THE CITY OF LIGHTS!
Marco Polo mentions the Indus Valley as “the River of Kingdoms.” The region that reaches from the Arabian Sea to Karakoram and Hindu Kush Mountains, has a land so fertile that it has been subjected to the rule of every empire since the beginning of time, such that even Alexander the Great had ridden his horse upon these lands. Today’s Karachi is the most important city of Pakistan, which govern the region for half a century now.
Jinnah International Airport is located at about 14km northeast of the city centre. Various buses and taxis are provided at the airport to help passengers travel to the city center. Buses and three-wheeled rickshaws are in common use.
Some of the upscale hotels are : Pearl Continental Hotel, Avari Towers, Mövenpick Hotel, Dreamworld Resort-Hotel & Golf Course, Marriott Hotel, Regent Plaza Hotel and Ramada Plaza. If you prefer low priced accommodation you can stay at Hotel Faran, Elegance Guest House, Regine Inn Hotel, Cosy Inn Guest House or Star Guest House.
The monumental mausoleum of the founder of the modern Pakistan, Muhammed Ali Jinnah, who is also known as “Quaid-i Azam”, made of white marble is a must see. The mausoleum reflects the spirit of the city. Both native and foreign, many visitors go there starting from early morning to climb the white stairs and get in line-patiently and respectfully- to get close to the middle section where Jinnah rests. The world’s largest domed mosque is located in Karachi. The dome of Masjid-e Tooba is 72 meters in diameter and it does not have any columns or pillars. The balance is achieved by the low walls that surround the dome from the ground. The mosque, which has a capacity of approximately five thousand people, was built in 1969. The tomb, Ziarat of Shah Qazi Abdullah, is especially crowded during evening hours. The sacred part of the tomb up the green and very long stars is quite impressive with its misty atmosphere combined with the smell of incense in the air. There are flowers surrounding the place. Visitors purchase flowers and a dessert made of sesame, and leave them at the tomb. The Empress Market is one of the places where visitors of Pakistan stop by the most. As the Frere Hall which was used as a train station, museum, and library before; the Empress market has a neo-classical structure that belongs to the time of Queen Victoria. Also there are many churches similar to those in Europe. While wandering around in Karachi, not only you can come by streets that remind you of England or the United States, but also you may find yourself back in the East. The salespeople, bazaars, and especially the outdoor laundromats beside rivers remind you in which part of the world you are, at once. That’s why Dobi Gath, the largest outdoor laundromat, is a must-see.
The Empress Market comes first among the most enjoyable shopping areas. Wholesalers of spices in stores with a Victorian Style stand out. Saddar, located downtown, houses many stores with varying sizes. It is mostly based on fabrics and clothing. Other famous shopping areas are Gulf Shopping Mall, Bahadurabad, Tariq Road, Zamzama, Zaib-un-nissa Street (Elphinestone Street), Hyderi, and Waterpump (Anarkali Bazar).
Clifton is the closest one of the many beaches in the city, to downtown. The people of Karachi enjoy family picnics on this long beach. Horserides and camelrides are organized. There is an aquarium and a theme park close to the beach. Although the Hawke’s Beach, a couple of kilometers away from the city, offers the delights of swimming and camelrides, the beach also is the home where caretta caretta’s lay their eggs. The Sandspit Beach, which is located in the northwest part of Karachi, host not only the caretta carettas but also the Olive Ridley turtles which take their name from their olive colors and their heart-shaped shells. The beaches are most enjoyable during spring months, As summer months bring the monsoon rains, it is very rainy during that period. The city has a temperature average that enables swimming in the sea from September to June. Karachi is a city that comes together with nature. While the fertile Indus Valley surround the city, elaborate parks in downtown also catch your eye. The largest park in Asia, Baghe-ibn-e-Qassim, is located in Karachi. The park is recognized as one of the most beautiful in the world. Among the theme parks, Aladdin, Sinbad, Safari, Hill, Koza Water, Sun Way Lagoon Water, Fiesta and Go-Aish stand out. The culture of Pakistan is visible both in the streets and museums of Karachi. Many important cultural establishments of the country are located in the city. The historical Hindu Gymkhana is of service as the National Academy of Visual Arts. Studies of classical music and modern theatre are ongoing in the academy. In the National Arts Council, you can attend the readings of “mushaira”, the traditional poem of ,especially, Pakistan and Northern India.Mushaira, called “mehfil” in the Urdu language, is a type similar to ghazal. You should visit the Museum of Mohatta Palace and the Pakistan National Museum as well. There are also two major festivals in the city. The Music Festival, which more than three thousand people in Karachi follow, has been organized since 2004. The Kara Film Festival, which films and documentaries-both local and international- attend, is one of the most important connections of the country to cinema. The first one of this film festival was held in 2001. In Pakistan and Karachi, which were under English rule for many years, Anglo-Saxon customs are continued. Examples for that can be denoted with the fact that cricket, golf, hockey, box, polo, and snooker-which is the most beloved type of billiards of the English- are the sports that the Pakistani people like the most.