Abbottabad (ab-it-uh-baad), Hazara’s headquarters and biggest town, was founded as a British garrison town in the 1850s, and the shady gardens, church bells and wide streets in the Cantonment evoke the colonial era. Beside the Cantonment is a compact and vibrant bazaar. At 1220m, Abbottabad has a cool climate, and one of the country’s finest hill-station retreats is an hour away at Thandiani. Southbound cyclists should take a rest and contemplate the scenic mountain route via Murree rather than the truck-choked KKH. Apart from changing money for an excursion into the Kaghan Valley there’s little reason for other travellers to make a halt.
The town has a sizable Christian minority and three active churches (Presbyterian, Anglican and Catholic). The language of the region is Hindko Punjabi, but you can get by with English and a little Urdu.