Must see attractions in Pakistan

  • Sights in Lahore

    Lahore Fort

    Built, damaged, demolished, rebuilt and restored several times before being given its current form by Emperor Akbar in 1566 (when he made Lahore his capital), the Lahore Fort is the star attraction of the Old City. Note that the museums here may close an hour or so before sunset.

  • Sights in Islamabad & Rawalpindi

    Shah Faisal Mosque

    The eye-popping Shah Faisal Mosque, nestled at the foot of the Margalla Hills, is one of Asia's largest and reflects an eclectic blend of ultramodern and traditional architectural design styles. Topped by sloping roofs (a stark contrast to the traditional domes found on most mosques), the main prayer hall and courtyard is said to hold around 100,000 people. Most of its cost (pegged at about US$120 million today) was a gift from King Faisal of Saudi Arabia.

  • Sights in Lahore

    Badshahi Mosque

    Completed in 1674 under Aurangzeb as the Mughals' final architectural fling, the sublime Badshahi Mosque, opposite the main gateway to the Lahore Fort, is one of the world's largest mosques. Replete with huge gateways, four tapering minarets of red sandstone, three vast marble domes and an open courtyard said to hold up to 100,000 people, it was damaged by the British and later restored.

  • Sights in Lahore

    Jehangir's Tomb

    Standing in a garden on the northern outskirts of Lahore, the elaborately decorated sandstone Jehangir's Tomb is that of Emperor Jehangir. Built in 1637 by Jehangir's son, Shah Jahan, it's believed to have been designed by Jehangir's widow, Nur Jahan. The tomb is made of marble with trellis decorations of pietra dura bearing the 99 attributes of Allah in Arabic calligraphy. These are inside a vaulted chamber, decorated with marble tracery and cornered with four minarets.

  • Sights in Gilgit

    Uprising Memorial

    The Uprising Memorial, is a memorial to those who rose against the Maharaja in 1947. It includes the graves of the local heroes, Mohammed Babar Khan and Safiullah Beg of the Gilgit Scouts, and Mirza Hassan Khan of the Kashmir Infantry.

  • Sights in Karimabad (Baltit)

    Baltit Fort

    The oldest parts of Baltit Fort date from the 13th century. Over the years more houses and towers were added, and it was fortified. To cement an alliance with Baltistan's Maqpon dynasty in the 17th century, Mir Ayesho II (great-grandson of the legendary Girkis) married a daughter of the Balti ruler, who sent artisans to build a fort at nearby Altit. The princess then came to live in Hunza, bringing her own artisans to improve Baltit Fort.

  • Sights in Rohtas Fort

    Rohtas Fort

    Some 16km northwest of Jhelum, colossal Rohtas Fort is an extraordinary example of military architecture. It was started in 1543 by the Pashtun ruler Sher Shah Suri, to protect the strategic Peshawar to Calcutta (now Kolkata) road from the Mughals and their allies. He never lived to see its completion and work was carried on by succeeding rulers. However, it was soon made redundant when Akbar moved his frontier to Attock and built a new fort there.

  • Sights in Multan

    Mausoleum Of Sheikh Rukn-I-Alam

    Lying just inside the main entrance to the fort, this masterpiece of Mughal architecture is the most significant and attractive of Multan's shrines. A pious and widely loved scholar, Rukn-ud-Din Abul Fatah (1251-1334), commonly known as Sheikh Rukn-i-Alam (Pillar of the World), became head of the Suhrawardiya Sufi branch introduced to the region by his father Baha-ud-Din Zakaria, and is regarded as the patron saint of Multan.

  • Sights in Mardan

    Buddhist Monastery

    This Buddhist Monastery sat on a commanding rocky hill 15km northwest of Mardan is by far NWFP's stand-out Gandharan site, and compares more than favourably with Taxila near Islamabad. It thrived between the 1st and 7th centuries AD before being abandoned, finally giving up its secrets to British archaeologists from 1907-13, who also reconstructed parts of the site.

  • Sights in Lahore

    Faqir Khana Museum

    About 500m inside Bhatti Gate on the right-hand side, a small mansion houses the Faqir Khana Museum. It houses the treasures of the Faqir family, who have lived in Lahore since the 18th century. It is said to be the largest private collection in south Asia, with over 13,000 pieces of art.

  • Sights in Karachi

    Quaid-i-Azam Mausoleum

    This curiously shaped mausoleum is a monument to Pakistan's founder, Mohammed Ali Jinnah. It's set at the top of a stepped pyramid in a small park. Built in 1958-68 from the design of a Turkish architect, it is minimalist and stark. The white marble structure makes some concession to traditional styles with a square plan and supporting a semicircular dome.

  • Sights in Ganish

    Ganish Village

    The restoration of Ganish Village is particularly good and won a Unesco Asia Pacific Heritage Award. While Baltit Fort shows how the cream of society lived, Ganish shows another side of traditional Hunza life. Behind a shaded, tranquil tank are several richly carved wooden mosques, 100 to 200 years old, the restoration of which clinched the award. Legend has it that Ganish warriors practised their river-crossing techniques in the tank before crossing the Hunza River to attack Nagyr villages.

  • Sights in Moenjodaro

    Moenjodaro City

    The most exposed parts of Moenjodaro City are open to visitors, representing just one-third of the area yet to be excavated. Archaeology buffs will get the most out of it; those with a casual interest may be disappointed given the relative effort needed to get here.

  • Sights in Multan

    Qasim Bagh Fort

    Multan's most prominent landmark, now largely in ruins except for its gate and part of the outer walls and bastions, is Qasim Bagh Fort, near Hussain Agahi and Chowk Bazaars. In the fort is the Qasim Bagh Stadium that occasionally hosts cricket matches.

  • Sights in Multan

    Mausoleum of Baha-ud-Din Zakaria

    Just near the Mausoleum of Sheikh Rukni-Alam, the Mausoleum of Baha-ud-Din Zakaria, father of Rukni-Alam, was built in 1263. A disciple of the Sufi mystic Hazrat Shahabuddin Umar Suhrawardy of Jerusalem, Baha-ud-Din (1182-1262) introduced the Suhrawardiya branch to the subcontinent and founded a university in Multan. His tomb was badly damaged in 1848 but was later restored.

  • Sights in Chilas

    Petroglyphs

    Chilas is surrounded by wonderful Petroglyphs, which are easy to access, though be prepared for high temperatures and take plenty of water. There is a sign to the 'Chilas II' site near the KKH police checkpoint. Less than 1km down a jeep track there is a huge rock covered with hunting and battle scenes and Buddhist stupas. A common image is the long-horned ibex, ancient symbol of fertility and abundance, and an elusive trophy animal even now.

  • Sights in Lahore

    Shalimar Gardens

    To the northeast of town, about 4km from the main train station, this was one of three gardens named Shalimar Gardens created by Shah Jahan in the 17th century. It's also the only surviving Mughal garden of several built in Lahore. The Shalimar Gardens are now rather rundown and a far cry from their former glory, but they're still popular with locals. Many of the fountains were under renovation at the time of research and operate at particular times.

  • Sights in Lahore

    Lahore Museum

    Try to set aside a couple of hours to make the most of a visit to the superb Lahore Museum, which has exhibits spanning the recorded history of the subcontinent. Part of the collection was removed to India after Partition but this is still the biggest and perhaps most impressive museum in Pakistan.

  • Sights in Chitral Town

    Chitral Fort

    Chitral Fort has a commanding position on the river. It remains the seat of the mehtar's descendents so you can't enter it without an invitation, although, if you knock on the main gate one of the chowkidars may let you stick your head around the door to see the old cannons in the courtyard. The entrance on the southeast end is to the residential quarters, while the one facing Shahi Bazaar was for the royal guard.

  • Sights in Lahore

    Minar-i-Pakistan

    Soaring into the sky in Iqbal Park, the 60m high Minar-i-Pakistan was built in 1960. It commemorates the signing of the Pakistan Resolution on 23 March 1940 by the All India Muslim League, which paved the way for the founding of Pakistan.