Although Islamabad is a fairly new city, having been founded in the 1960s to become the new capital of Pakistan, it is surrounded by historic monuments and signs of its important location in the region. Being one of the newest cities in the country it is also the most developed, having been designed to function well as a city rather than the natural haphazard development that is seen in so many cities around the world. As the name suggests, religion plays an important part in the city and there are many mosques and religious sites to be found around the city.
As an important Muslim city it was vital that Islamabad would have a mosque that it could be proud of, and the Faisal Mosque is one of the largest in the world, and has a very contemporary design. The construction and the design of the mosque were both sponsored by Saudi Arabia to support the fledgling state of Pakistan, and by the time it was finished in 1986, it had been in process for over ten years. The design itself is more angular than the traditional round dome of older mosques, and the central building has a minaret at the four corners.
Although the Faisal Mosque is frequently visited during the day, it is lit up during the evening making it a popular place to view. The mosque and the street on which it is located is named after King Faisal of Saudi Arabia who commissioned and sponsored the building of the mosque, but was sadly assassinated before he could even see the beginning of the building work.
Rawat Fort And Pharwala Fort
The Rawat Fort is one of the ancient reminders of the different cultures that have lived in the Islamabad area long before the new capital of Pakistan was built. The fort itself dates from the sixteenth century, and was built by a belligerent warrior tribe known as the Gakhars who were notorious for raiding and stealing from their neighbors. The fort is almost square in shape, and has only two gates which would have made it more defensible. Within the fortifications there is also a mosque with three large rooms beneath each of the large domes. Rawat Fort is around ten miles outside Islamabad.
Pharwala Fort is another of the Gakhar tribe’s forts in the area, and dates from the early sixteenth century. The fort is located with one wall facing the river, with the bank from the river to the fort being particularly steep and rocky, meaning attack would be unlikely to come from this side. Because of the fragile nature of the site, foreign visitors are only allowed to view the site from the outside.
The PakistanMonument is a site that has been developed over the last decade to celebrate the flourishing of Pakistan as an independent nation. The design of the monument itself is said to represent a blossoming flower, a metaphor for the growth of Pakistan, and has four large petals and three small ones to represent the four provinces and the three territories of Pakistan. The interior of each petal has been elaborately decorated with images from across Pakistan, and since it was completed in 2007 has attracted many visitors.
The Shrine Of Bari Imam
Bari Imam was one of the most important Muslim figures in the history of the region, and is also the patron saint of Islamabad. Bari Imam was a particularly well traveled and knowledgeable Muslim teacher, and is noted for converting the people of Chorpur Shahan to Islam. There is a large gathering held at the shrine every year, and it is estimated that well over a million visitors come to the site every year.
This is an artificial lake that has been created in the hills above Islamabad to collect water from the streams flowing from those hills, but has also become an important site for wildlife in the area. With a wide variety of parks and attractive gardens set around the lake it has become a popular place to relax for the people of Islamabad, and is also a hub of many of its recreation activities.
It is also a good place to enjoy water sports such as diving, sailing and water skiing, and for those looking for a more peaceful way to spend the afternoon it is also a pleasant fishing spot.