Islamabad is the capital of Pakistan, is located against the backdrop of Margallah Hills at the northern edge of potohar Plateau. In contrast to its twin city Rawalpindi, it is lush green, spacious and peaceful. The master plan of this most modern city was prepared in 1960, started in October 1961. The city name into life on 26th October, 1966, when the first office building of Islamabad was occupied. It is a modern and carefully planned city with wide tree-lined streets, large houses elegant public buildings and well organized bazaars. Crowds or traffic jams are rare. The walkways are shaded and separated from the traffic by rows of flame trees, jacaranda and hibiscus. Roses, jasmine and bougainvillea fill the parks and scenic view point’s show the city to its best advantage.
Shah Faisal Mosque, Federal Government office blocks, Parliament House, President House, Supreme Court building, Pakistan Broadcasting House, Pakistan Television headquarters, Agricultural Development. Cabinet Block, Prime Minister’s Secretariat building. Bank and some other buildings are fine specimens of modern architecture.
A number of playgrounds, green belts, gardens, fountains, avenues, shopping centers and long stretch of Islamabad highway which links it with Rawalpindi and a special color and beauty to this city. Besides there are other worth seeing place of cultural and tourist interest in and around Islamabad. There are ample opportunities for walking jogging hiking and trekking around Islamabad in the Margallah Hills.
Shah faisal Mosque
This beautiful mosque was designed by renowned Turkish Architect, vedat Dalokay and named after the late King faisal of Saudi Arabia. It is spread over 1, 89,705 sq meter with 88 meter high minarets and 40 meters high main prayer hall. The main prayer hall can accommodate 10, 000 persons while the covered porticos and verandahs can take over 24, 000 worshipers. The main courtyard has space for 40,000 people.
Four universities in Islamabad have taken on to themselves, four different kinds of responsibilities. Alama Iqbal open university was established in 1973 in sector H-8 , Quaid-e-Azam university was established in 1967 while international Islamic university , located in the vicinity of Shah faisal Mosque, was created in November, 1980. The National University of Science and Technology was founded in 1991.
This 20,360 sq, meters rose garden is famous for its roses. It has 250 different varieties of roses as well as a dozen types of jasmines. Flower shows are occasionally held here, particularly during spring. Nearby is the Tourist camping site.
Shakarparian hills are situated near Zero Point; at a height of 609 meters its terraced garden offers pleasant and sweeping vistas of Margallah and Muree hills. Rawal Lake, Rawalpindi and Islamabad. Snak Bar facilities are available.
This low hill overlooking Islamabad, known as Daman-e-Koh offers panoramic view of Islamabad. Snack bar facilities are available Diman-e-Koh Restaurant. The places are ideal for afternoon and evening outing with family and friends.
Murghzar mini zoo and childern’s park
Murghazar Mini zoo it is located at the foot of Damin-e-Koh view point. A display corner of Pakistan Museum of Natural History and Japanese style children’s park have also been established near the zoo. The park is a gift to Pakistani children from the children of Japan.
Fatima Jinnah Park, F-9 Park
The entire sector of F-9 is being developed as an attractive urban park. Which will have a profusion of lakes, rock gardens, aquarium, fountains etc. it has been named after Miss Fatima Jinnah, sister of the founder of Pakistan.
Chattar bagh (Park)
Nestling at the base of Muree hills at a distance of 15 km on Islamabad. Muree road. Scenic walks gently flowing stream, waterfall and the surrounding hillside are prefect attraction of this park. The resort has a restaurant, barbecue and two air conditioned tourist cottages. The children’s park and playground are spread over an area of 12.5 acres.
Islamabad Sports complex
A sports complex comprising liaquat Gymnasium for indoor games and Jinnah stadium for outdoor games has been build with the Chinese assistance. It is located on Shahrah-e-Kashmir near Aabpara, Regular national and international sports events are held in the complex.
Rawal Lake (Dams)
This glistening man-made lake covers an area of 8.8 sq km. the terraced garden and the lake are ideal for picnic, fishing and boating. The highest point in the garden commands a panoramic view of the lake, Margallah and Muree hills, Rawalpindi and Islamabad.
Saidpur, a little quaint village famous for its pottery is part of Islamabad. It is located off the Hill Road to the east of Daman –e-Koh. Saidpur was founded by Sultan Said Khan, son of Sultan Sarang Khan. He gave his daughter in marriage to Mughal Prince Saleem who later became Emperor Jahangir. Saidpur was considered a garden resort and a perpetual spring provided water for drinking and for watering gardens around, during the Mughal period.
ART galleries & Museums
PNCA Art Gallery
Idara saqafat-e-Pakistan (Pakistan National Council of the Arts) runs two arts galleries. The National Gallery is located at Islamabad, where contemporary Pakistan art is on permanent display besides revolving exhibitions of paintings. The other is children Art PlaceIslamabad, where children’s art is on display and regular art classes are held for children’s.
Pakistan Museum of Natural History
The Museum of Natural History is located on Garden Avenue in National Park Area. The Museum depicts early human history, geology wildlife of Pakistan. The exhibits are of particular interest to students and children. It is open to public entry is free.
Lok Virsa Museum & Heritage Library
The Lok Virsa (National Institute of Folk & Traditional heritage) works towards preserving the living folk and traditional culture of Pakistan. Its Folk Heritage Museum, located near Shakarparian Hills, has a large display of embroidered costumes, jewellery, woodwork, metalwork; block printing, ivory and bone work. Traditional architecture facades exhibiting such skills are fresco, mirror work, marble inlay, title mosaic and stucco traceries are also displayed. Lok Virsa Heritage reference Library is equipped with resource data on ethnography, anthropology, folk music art, history and crafts. Books on culture, heritage audio and video cassettes of folk and classical vocal and instrumental music are available for sale at Lok Virsa’ sales centre.
Islamabad museum presents a long historic sequence of the land where Pakistan is situated today. Pakistan has been a seat of the world’s leading civilizations form the time immemorial. There is plenty of evidence to support this argument now on display in Islamabad Museum. For example 20 million years old fossil remains, 2 million years old man made stone tools, 7000 years old early human settlements which led to the world famous Indus civilization, gandhra grave culture and gandhara art early Islamic settlements, sultanate and Mughal period, their art and craft. The Museum is located on Garden Avenue. It is open for visitors.
Shrine of Syed Meher Ali Shah (Golra sharif)
The shrine of Syed meherAli Shah of Golra sharif is located 18 km from Rawalpindi, in sector E-11 of Islamabad. He was descendant of a syed family and had link with Syed Abdul Qadir gilani of Baghdad. He was born in 1859, preached and spread the message of Islam during the turbulent times in South Asia. He also wrote beautiful prose and poetry in Persian, Arabic and Punjabi languages, mostly in praise of God and Muhammad (peace be upon him). He died on May 11, 1937. His mausoleum was recently reconstructed comprising of a dome, and a high minaret built with marble.
Shrine of Shah Abdul Latif (Bari Imam)
Noorpur shahan, a village situated at the foot of Margallah Hills, near Qaid-e-Azam University is famous for the mirror studded shrine of hazrat Shah abdul Latif Kazmi, popularly known as Bari Imam. The Shrine was originally built on the orders of Mughals emperor Aurangzed. The death anniversary (Urs) of Bari Imam is observed in the first week of May beginning Monday through Thursday with lot of festivities representing the Potohar culture and attracts people from all over the country. There is cave in the margallah Hills on the back of the shrine where Bari Imam used to sit for meditation. A mosque, where he preached and acted as Imam, is located on hill Road. The tomb of his father is located on the Shahrah-e-Kashmir opposite the Aabpara market. Bari Imam is said to have predicted that a new city would be built near his tomb, which will greatly serve the cause of Islam.