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The Capital City of Pakistan --- Islamabad
Aug 09, 2002 06:30 PM 7046 Views
(Updated Aug 09, 2002 06:30 PM)


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I'm a student at a University in USA. I went to USA last year for my studies, before that I was a permanent resident at Islamabad, the Capital city of Pakistan. I was browsing the site today and found out that there's no review of my city here so as i'm on holidays these days from my university and am enjoyig the summer back in Islamabad so I thought why not write a review of this beautiful city from a perspective of a tourist and i've explained somewhat a little history of the city as well. So thats the main idea of this review. So lets get started....


Islamabad, spread over an area of 906.5 kms. The capital area is bordered to the northeast by hills of Margalla range with elevation of 762 to 1,615.5 meters. The area enjoys a pleasant climate.

The idea for Islamabad emerged after a few years of Pakistan's independence in 1947. Even though Karachi was by all means Pakistan's commercial capital but it had a few shortcomings as an administrative center. Initially the Capital was shifted from Karachi to Rawalpindi in 1959.

Hence master plans for this city were laid out and a new city was created against the backdrops of the breath-taking Margalla Hills.

In 1959 the city's site was chosen by a commission. The Capital Development Authority (CDA) was constituted and it was given the task of coming up with the planning and development of Islamabad. This responsibility has remained with the CDA since, including all Municipal services.

In 1961, Construction began with an effort to blend traditional Islamic architecture with modern patterns and requirements. Such world-renowned names in town planning and architecture as Konstantínos Doxiádes, Edward Durell Stone, and Gio Ponti have been associated with the city's development. It is a compact city (area 25 square miles [65 square km]), lying at elevations ranging from 1,500 to 2,000 feet (450 to 600 m).

Then the second phase of construction started in which the secretariat, Pakistan House, President's House, National Assembly Building, Grand National Mosque, and housing for governement staff were builded. Two universities were also builded in the mean time, The University of Islamabad and Allama Iqbal University in 1965 and 1974 respectively.

In 1963, people started moving to this new city. In 1981, Islamabad was placed under the Federal Jurisdiction and administration. Before that it was considered part of the punjab province.

Islamabad is renowned by its greenery and thats why travellers entering Islamabad for the first time are very much amazed by its greenness. Its been estimated that more than six million trees have been planted here since the foundations were laid. The result is that, from the air, the capital seems to have been thrown down in the midst of virgin forest. The best viewpoint of the city is from Daman-e-Koh, a terraced garden on the Margalla hills, from where it is possible to see the whole of Islamabad spread out in front, dominated by the towering minarets of the new Shah Faisal Mosque. The air, at some 1700 feet above sea-level is fresh and bracing. The nights are cool throughout the year.

The urban area is divided into eight zones: administrative, diplomatic, residential, institutional, industrial, commercial, a greenbelt, and a national park that includes an Olympic village and gardens and dairy, poultry, and vegetable farms, as well as such institutions as the Atomic Research Institute and the National Health Centre. The name Islamabad (City of Islam, or City of Peace) was chosen to reflect the country's ideology.

The planned capital area (350 square miles) is an expanse of natural terraces and meadows surrounding the city. A further 1,049 square miles of hinterland, known as the Specified Areas and subject to planning control, is roughly a trapezoid, with the Margalla Hills, 3,000-5,000 feet, in the north and northeast. The southern portion is an undulating plain. It is drained by the Kurang River, on which the Rawal Dam forms a lake holding about 50,000 acre-feet (61,650,000 cubic m) of water.

Islamabad the new capital of Pakistan is a well-planned modern city with large public buildings, attractive parks wide boulevards, newly built beautiful Shah Faisal Mosque and well laid out shopping centers. The Rawal Dam is a popular picnic spot. The nearby Murree Hills serve as a summer resort as well as summer headquarters for many diplomatic missions. Also near the city are the historical ruins of Taxila.

There are top and medium class hotels and motels as well as a camping site.

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