Islamabad (Pakistan)

Islamabad (pakistan)

Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan, is the tenth most populous city of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the third, together with Rawalpindi, urban agglomeration of the country. The city’s name can be translated as the City of Islam, or the City of Peace.

Geography and nature

Islamabad is located in the northeastern part of the country on the Potwar Plateau, at the northwestern fringes of the Himalaya Mountains. North of Islamabad is the largest mountainous junction in Asia and the world, where the Hindu Kush, Pamir and Karakoram ranges meet.

Climatic conditions in Islamabad are relatively favorable and healthy – it is a green zone with clean air and a sufficient supply of drinking water, which was one of the arguments in favor of building a new capital of Pakistan here. The city is located in a moderate humidity zone, while the rest of Pakistan suffers from an arid climate. The climate is determined by seasonal monsoon winds, the proximity of mountains and a rainy extratropical cyclone that arrives monthly. In these parts, it is nicknamed the “western disturbance”. There are only two natural circumstances that disrupt the overall benign picture: winter fogs that can hang over the city for weeks and summer dust storms that are sometimes quite violent.

The city is surrounded by a common green area, where a large national park is laid out, orchards bloom and even farms have been preserved.

The contrast with the terrain surrounding the city is striking: Islamabad is surrounded by semi-deserts, where unpretentious wormwood and thorny astragalus grow, inhabited by wild sheep and goats, hyenas and jackals, numerous rodents and snakes.

The only major river in the vicinity of the city is the great Asian river Indus.


People who appreciated the fertility of the Potwar Plateau have lived here since ancient times. Sprouts of human civilization have been discovered in these lands – relics of the Soan culture up to 100 thousand years old.

Ancient rulers realized the strategic importance of the territory of the future Islamabad – at the crossroads of important trade routes connecting the countries of Tibet, the Indian Peninsula and Central Asia – where the Margalla mountain pass is located, through which the communication between these regions, separated by impregnable mountains, was carried out. The great armies of the generals Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, Timur and Ahmad Shah Durrani passed through here to reach India.

Pakistan itself, formed on the Muslim part of the former British India in 1947 and finally withdrawn from British control in 1956, is a young state that nevertheless managed to endure in its short history three Pakistan-India armed conflicts in 1947-1949, During the fighting, some 7.5 million Muslims fled from India to Pakistan and 10 million Hindus from Pakistan to India; as a result, East Pakistan achieved independence and became the state of Bangladesh); participated on the side of the Mujahideen and the United States in the Afghan civil war; survived three military coups in 1958, 1977, and 1999; and the separatist coup in Wairistan in 2006-2009, when the province was controlled by tribes and tribesmen, The 2007 terrorist attack that victimized Benazir Bhutto, the 17th Prime Minister (the first woman to hold the post) and wife of the current Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari. The situation in Pakistan remains turbulent today.

In 1959, the Pakis

Capital of Pakistan

tani authorities decided to establish a new capital. A grandiose design by Greek architect Konstantinos Doxiadis was used as a basis.

Before the emergence of Islamabad, the city of Rawalpindi occupied the leading position in this region, where the capital was temporarily moved from Karachi during the construction, which lasted about 10 years. Islamabad finally became the capital in late 1967, when all government offices moved here from Rawalpindi. The present capital and ancient Rawalpindi are in close proximity to each other and are often referred to as twin cities.

Islamabad was a quiet, semi-empty new-build city until the government finally moved in 1967, but this did not last long. A high birth rate and a large influx of migrants now poses great problems for authorities powerless to curb uncontrolled population growth, Islamabad attracts people from all over Pakistan, which has made it the most urbanized area of the country.

Islamabad is now a large modern city, with a convenient, geometrically correct layout and many educational institutions. The city is developing rapidly and its importance to the whole of South Asia is constantly growing.

Islamabad Capital Territory, an administrative district with federal status, was created especially for Islamabad. The city houses the central state organs of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, including the presidential palace, as well as government and parliament buildings and diplomatic missions.

Most of the city’s buildings were erected in 1960-1980. At the same time in Islamabad appeared the National Library and the world-famous Institute of Nuclear Research and Technology, Qaid-e-Azam University. This gave Islamabad the right to call itself not only the capital, but also the cultural center of Pakistan. The city has the highest literacy rate in the country. Since Islamabad was originally built as a capital city, there is almost no industry here, except for some light and food industries, as well as some folk crafts and handicrafts. The financial sector is preferred, as well as some telecommunications industries.

Despite its relative youth, Islamabad has already managed to acquire attractions, mainly new buildings.

The National Monument of Pakistan, or Pakistan Monument, was opened in 2007 and symbolizes the provinces and national territories of the state. The monument is in the form of a blossoming flower: four petals symbolize the provinces of Pakistan, and three others symbolize the territories of Gilgit-Baltistan, Azad Kashmir and the Tribal Area.

The Shah Faisal Mosque, also called the National Mosque of Pakistan, is the largest mosque in South Asia, built on the initiative and partly at the expense of King Faisal ibn Ab-del Aziz al-Saud (1903-1975) of Saudi Arabia: he expressed his wish in 1966, a design competition was held in 1969, construction began after the king’s death, in 1976, and was completed in 1986, The area of the mosque itself is 18.97 hectares, but taking into account the attached area it can accommodate up to 300 thousand worshippers. The height of four minarets is 88 meters, the “dome” in the form of a Bedouin tent – 40 meters.

The pride of all residents of Islamabad is the wide Jinnah Avenue in the Blue District, the main business and commercial center of Islamabad, as well as Daman-e-Koh – observation deck and terraced gardens above the city, and Pir Sohawa – a resort overlooking the city, located on the hills of Margalla.

General Information

  • Location: South Asia, foothills of the Himalayas.
  • Capital of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Cultural, political and economic center of the country. Separate federal capital district.
  • Administrative division: 8 sectors.
  • Ethnic composition: Punjabis, Pashtuns, Sindhis, Saryaks, Muhajirs, Baluchis.
  • Religions: Islam (state religion) – 97% (74% – Sunni, 20% – Shiite, 3% – Ahmadiyya), Christianity and Hinduism – 3%.
  • Languages: official languages are Urdu and English: the most common are Punjabi (72%) and Pashto.
  • Currency: Pakistani rupee.
  • Major lakes (artificial): Rawal, Simli and Lotus Lake.
  • The most important airport: Benazir Bhutto International Airport.
  • Area: 906 km2.
  • Population: 1,151,868 (2011).
  • Population density: 1,271.4 people/km2.
  • Maximum altitude: 1604 m.
  • Average altitude: 518 m.
  • Minimum altitude: 457 m.

Climate and weather

  • Humid subtropical.
  • Average temperature in January: +10.5°C.
  • Average temperature in July: +32.5°C.
  • Average annual precipitation: 1150 mm.
  • Relative humidity: 55%.


  • Political, cultural, scientific and economic center of the country.
  • Industry: textile, food industry.
  • Traditional crafts: leather goods, textiles, onyx, metal, wood.
  • Services: financial, legal, tourist (hotels and resorts), transportation.


  • Mosques: Shah Faisal (1986) and Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) (1965).
  • Presidential Palace Aiwan-e-Sadr (as well as most of the buildings of Islamabad – built in 1960-1980).
  • Supreme Court building.
  • Pakistan National Monument, or Pakistan Monument.
  • Institute of Nuclear Research and Technology.
  • Museums: Pakistan Museum of Natural History, Islamabad Museum.
  • National Library.
  • Qaid-e-Azam University.
  • Allama Iqbal Open University.
  • Lok Virsa – National Institute of Folk and Traditional Heritage.
  • Daman-e-Koh observation deck and gardens.
  • Fatima Jinnah Park, Jinnah Avenue.
  • Pir Sohawa Resort.
  • Rose and jasmine garden.
  • Saudi-Pak Tower building.
  • Centaur Hotel under construction, planned as a 7-star hotel.
  • Benazir Bhugto International Airport.
  • Blue Eria (“Blue District”) business and shopping area; markets: Abpara, Melody, Caverd, Juma Bhaar, Jinnah Market.
  • Artificial lakes Rawal, Simli and Lotus Lake.
  • Margalla Hills National Park; Saidpur village: the historic town of Golra Sharif.
  • Taxila Archaeological District (ruins of ancient city, Gandhara sculptures, Apsidal temple) (from 600 BC to 500 AD).

Fun Facts

  • Architect K. Doxiadis, the author of the Islamabad construction project, is the creator of the theory of ekistics – the formation and evolution of human settlements, which proposed a comprehensive approach to urban planning. The theory is controversial in many ways.
  • The first capital of Pakistan after gaining independence in 1947 was the city of Karachi, in 1959 the neighboring city of Rawalpindi became the temporary capital during the construction of Islamabad. Islamabad was officially declared the administrative center of Pakistan in 1965 and became the capital of the state in 1967.
  • The first military coup was in 1958, the second in 1977 and the third in 1999.
  • The official language Urdu is spoken by about 10% of the population; the second official language is English. Panjabi, native to 42% of the country, has no official status.
  • Margalla Hills National Park is located in the heights surrounding Islamabad. The parkhas an area of 16 hectares. It is home to rare species of animals: muntjac deer and pheasant monal, as well as many venomous snakes, including cobra, daboya. or Russell’s viper (it accounts for more than half of the registered snakebites) and krait, whose venom when bitten has a direct effect on the victim’s brain, killing in 30 seconds.
  • In the vicinity of Islamabad there is a UNESCO-protected archaeological zone Taxila (TakhPa), where on 25 km2 found traces of civilization from 600 BC to 500 AD. In the open air and in the museum Taxila can be seen about 4000 objects telling about the culture of the Persians, Greeks, Scythians, Parthians and Kushans.
  • In Pakistan, it is customary to decorate trucks with beads, fringes, ornate paintings, carvings and lights – the residents are more eager to drive and transport goods in such vehicles.
  • The village of Saidpur (named after Said Khan, son of the ruler of the Potwar region during Babur (1483-1530) – ruler and military leader, founder of the Mughal state), which later became part of Islamabad, has been known since the 16th century.
  • Artificial lakes help to preserve moisture in the air. There are several artificial lakes directly in the city: Rawal – the largest, Lotus Lake and Simli Lake.
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