For a city that is barely 50 years old, Islamabad is bursting with energy, determined to make its mark politically, culturally, and economically in Pakistan. The city was built almost from scratch as the nation’s capital, but the surrounding area has been inhabited since the Stone Age, with several significant historical sites to visit nearby.
Things to do in Islamabad
One of the most striking monuments on Islamabad’s skyline is the Shah Faisal Mosque. The work of a Turkish architect, the design incorporates elements from Arabic, Turkish, and Mughal architectural styles. Unusually, this mosque doesn’t have a dome, but rather a geometric structure surrounded by four spear-like minarets.
At the Lok Virsa Museum, you can learn about Pakistan’s folk traditions and its applied arts. Browse the unique collections, where you’ll find embroidered costumes, intricate jewellery, wood carvings, musical instruments and domestic items.
The Shrine of Bari Imam is arguably Islamabad’s most important religious site. Built by Emperor Aurangzeb in the 17th century, thousands of pilgrims come here for the annual Urs. The shrine is an incredibly beautiful building, and one of the few historical structures still standing within the city limits.
It is well worth travelling outside Islamabad on a day trip to visit what remains of the Indus Valley Civilisation. This area was one of the earliest Aryan settlements in the Subcontinent, and though it can be difficult to make out the archaeological remains, it is nevertheless a site of great historical significance.
Getting around Islamabad
Islamabad has its own rapid transit system, which serves both Islamabad and the neighbouring city of Rawalpindi. These buses have access to dedicated lanes, which makes them the fastest way to navigate through the traffic. Local buses, minibuses and taxis can also be used to get around the city.