Located at the foot of the Margalla hills, the capital city of Pakistan ‘Islamabad’ was constructed during the 1960’s to house the country’s major governing bodies. Now, half a decade later, Islamabad is a picturesque city comprising of a population of 2 million along with its neighbouring city Rawalpindi. It has also been the home of NIMUN since its inception and has hosted both national and international delegates every year. Islamabad is a famous tourist location owing to the city’s location and scenic beauty. The Pakistan Monument rests atop the Shakarparian hills and represents Pakistan’s four provinces and three territories as four main petals of the monument represent the four provinces and the three smaller petals represent the territories. Pakistan’s culture and heritage has been represented on the petals in the form of beautiful carvings. The administrative backbone of the country, including the Presidency, Supreme Court, PM House and Pakistan Secretariat, are located along Constitution Avenue. The Faisal Mosque, with a backdrop of the Margalla Hills, stands tall as the largest mosque of Pakistan and is an iconic symbol of the country around the world. The mosque can be seen from miles away due to its central location. Designed by a Turkish architect and financed by the late King Faisal bin Abdul-Aziz of Saudi Arabia, the mosque is unlike any other traditional mosques in Pakistan and covers an area of 54,000 square feet. Accommodating around 240,000 worshippers, it is also a famous tourist location.
As religion is a large part of Pakistani culture, many festivities and cultural traditions are heavily influenced by it but Pakistan is rich in both visual and performing arts. Pakistani music ranges from folk to pop and the world-renowned traditional styles: Qawwali and Ghazal, which focus heavily on religion and poetry. Dance is also a part of the culture and dance styles differ provincially from the Bhangra being famous in Punjabi culture to Attan in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Art and architecture are also a distinct part of the heritage. For travellers and tourists alike, the country offers everything from archaeological sites to one of the largest mountain ranges in the world, from mile-long deserts to beaches and lakes, art and architecture centuries-old in the form of mosques, palaces, monuments and heritage sites to dresses and handmade crafts, the art of making which has been passed down through generations. And food - endless options of palatable combinations and flavours, we are all food lovers here.
Daman-e-Koh, located on the Margalla hills provides an expansive view of the city and is a famous destination for both the residents of the city and tourists. Surrounded by the lush green Margalla hills, the road to Daman-e-Koh is a treat in itself. Several hiking trails have been developed among the hills and are a popular excursion point for tourists and residents. A compact city, Islamabad can be described as being elegantly urban with small coffee shops and food joints co-existing peacefully with residential areas. Super and Jinnah Super markets are the oldest shopping locations in the area which provide everything from food to clothing. The Centaurus is the city’s main shopping mall fulfilling all retail needs of the city’s residents. The Saidpur Village, located east of Daman-e-Koh is more than 500 years old. A section of the village has been converted into a tourist attraction that provides a scenic view of the Margallas and several dining options that serve all types of traditional Pakistani foods.
Perhaps Islamabad’s best offering is the Monal Restaurant located in Pir Sohawa on top of the Margalla Hills. At more than 3000 feet above sea level, Pir Sohawa is Islamabad’s highest spot and is a famous destination for visitors and residents both. The Monal Restaurant provides an exceptional dining experience due to the view the restaurant provides and the palatable authentic Pakistani cuisine made by its chefs. Islamabad may be a young city, but in its short history, has managed to encompass and showcase the delicate mix of all that is Pakistan in all its glory.