.
Fuerte de Rohtas
Tras derrotar al emperador mogol Humayun, en 1541, Sher Sha Suri ordenó construir un conjunto de fortificaciones en Rothas, un lugar estratégico situado en el norte del actual territorio de Pakistán. Este fuerte, llamado Qila Rohtas, nunca fue conquistado y permaneció intacto hasta nuestros días. La fortificación principal es una muralla de más de cuatro kilómetros de perímetro dotada de bastiones y puertas monumentales. Este fuerte constituye un ejemplo excepcional de la antigua arquitectura militar musulmana en esta región de Asia.
Sher Shah Suri bouwde na zijn nederlaag tegen de Mogol keizer Humayun in 1541 een sterke vestingstad in Rohtas. Rohtas was een strategische locatie in het noorden van wat nu Pakistan is. Het werd nooit verwoest door een bestorming en is daardoor tot op heden ongeschonden gebleven. De belangrijkste vestingwerken bestaan uit massieve muren, die meer dan vier kilometer lang zijn. Op onregelmatige afstand zijn in de muren 68 halfronde bastions gebouwd en er zitten 12 monumentale poorten in. Fort Rohtas wordt ook wel Qila Rohtas genoemd. Het fort is een mijlpaal in de geschiedenis van de bouw van forten.
Outstanding Universal Value
Rohtas Fort, built in the 16th century at a strategic site in the north of Pakistan, Province of Punjab, is an exceptional example of early Muslim military architecture in central and south Asia. The main fortifications of this 70-hectare garrison consist of massive masonry walls more than four kilometres in circumference, lined with 68 bastions and pierced at strategic points by 12 monumental gateways. A blend of architectural and artistic traditions from elsewhere in the Islamic world, the fort had a profound influence on the development of architectural style in the Mughal Empire.
Sher Sha Suri, founder of the Suri dynasty, commenced construction of Rohtas Fort (also called Qila Rohtas) in 1541. Irregular in plan, this early example of Muslim military architecture follows the contours of its hilltop site. An interior wall partitions the inner citadel from the remainder of the fort, and an internal water supply in the form of baolis (stepped wells) gave the fort’s garrison self-sufficiency in water. A beautiful mosque known as Shahi Masjid is situated near the Kabuli Gate, and the Haveli (Palatial House) Man Singh was constructed later in the Mughal period. Rohtas Fort represented a new form of fortification, based essentially on Turkish military architecture developed in reaction to the introduction of gunpowder and cannon, but transformed into a distinct style of its own.
Rohtas Fort blended architectural and artistic traditions from Turkey and the Indian subcontinent, thereby creating the model for Mughal architecture and its subsequent refinements and adaptations (including the European colonial architecture that made abundant use of that tradition). Most noteworthy are the sophistication and high artistic value of its decorative elements, notably its high- and low-relief carvings, its calligraphic inscriptions in marble and sandstone, its plaster decoration, and its glazed tiles.
The garrison complex was in continuous use until 1707, and then reoccupied under the Durrani and Sikh rulers of the 18th and 19th centuries respectively. A village grew within the walls, and exists day. Rohtas Fort is unique: there are no surviving examples on the subcontinent of military architecture of this period on the same scale and with the same degree of completeness and preservation.
Criterion (ii): Rohtas Fort blends architectural and artistic traditions from Turkey and the Indian subcontinent to create the model for Mughal architecture and its subsequent refinements and adaptations.
Criterion (iv): Rohtas Fort is an exceptional example of the Muslim military architecture of central and south Asia during the 16th century.
Within the boundaries of the property are located all the elements and components necessary to express the Outstanding Universal Value of the property, including its massive defensive walls, monumental gateways, irregularly spaced semi-circular bastions, and, within the enclosure, the cross wall that defines the inner citadel, the baolis (stepped wells), the Haveli Man Singh, and the Shahi Masjid mosque. The physical fabric of most of these elements and components is in a reasonable state of conservation. The fortification wall, however, has collapsed at some places, and the monument is threatened by encroachment, which has disturbed the original drainage system of the fort.
The main historic features of Rohtas Fort are authentic in form, setting, and materials. The limited restoration that has been carried out has been minimal and discreet, avoiding the use of inappropriate modern materials. The fortification wall is nevertheless vulnerable to rainwater flooding and choking the original drainage system.
Protection and management requirements
Rohtas Fort is a protected antiquity in terms of the Antiquities Act, 1975, passed by the Parliament of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The Constitution (18th Amendment) Act 2010 (Act No. X of 2010), bestowed the Government of the Punjab with full administrative and financial authority over all heritage sites located in its province. The Directorate General of Archaeology and Museums, Government of Punjab, is responsible for the management and protection of Rohtas Fort. The land inside the fortification wall occupied by the modem village is also Government-owned, and is administered by the Directorate General of Archaeology and Museums. There is strict control over any form of building or alteration in and around the village (there is an internal buffer zone around the village). The buffer zone around the perimeter wall of the fort varies between 750 m and 1500 m in breadth and provides excellent protection for the setting and integrity of the monument. The Rohtas Fort Conservation Programme was initiated by the Archaeology and Museums department and the Himalayan Wildlife Foundation in 2000 to help protect the fort and develop it as a heritage site conforming to international standards of conservation and tourism. A steering committee created in 2003 oversees the conservation and development work.
Sustaining the Outstanding Universal Value of the property over time will require taking measures to enhance the management, conservation, and presentation of the property, particularly regarding the drainage system in the fort and encroachments. Completing, approving, and fully implementing the master conservation plan prepared under the Rohtas Fort Conservation Programme and establishing a regular monitoring regime, among other activities, would conform to international standards of conservation.
Rohtas Fort is an exceptional example of the Muslim military architecture of central and south Asia, blending architectural and artistic traditions from Turkey and the Indian subcontinent to create the model for Mughal architecture and its subsequent refinements and adaptations. The majestic fort, surpassing many other citadels in grandeur and massiveness, is the only example of architecture of the time of Sher Shah Suri. The monument represents a milestone in the history of fort architecture. Its commanding situation, with its awesomely huge walls and trap gates, makes it a unique part of the cultural heritage.
Muslims settled in the north of the Indian subcontinent around 1200, but there were Arab communities throughout the peninsula from as early as the 8th century. In 1526 a powerful Islamic state, the Mughal Empire, was created in the north. Qila Rohtas (Rohtas Fort) was built in 1541-43, at a strategic site on a high plain in the north of what is now Pakistan, after the Mughal Emperor Humayun was expelled following his defeat at Chausa by Sher Khan, who was to take the name Sher Shah Suri. The fort was built to control the hostile local people, the Ghakkars, and as a precaution against the return of Humayun, which did not take place until 10 years after the death of Sher Shah in 1545, when it was surrendered by its governor, Tatar Khan Kasi, without resistance. Its name derives from Rohtasgarh, the site of Sher Shah's victory in 1539 over a Hindu power. After falling to the Mughal invaders, the fort continued in use until the reign of Aurangzeb. Over the subsequent centuries it served successive Durrani and Sikh masters, without being called upon to serve its original function. A village grew up within the walls and survives to the present day.
Rohtas is a complex of defensive works surrounding a small hill alongside the Kahan River. The massive defensive walls are irregular in plan, conforming with the broken topography, and extend for more than 4 km. They are built from stone and range in thickness up to a maximum of 12.5 m. Their height also varies according to the terrain, between 10.05 m and 18.28 m. There are usually two internal terraces or platforms, increased to three where the walls are higher, and these are linked by stone stairways. The ramparts are surmounted by imposing stone merlons. Within the thickness of the walls there are vaulted rectangular-plan galleries for use by the garrison as living quarters and as stores. The whole enceinte is lined with 68 semi-circular solid bastions, spaced irregularly, and pierced by 12 gates, some double and some single. Within the enclosure a cross-wall, of the same construction and 533 m long, defines the inner citadel or inner fort. The gates, built from sandstone, are massive and ornate. The finest is the Sohail Gate, which is flanked with elaborately decorated balconies carried on brackets and sturdy bastions. This style, based on earlier Pathan models, was to have a profound influence on the development of Mughal architecture.
The Shishi Gate derives its name from the glazed tiles used in the spandrels of the outer arch. This is one of the earliest examples of facing with glazed tiles in the region, a technique that was to be applied widely in the architecture of the Mughal Empire. Four of the other gates, covering particularly vulnerable approaches, are double ('trap') or oblique gates, which provide extra hazards for attackers.
Few buildings were constructed within the interior of the fort, much of which would have been given over to the production of food for the garrison. The Shahi Masjid, near the Kabuli Gate, is a small mosque consisting only of a prayer hall and a courtyard. Its simple but elegant ornamentation, such as the lily motif on the outer arches, foreshadows the decoration of later Mughal architecture, with elements derived from Hindu temple ornamentation. The fort had its own internal water supply, in the form of two baolis (stepped wells or tanks) cut into the limestone bedrock. That near the Kabuli Gate is surrounded by small chambers thought to have been intended for use as baths by members of the ruling family.
The Haveli Man Singh, named after the trusted general of the Mughal Emperor Akbar, is built on a rocky eminence. It is a two-storey structure in brick (unlike the rest of the fort) faced with plaster, in pure Hindu style, with canopied balconies. Only one of its four rooms survives intact.Source: UNESCO/CLT/WHC
Muslims settled in the north of the Indian subcontinent around 1200, but there were Arab communities throughout the peninsula from as early as the 8th century. In 1526 a powerful Islamic state, the Mughal Empire, was created in the north.
Qila Rohtas (Rohtas Fort) was built in 1541-43, at a strategic site on a high plain in the north of what is now Pakistan after the Mughal Emperor Humayun was expelled after his defeat at Chausa by Sher Khan, who was to take the name Sher Shah Suri. The fort was built to control the hostile local people, the Ghakkars, and as a precaution against the return of Humayuu, an event which did not take place until ten years after the death of Sher Shah in 1545, when it was surrendered by its Governor, Tatar Khan Kasi, WithOUt resistance. Its name derives from Rohtasgarh, the site of Sher Shah's victory in 1539 over a Hindu power. After falling to the Mughal invaders, the Fort continued in use until the reign of Aurangzeb (d 1707).
In the course of the subsequent centuries it served successive Durrani and Sikh masters, without being called upon to serve its original fimction. A village grew up within the walls and survives to the present day.Source: Advisory Body Evaluation
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