Pakistan — Attractions
Most of Pakistan’s popular attractions are historically-based. From ancient civilizations to strategically important forts, it is evident that Pakistan’s history, both in ancient times and more recently, is quite complex. There are however a few other sites which are of interested to those averse to an overload of historical information. Whether it’s the dramatic architecture of a religious building or the natural beauty of a mountain pass, there is something for everyone.
Shah Faisal Masjid
The most eye-catching mosque in Pakistan, the Shah Faisal Masjid is modeled on a desert tent and is comprised of four 288-foot minarets. Located at the bottom of the Margalla Hills, the Shah Faisal is one of the largest in Asia and uniquely blends contemporary and traditional architectural styles. The mosque is large in stature, being able to hold 100,000 worshipers in it main chamber at a time. All visitors are welcome to take in the inner and outer beauty of this magnificent building.
Address: Faisal Avenue, Magalla Hills, Islamabad
By far the most popular attraction in the Old City of Lahore, the Lahore Fort is a structure which has been worked on over time. Rebuilt and restored by many emperors during Pakistan’s history, the current design is thought to be the culmination of many efforts throughout the centuries. The site of many battles, the fort is steeped in history and is a wonderful place to visit for anyone interested in learning more about the region. The nearby museum provides more intriguing information which many may find useful.
Address: Old City, Lahore
The UNESCO World Heritage site at Taxila is a history buff’s dream. The town is famous for its incredibly well-preserved structures and ancient ruins. There are several monuments on the archeological site, but some of the most popular include Ashoka and Alexander, structures which date back to the Mauryan era, and the myriad of monasteries including monastery in the area of Jaulian, and the monastery located in Mohra Muradu. Located only 20 miles from Islamabad, the site makes for an interesting and educational day trip. The nearby Taxila Museum is an absolute must as it provides much-needed context for the amazing structures which fill the area.
Address: Taxila, Peshawar
An archeological site built in 2600 BC, Mohenjo-daro is a Pakistani gem. Once one of the most powerful and successful cities during the Indus era, Mohenjo-daro today consists of but a few relics. The UNESCO World Heritage site was one of the earliest human settlements at the time in the world and many of the archeological finds support this. Everything from intricate drainage systems and public baths to well-connected city pathways and public assembly halls are present on the site. Visitors to the region should definitely not miss the chance to walk on the same ground as humans who created a civilization to rival that of the ancient Egyptians.
Address: Larkana District, Sindh
This exquisite museum in Lahore is an absolute must. With by far the best collection of exhibits detailing the history of the Asian subcontinent, the Lahore museum is not only for history buffs but also for anyone interested in learning a bit more about the amazing country through which they are traveling. The museum is the biggest and the most comprehensive in Pakistan, even though some of it was removed and taken to India after Partition. Visitors can browse through the 20-odd galleries which house such precious items as ancient Islamic art and relics from the civilization of the Indus Valley region.
Address: Lower Mall Road, Lahore
Representing the country’s diversity in the form of its four provinces and three territories, the impressive national monument is one of the most important monuments in the country and also one of the most architecturally interesting. The monument closely resembles a blooming flower that serves as a symbol for the country’s continuous development and growth. The monument is also surrounded by beautiful well-tended gardens and right next door is a comprehensive museum which tells the lesser-known history of the country.
Address: Garden Avenue, Shakarparian Hills, Islamabad
A stunning and historic mountain pass which connects Pakistan with Afghanistan, the Khyber Pass not only makes for a scenic trip but is also provides the opportunity for travelers to experience an important part of the region’s history. An important trade route which brought silk into the region and once a highly sensitive military area, the pass is one of the oldest in the world. The pass sits at over 3,000 feet and provides breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside.
Address: Pakistan-Afghan border near Peshawar