Peshawar (Pashto: پېښور; Urdu: پشاور) is a relatively prosperous frontier city in Pakistan near the Pakistan-Afghan border, which gives it a distinct Afghan flavour. Peshawar is the capital and largest city of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Peshawar sits in a large valley near the eastern end of the Khyber Pass, known as "City on the Frontier", its strategic location on the crossroads of Central Asia and South Asia has made it one of the most culturally vibrant and lively cities in the greater region. Peshawar is irrigated by various canals of the Kabul River and by its right tributary, the Bara River.
Peshawar is the major educational, political and business centre of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Peshawar is also famous for its kebab (Chapli Kebab) and Peshawari Shoe. Peshawar's recorded history goes back as far as at least 539 BC, making it one of the oldest living cities in South Asia.
Peshawar is the sixth-largest city in Pakistan, and the largest Pashtun-majority city in the country. Situated in the broad Valley of Peshawar east of the historic Khyber Pass, close to the border with Afghanistan, Peshawar's recorded history dates back to at least 539 BCE, making it the oldest city in Pakistan and one of the oldest cities in South Asia.
In Ancient era, the city was known as Purushpura and served as the capital of the Kushan Empire under the rule of Kanishka; and was home to the Kanishka stupa, which was among the tallest buildings in the ancient world. Peshawar was then ruled by the Hephthalites, followed by the Hindu Shahis, before the arrival of Muslim empires. The city was an important trading centre during the Mughal era, before becoming part of the Pashtun Durrani Empire in 1747, and serving as their winter capital from 1776 until the capture of the city by the Sikh Empire in March 1823, who were followed by the British Indian Empire in 1846 until it became part of independent Pakistan in 1947.
Like much of northwest Pakistan, Peshawar has been severely affected by violence from the attacks by terrorist groups from 2010 and onwards.
Get in edit
By plane edit
- 1 Bacha Khan International Airport (PEW IATA) (in the center of Peshawar). It is served by all Pakistan carriers including national flag carrier Pakistan International Airlines (PIA). There are domestic flights to Peshawar Airport from Chitral, Islamabad, Karachi and Lahore.
By road edit
Peshawar is almost 2 hr drive from Islamabad (186 kilometres (116 mi)). It is connected with Islamabad via Motorway M-1 and via national highway N-5.
By bus edit
Buses and minibuses run to many parts of the country to here.
- Daewoo, operates the most luxurious services to Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Multan, Faisalabad, Abbottabad and Lahore (Rs 600 per person).
By train edit
Get around edit
Taxi & auto-rickshaws give Peshawar two of its most well-known traits: polluted air and clogged streets, and are the most popular way to get around the city.
Walking is another option.
The Old City Centre with the Qissa Khwani Bazaar, Bazar-e-Kalan, Clock Tower Square, Chowk Yadgar, Tehsil Gorgathri, Mohabbat Khan Mosque, Sunehri Masjid (Sadar), Peshawar Museum, Khyber Bazar. Parks includes Khalid bin Waleed park, Shahi bagh and Wazir bagh. The traditional halal food of Peshawar can be bought from Namak Mandi, Khyber Bazar. The famous "Kulfa" can be accessed from Qissa Khwani Bazar from April–September every year, when there is hot weather in the city.
- 1 Bala Hissar Fort. One of the most historic places of Peshawar. The word Bala Hisar is from Persian meaning “elevated or high fort”. Renowned historian, Dr A.H. Dani in his book "Peshawar-Historic City of Frontier" writes that when Hiuen Tsang, a Chinese traveller, visited Peshawar in 630 AD, he spoke of a "royal residence".
- 2 Peshawar Museum.
- 3 Peshawar Gorkhatri City Museum. Detailing the archaeological and ethnological history of Peshawar. The museum is located at Gorkhatri, a Mughal-era caravanserai and public park.
- 4 Cunningham Clock Tower. Built in 1900, in commemoration of the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria. The tower was named after Sir George Cunningham, former British governor in the province.
- 5 Sethi Mohallah (سیٹھی محلہ). Traditionally arranged neighbourhood, a mohallah, in the old city of Peshawar. It contains seven South Asian mansions built by the influential Sethi family in the late 19th century. The mansions were built in a style reminiscent of Central Asia with elaborate wooden carvings. Some of the houses are open for visitors.
- Islamia College, University of Peshawar: is the first educational institution in the province built during the British rule in India.
- University of Peshawar, founded in 1950.
- Sethi Houses
- Ghor Khutree
- Ghanta Ghar (Clock Tower) The clock in this tower is one among the pair (second one in England) presented by the Queen Elizebeth II of the UK.
- Sir Sahibzada Abdul Qayum Museum, University of Peshawar
- Hayatabad is a posh neighbourhood of Peshawar. It includes parks like Tatara Park and Bagh-e-Naran which also has a zoo. A swimming pool.
- Villages Regi, Lakaray, Mulazi, Nasir Bagh, Palosi, Naway Kalay, Achini, Tehkal, Shahi Bala, Mathra, Pir Bala, Hazar Khawani, Rehman Baba Mazar,
- Sphola stupa: this is a 2nd-century Buddhist Kushan empire remains.
- Khyber road, Zarai village. As it is in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, it requires permission of Khyber agency and FATA secretariat. You can get there by taking a taxi from Peshawar.
Religious buildings edit
- 6 Mahabat Khan Mosque. Mahabat Khan, the governor of Peshawar, built it in 1630 AD during the reign of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan (the ruler of the Mughal Empire in India from 1628 until 1658.
- 7 Qasim Ali Khan Mosque. 17th-century mosque.
- 8 All Saints Church.
- 9 St. John's Church. The city's oldest church, opened in 1860.
- 10 Goraknath Temple. Built in 1851, this is one of few surviving Hindu temples in Peshawar.
- In the summertime hiking tours to the mountains are offered. Ask at Green Tours in front of the Greens Hotel, Peshawar Cantt, and Pearl Tours of the Pearl Continental Hotels. This can also be done by hiring a car, jeep or pickup from local 'rent-a-car' servicing private agencies at a very cheap rates.
- Khyber Train Safari
- Shah Qabool Gems Street, Namak mandi. Gems and minerals.
- Garrison Park
- Deans shopping mall
- Qayyum Stadium
- Swan swimming and Snooker (pool)
- Tatara Park and Bagh-e-Naran Park & zoo
- PDA building: Arabic Chicken Shwarma, Shopping
- Zarghuna Mosque
- Iqra Chowk:- Restaurants (Bithani Plaza etc.)
- City towers and nearby: Chief Burger, ice cream shops, shopping plazas, Dunkin' Donuts.
- Afghan Sadaqat juice shop
- Afghan mantu (Afghan dumplings), underground Afghan restaurants
- Shopping (from the many Afghan shops)
Before going to buy anything in Peshawar, you first have to be ready to bargain. You will need to bargain at most of the shops for items especially fabric. If you are a foreigner, be careful when shopping at shops that do not have fixed prices. The shop keepers will try their best to rip you off. When you ask how much, be prepared to offer half of what they ask and then bargain from there. Also, if the price still seems to high, don't be afraid to walk away. Many times they will call you back or you can find the same thing at another shop nearby. It is best to take a local person with you when shopping at stores that require bargaining.
The old town is a good place to stock up on Pakistani and Afghani handicrafts. These markets are located in almost all parts of the Peshawar, most commonly at Bazar Shah Qabool Olia, Namak Mandi, Khyber Bazar, Sadar Road, etc. (maslampsh)
Shafi Market (and surrounding bazaars) in the Sadar area is one of the best places to buy undergarments and other clothing fabric.Ask for a rare peshawari panty which is hand stitched. You will find every kind of cloth from simple everyday fabric to fabric suitable for the fanciest of occasions. The shops in Shafi Market work on a bargaining system for the most part. The market is usually very crowded, so keep a close watch on your money.
Dean's Trade Centre can be accessed from Sadar Road and Sonheri Masjid Road. Many of the shop keepers who have stores on Shafi Market are also opening stores in Dean's Trade Center, however there is a lot more than just fabric at Dean's Trade Centre. In general the prices are a bit higher at Dean's Trade Center, but it is much easier to shop there as it is less crowded. Some of the stores have fixed prices, but most will bargain with you. A to Z Mart is a great general department store in Dean's that has clothing, cosmetics, stationary, housewares, and groceries. The prices are all fixed, but very reasonable.
In the Sadar area, the best place to buy fabric at fixed prices is at R-Sheen on Arbab Road. There are a number of ready made clothing shops along Sadar Road and Arbab Road as well. Most have fixed prices, but some will still bargain a bit so don't be afraid to ask. Also on University Road there are several big plazas and fashion outlets with outstanding class and designs. Most of them are fixed price. Take a look in the shop; if it's fixed price they must have it displayed otherwise don't forget to bargain.
- Mr. Cod, Bithani Plaza, Iqra University Chowk, University Road, Peshawar.
- Chief Burger, University Town. Best fast food in town offering several kinds of burgers, pizzas, etc.
- Clock Tower Food Street, Peshawar City, for all local and traditional spicy foods.
- Masoom's Cafe also known as Cafe Crunch, University Town, for continental foods.
- Pearl Continental Hotel Roof Top Bar B Que, on weekends only.
- Habibi Restaurant (can be in city and entrance to Hayatabad) for local and traditional foods.
- Khyber friends, a small restaurant located on university road near Orakzai plaza. the food is delicious and a reasonable price.
- Chapli ('sandal') Kabab, a flat beef kebab, one of the famous dishes of Peshawar. Several famous kabab selling shops are around. Information about them can be obtained from the travel agents or local hotels and guides. To name a few: Jalil Kabab House near Hayatabad Entrance is the most popular also you can find some others near the Ring Road Hayatabad
- Faluda, a sweet dish mainly found on the Peshawar markets and bazaars especially Qisa-Khwani Bazaar.
- Fried Fish is also another good treat, it can be found in Jalil Kabab House and some other restaurants near Hayatabad on Ring Road.
- Easy to eat and everywhere available "Samosa" and "Pakora"
Peshawar is known for its Kawa (Green Tea) which has a unique flavour, and is usually served sweet.
Sharbat-e-Sandal is a sweet, non-carbonated drink unusually found in markets in summer. It has a good taste and a yellowish-green transparent colour - look out for the black seeds. Served ice cold.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is a dry state, making alcohol hard to come by.
- The Rose Hotel, Khyber Bazaar, Shoba Chowk, +92-91-250-755. Good sized and fairly clean rooms with attached bath in a large, secure building. Parking is available. Another popular place to meet others, and the office can arrange trips to the Khyber Pass and other areas, but at a premium. Doubles with cable TV and en suite bathroom. They can put you in touch with a couple of good guides. They can be contacted by asking at the reception.
- Amin Hotel, main GT Road. Rs 4745 (Mar 2022)
- Greens Hotel, Saddar Rd, (1 block west of Tourist Inn Motel), +92-91-270-182. A nice mid-range hotel, with a decent restaurant.
- Hotel Grand, Tehkal Road, Peshawar. Room prices start from Rs 11862 (Mar 2022).
- Shelton Guest House Peshawar, 71 Abdara Rd, University Town, ☏ . With a restaurant. Rs 5292 (Mar 2022).
Stay safe edit
Before going to Peshawar, check for travel advisories from your government's website, as these regions have become volatile and unstable, with fighting between the Taliban forces and Pakistani military.
Peshawar is the home of several ethnic and religious groups and has had a number of terrorist attacks.
Although the number of terrorist attacks declined from 2010 to 2014, in the 2014 Peshawar school massacre, Taliban militants killed 132 school children.
Police officers can be found in the streets and roads to ensure safety.
As a stranger, and therefore a guest, you can usually rely on the support of people around you should something or someone feel threatening. When you are there, obey their laws and don't behave in a supposed 'foreigner' way.
- Go north (although not recommended for foreigners) to the Swat District (Kalam valley), Upper Dir District (Kumrat Valley) or Chitral District. Several areas bordering on Peshawar, the agencies, are administered by tribal authorities only, and outside the control of the regular police. Entry to these areas can be dangerous for foreigners.
- The Khyber Pass is one hour away and could normally be visited by taking a taxi, but due to Pakistan's security situation it is impossible to visit the Khyber Pass, and it would be extremely dangerous if you could.