Saturday, February 16, 2013

The City of Mohenjo-Daro

The City of Mohenjo-Daro
In its time, Mohenjo-Daro was a model of city planning. Straight, wide streets, some as wide as 30 feet (about 9 m), crisscrossed the city These streets were carefully laid out to form rectangular blocks for houses and other buildings.

On a hill at the end of the city nearest the Indus River, a walled fortress was built on a platform of bricks. A fortress is a building designed to protect a city or army. The fortress of Mohenjo-Daro like fortresses in all Harappan cities was built in the western part of the city. The thick walls of the ancient fortress protected government buildings, a bathhouse, and a huge storage shed. The shed stood 30 feet (about 9 m) tall and 1,200 feet (about 366 m) long. It held more than enough grain to feed the city's population, which by 1500 B.C. was about 45,000. The grain in the storage shed was also used to pay many of the workers in Mohenjo-Daro.

Most of the buildings in Mohenjo-Daro, including the huge grain shed, were made of bricks. Instead of sun-drying their bricks, as people in the Fertile Crescent and the Nile Valley did, people of the Indus Valley baked their bricks in ovens. These baked bricks were harder and lasted longer than sun-dried bricks.

Only the wealthiest families in the Indus Valley lived in the city's brick buildings. Most people lived in small huts in villages surrounding Mohenjo-Daro. Some city houses were two stories high and were large enough to have a courtyard and rooms for servants. The doors of most city houses opened onto alleys rather than onto
the busy main streets. The fronts of the houses, which had no windows, looked much alike.

Even the smallest city houses had separate rooms inside for cooking, sleeping, and bathing. Some even had a separate room for a well. Almost every house in Mohenjo- Daro had its own bathroom, some with polished brick floors. Family members showered by pouring fresh water over themselves with jugs. The runoff water flowed through brick pipes into a city drain system running along the main streets.

The streets had covered openings that let workers get to the drains to fix problems.
Each house also had a chute through which trash could be emptied into a bin in the street. The garbage was then collected by city workers.

Within Mohenjo-Daro's fortress was a large bathhouse. The main tank was 40 feet (12 m) long and 8 feet (2 m) deep. The bathhouse may have been used by people in the practice of their religion. It may also have been a gathering place where people exchanged news and conducted business.

What were the streets like in Mohenjo-Daro?

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