Interesting Facts About The Great Bath, The World's Oldest Public Pool

The Great Bath.
The Great Bath.

The Great Bath was located in the ancient city of Mohenjo-Daro. Its remains are among the most famous ancient structures of the old civilization of the Indus Valley region of Pakistan’s’ Mohenjo-Daro. According to archaeologists, the structure dates back almost 5000 years. It is widely regarded as the earliest public pool or reservoir in the pre-modern world. The Bath is part of the greater citadel complex according to excavations that lead to to its discovery in the 1920s.

Dimensions Of The Great Bath

The Bath measures 38.97 by 22.99 ft with a depth measuring about 7.97 feet. It was constructed using mainly fine bricks. Two broad staircases were used to access the citadel with one on the northern side while the other being on the southern side; there are two gaps at the edge of the two stairs that are believed to have had wooden treads. At the end of the stairs, there is a 4.5-foot mound while on one end there was a hole which could have served the purpose of draining water into the bath. The water that was used in the bath came from a large well in a nearby room although evidence suggests that rainwater may also have been collected for this purpose.

A Tank

To keep the bath watertight the floor was made of a sawed brick which was set using special mortar made from gypsum and reinforced using a bitumen sealer to sandwich the bricks and prevent leaking. Mud was also laid on edges using plaster that was also applied to the walls. On the edges of the pool, specifically the northern, eastern, and southern ends, were large columns presumed to have held window frames.

Functions Of The Great Bath

The Great Bath of Mohenjo-Daro could have served for some religious functions as the water could have been used to cleanse and perhaps to renew the health of those who bathed in it.

Priest Training 

The adjacent street from the bath has a huge building that had several rooms, verandahs, and a series of staircases on both sides that led to the roof and the top floor. Given the nature and function of the bath, the building is said to have been the residence of the priests who were there to oversee functions and rituals in the Great Bath. Therefore, it was referred to as the training place of the priests.

Significance To The People Of Pakistan

The Bath of Mohenjo-Daro is one of the oldest structures in the ancient world and civilization of Pakistan and it is believed to have been built 4500 years ago. The structure became one of the earliest sites to be listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site in South Asia. The bath remains relatively well preserved after its discovery in 1926. It is believed Mohenjo-Daro was abandoned in 1900 BC, at the time when the civilization in the Indus Valley begun to decline rapidly. However, nobody knows what for certain what ended the Indus Valley civilization.


More in Travel