The latest and most ambitious attempt to build a completely new settlement in the Punjab came with the decision to replace Karachi as the capital of Pakistan. The result is the city of Islamabad, situated in the north of the province on the Pothohar Plateau, beneath the Margalla Hills, work started on the city in 1961 and it is still far from finished; new bits are being added all the time. The city was envisaged by Ayub Khan on an entirely new site which he thought suitable. The name of the capital means “The abode of Islam” and reflects the Islamic ideology in Pakistan. Islamabad is new, planned, spacious, leafy and green. The wide roads, detached houses and gardens contrast somewhat with an old Pakistani city. Islamabad’s twin city of Rawalpindi has plenty of crowds, narrow winding bazaars and ancient buildings all huddled together. A skyline of high rises of posh offices is springing up in Islamabad’s business district with the unusual name of Blue Area. The latest complex Centaurus; designed by Atkins, the same firm of architects that created the Burj-ul-Arab Jumeirah Beach Hotel in Dubai.
Islamabad is so spacious; however, that transport is a necessity. Options available are Suzuki vans, taxis and hired cars. The city is best viewed from the Margalla Hills which provide a pleasant backdrop to the north of the city. The road up into the hills via Daman-e-Koh to Pir Sohawa climbs and bends through alarming hairpins. The hills are good for walking, riding or trekking along a network of trails which wend their way through dry semi-evergreen shrubs and trees, as well as some more exotic species which have been introduced. Wildlife in the Margalla Hills National Park—spread over 16,000 hectares (40,000 acres)—includes barking deer, wild boar, porcupines, rhesus monkeys, jungle cats, leopard cats and the occasional wolf and leopard, as well as the Kalij (black) pheasant, the golden-backed woodpecker and a variety of birds of pretty, eagles among them.
This beautiful city offers some of the lovely places like Lok Virsa museum and Faisal mosque which is one of the biggest mosques in the world. It also has a natural history museum, and eye-catching spots kike Daman-e-Koh, Japanese garden, Shakarparian and Rawal dam, Islamabad, being the federal capital, is also the custodian of the parliament house, presidency and all the foreign embassies.
Islamabad Tourist attractions: