Pakistan Airport Guide
Pakistan's former capital and its largest city, Karachi is situated
on the shores of the Arabian Sea near the mouth of the Indus.
The capital of Sindh Province, it is now a modern industrial
city and Pakistan's major port. Though not strictly a tourist
centre, there are a number of attractions, such as the fish
wharf where brightly-coloured boats bring in seafood, one of
the country's major foreign exchange earners. There are hundreds
of lively street restaurants, tea houses, samosa and juice stalls.
Boats can be hired to sail out of the harbour. There are architectural
reminders of the former British Imperial presence, especially
in the clubs. The most magnificent building, however, is the
Quaid-e-Azam's Mazar, the mausoleum of the founder of Pakistan,
made entirely of white marble with impressive north African
arches and magnificent Chinese crystal chandeliers. The changing
of the guard, which takes place three times a day, is the best
time to visit. Other places to visit are the National Museum,
parks, the zoo and a beach at Clifton.
A region known for the remarkable quality of its light, Sindh
has two main places of interest: Mohenjodaro, a settlement dating
back 5000 years, and Thatta, notable for its mausoleums and
mosques. There are sporting facilities on Lake Haleji.
Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan since 1963, and Rawalpindi
are both located on the Pothowar Plain. The decision to build
a new capital city in this area transformed the sleepy town
of Rawalpindi into a busy counterpart to Islamabad. Rawalpindi
now houses many of the civil servants working in the government
district. The old part of the town boasts fine examples of local
architecture and bazaars crammed into the narrow streets where
craftsmen still use traditional methods.
As a planned capital, Islamabad lacks some of the regional flair
of other cities, but it houses an interesting variety of modern
buildings in the part designated for government offices. The
city itself has an air of spaciousness, with parks, gardens
and fountains below the silhouette of the Margalla Hills. In
the midst of these lies Daman-e-Koh, a terraced garden with
an excellent view over the city. Also in Islamabad is the Shah
Faisal Masjid (mosque) which can accommodate 100,000 worshippers.
The majestic white building comprises four 88m (288ft) minarets
and a desert tent-like structure, which is the main prayer chamber.
Lahore is an historic, bustling city with buildings of pink
and white marble. There is plenty to see: bazaars, the Badshahi
Mosque (one of the largest mosques in the world, and an example
of Moghul architecture rivalled only by the Taj Mahal), the
beautiful Shalimar Gardens, the National Museum of Archaeology
and the Gate of Chauburji. Near Taxila are two interesting excavated
sites, Sirkap and Jaulian, dating back to the Buddhist Gandhara
period. Other towns in the Punjab include Faisalabad (formerly
Lyallpur), Attock, Harappa, Multan and Bahawalpur.
Some of the highest mountains in the world can be found in this
province, such as the famous Nanga Parbat and the second highest
mountain in the world, K2, also known as Mount Godwin-Austen.
The Baltoro Glacier and the Batura Glacier are the largest outside
the polar regions. The settlements of Gilgit and Skardu are
well-known stop-offs on the mountaineering trail.