Islamabad & Rawalpindi The Twin Cities of Pakistan
Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan, lies against the backdrop of the ever-green Margalla Hills. Islamabad is located 8 miles north of Rawalpindi's city center. Rawalpindi is the military headquarters of the Pakistan Armed Forces and also served as the nation's capital while Islamabad was being constructed in the 1960s. It is this complementing and supporting role that these cities have demonstrated in the past and continue offering that makes these two cities "Truly Twin".
The name Islamabad (City of Islam or City of Peace) was carefully chosen to reflect Pakistan's ideology. Islamabad was also chosen as the capital of Pakistan due to its strategic geographical positioning; Surrounded by mountains and lakes, having quick access to the country’s northern and southern areas and possessing gateways to the major water resources of the heavily agriculture based country, Islamabad truly reigns the Country both geographically and strategically.
Islamabad is a rather modern and clean city, especially in comparison to other cities in Pakistan. Islamabad's contemporary architecture walks a tight-rope between modernity and tradition. Islamabad pictures a lush fully green and peaceful atmosphere. It is a city of wide tree-lined streets, large houses, elegant public buildings and well organized bazaars. Sidewalks are shaded and safe behind rows of flaming jacaranda and hibiscus trees. Beautiful parks filled with Roses & Jasmine add to the beauty of this dreamland.
First Fully Master planned City of Pakistan & Asia
Islamabad boasts the distinction of being the first fully master-planned city of Pakistan & broadly of Asia. The basic layout of the city comprises of sectors, square in shape (2 sq. km), laid out in continuous belt formation that run side by side divided with green land belts. Islamabad’s urban area is further classified into eight planning zones:
8. National Park that includes an Olympic Village
Rawalpindi is the fourth largest city in Pakistan
The best way to see Rawalpindi is by wandering through its bazaars. The reason Rawalpindi is well known for its traditional bazaars is the trade route from the upper north of the Asian continent that still passes through the main city; the Grand Trunk Road (G.T Road). The G.T Road is known as The Mall Road as it passes through the cantonment area. It was on this route that the traders carried their goods and stopped over at Rawalpindi to trade and then move on to the lower southern area of the sub-continent. The two main bazaar areas resulting out of this trade activity are the Raja Bazaar in the old city and the Saddar Bazaar, which developed as the cantonment bazaar between the old city and the Mall. The Mall was and is still is the area of major cantonment concentration.