Sirkap is an archaeological site on the bank opposite to the city of Taxila, Punjab, Pakistan. The Greco-Bactrian king Demetriusin built the city in 180 BC after he invaded India. It was rebuilt by king Menander according to the Greek fashion.

<< The ruins of Sirkup city are the largest set of Archeological remains at Taxila

The kingdom of Demetrius consisted of Gandara, Arachosia, the Punjab and a part of the valley of Ganges. It was organized around one avenue and there were fifteen perpendicular streets, covering a surface of around 1200x400 meters.

During 2nd century B.C. Sirkap became the major city of Taxila. The city is heavily influenced by Greek city planning principles introduced after Alexander the Great`s conquest in the 3rd century B.C. The city once had a 6-meter thick, 5-kilometer long defensive wall made of course rubble which is now a ruin. There were temples, houses, shrines, and stupas all along the main north-south street.

On the east side of the street are notable structures as the Shrine of the Double-Headed Eagle, the Apsidal Temple, and at the south end of the streets is a palace. Sirkap flourished under several different regimes, beginning with the Greeks, then the Scythians, Parthians, and finally the Kushanas.

After the foundation of a city at nearby Sirusukh by King Kanishka of the Kushan dynasty, the city became less important.

World Heritage Listing

Sirkap (Taxila) has been inscribed in 1980 upon the World Heritage List of the convention concerning the protection fo the world cultural and natural heritage. Inscription on the list confirms the exceptional universal value of a cultural site, which deserves protection for the benefit of all humanity.


The remains of the coty belong to four distinct super-imposed periods of pre-Greek, Greeks, Scythians and Parthians. The city founded approximately in the first quarter of the second century B.C. by the Bactrian Greek King Menander.

The city was well planned and fortified, the builders introduced their ionic and corinthian orders of architecture at Sirkap. teh Greek influence enhanced further under their successors Scythians and Parthians. The Parthian King Gondophares following the Greek pattern,built the city with its main street in the middle studded with shops and places of worship like Apsidal Temple, Sun Temple and Double-Headed Eagle Stupa and King's Palace close to the Eastern gate.

Christian Apostle Saint Thomas came to Sirkap in 40 A.D. and was received by the King in his Royal Palace. The famous traveler Apollonius of Tayana who visited TAxila in 44 A.D. mentions "Taxila about the size of Nineveh and walled like Greek City. The narrow streets arranged well like that of Athens". It was under Parthians that "Gandhara Art" gradually emerged out of the classical forms and local iconographic traditions. A third century B.C. Aramaic inscription of Asoka and other objects like coins and Househo indicate more indebtness ot the Western contact.

In about 60 A.D., the Great kushanas completely swept away the Parthians and carved a mighty empire in India extending up to River Ganges. Tehy laid the fondation of the third city site of Taxila at Sirsukh in about 80 A.D.

The remains of Sirkap (Taxila) for their outstanding historic and architectural importance have been declared "Protected Antiquity" under the antiquities act - 1975. And whosoever will destroy, break damage, alter, injure, deface or mutilate or scribble, write or engage any inscription or sign on any antiquity shall be punishable under section 19 of the said act with rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years or with fine of Rs. 200, 000/- (about $3,600) or with both.