The City of Flowers
|• Type||Metropolitan city|
|• Mayor of Peshawar||Arbab Asim|
|• Deputy Mayor of Peshawar||Syed Qasim Ali Shah|
|• Deputy Commissioner Peshawar||Riaz Khan Mahsud|
|• Assistant Commissioner Peshawar||Altaf Ahmad Sheikh|
|• Total||1,257 km2 (485 sq mi)|
|Elevation||359 m (1,178 ft)|
|Highest elevation||450 m (1,480 ft)|
|• Density||1,400/km2 (3,600/sq mi)|
|Peshawar Urban agglomeration|
|Time zone||PKT (UTC+5)|
|Languages||Punjabi (Hindko dialect), Pashto|
Peshawar (Urdu: پشاور; Pashto: پېښور; Hindko: پشور) is the capital of the Pakistani province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa,. It also serves as the administrative centre and economic hub for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. Situated in a broad valley near the eastern end of the historic Khyber Pass, close to the border with Afghanistan, Peshawar's recorded history dates back to at least 539 B.C.E., making it the oldest city in Pakistan and one of the oldest in South Asia. Peshawar is the largest city of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. According to the last census, it is also the ninth-largest city of Pakistan.
The earliest settlement established in the area of Peshawar was called Puruṣapura (Sanskrit for City of Men), from which it has been suggested that the current name "Peshawar" is derived. The city's name has been popularly attributed to the Mughal Emperor Akbar, and is said to derive from the Persian for "frontier town," or more literally, "forward city."
Being among the most ancient cities of the region between Central and South Asia, Peshawar has for centuries been a center of trade between Bactria, South Asia and Central Asia. As an ancient center of learning, the 2nd century BC. Bakhshali Manuscript used in the Bakhshali approximation was found nearby.
The first recorded settlement in the Peshawar area was the ancient city of Puruṣapura (पुरूषपुर), Sanskrit for "City of Men." Ancient Peshawar was part of a broader settled region in the Valley of Peshawar, and was located near the ancient Gandharan capital city of Pushkalavati, near present-day Charsadda.
Around 300 BCE, historian Megasthenes noted that Puruṣapura was the western terminus of a road built under the Mauryan Empire that connected the city to the Mauryan capital at Pataliputra, near the city of Patna, in the modern-day Indian state of Bihar.
Puruṣapura was seized by the Greco-Bactrian king, Eucratides (170 – 159 BCE), and was controlled by a series of Greco-Bactrian, and later, Indo-Greek kings, who ruled an empire that geographically spanned from the area of present-day Afghanistan to North India. Later, the city was ruled by several Parthian and Indo-Parthian kings, another group of Iranian peoples germane to the region, the most famous of whom, Gondophares, ruled the city and its environs, starting in circa 46 CE; the period of rule by Gondophares continued by only a few more rulers before the collapse of his dynasty.
In the first century of the Common era, Puruṣapura came under control of Kujula Kadphises, found of the Kushan Empire. The city was made the empire's winter capital. The Kushan's summer capital at Kapisa (modern Bagram, Afghanistan) was seen as the secondary capital of the empire, while Puruṣapura was considered to be the empire's primary capital. Ancient Peshawar's population was estimated to be 120,000, which would make it the seventh-most populous city in the world at the time. Puruṣapura was also on the trade route between Kapisi, later to become Bagram, and Und, modern Attock, that had been established by the first century of the Common Era.
Under the rule of Kanishka, the fourth Buddhist Council was commenced at Puruṣapura, and the Kanishka Vihara monastery was built. After his death the magnificent Kanishka stupa was built in Peshawar to house Buddhist relics. The stupa would become perhaps the tallest buildings in the ancient world, and now forms part of a collection of ruins at Peshawar's Shaji-ki-Dheri. Puruṣapura was conquered by the Sasanid Empire around 260 CE. The Kushans were made subordinate to the Sasanids, and their power rapidly dwindled.
The White Huns invaded Puruṣapura in the 460s CE. The White Huns rebuilt the Kanishka stupa with the construction of a tall wooden superstructure, built atop a stone base, and crowned with a 13-layer copper-gilded chatra. In the 400s CE, the Chinese Buddhist pilgrim Faxian visited the structure and described it as "the highest of all the towers" in the "terrestrial world", which ancient travelers claimed was up to 560 feet (170 m) tall, though modern estimates suggest a height of 400 feet (120 m).
In 520 CE the Chinese monk Song Yun visited Gandhara and Peshawar during the White Hun era, and noted that it was in conflict with nearby Kapisa. In the 7th Century CE, the Chinese monk and traveler Xuanzang visited Peshawar after Kapisa victory, and expressed lament that the Gandharan capital had decayed to ruin.
Until the mid 7th century, the residents Puruṣapura are believed to have been primarily ancient-Indians, with a ruling elite of Scythian descent. The Hindu Shahis of Kabul succeeded Purushapura's Scythian rulers.
Islam is believed to have been first introduced to the Buddhist and Zoroastrian inhabitants of Peshawar in the later 7th century. In 986-87 CE, Peshawar's first encounter with Muslim armies occurred when Sabuktigin invaded the area and fought the Hindu Shahis under their king, Anandpal.
On November 28, 1001, Sabuktigin's son Mahmud Ghazni decisively defeated the army of Raja Jayapala, son of Anandpal, at the Battle of Peshawar, and established rule of the Ghaznavid Empire in the Peshawar region. During the Ghaznavid era, Peshawar served as an important stop between the Afghan plateau, and the Ghaznavid garrisons city of Lahore. During the 10th-12th century, Peshawar served as a headquarters for Hindu Nath Panthi Yogis, who in turn are believed to have extensively interacted with Muslim Sufi mystics.
In 1179-80, Muhammad Ghori captured Peshawar, though the city was then destroyed in the early 1200s at the hands of the Mongols. Peshawar was an important regional centre under the Lodi Empire. Yusufzai Pashtun tribes from the Kabul and Jalalabad valleys began migrating to the Valley of Peshawar beginning in the 15th century, and displaced the Dilazak Pashtun tribes across the Indus River. Peshawar also was an important stop on the Grand Trunk Road, built by Sher Shah Suri in the 16th century.
Technocrats, bureaucrats, soldiers, traders, scientists, architects, teachers, theologians and Sufis flocked from the rest of the Muslim world to the Islamic Sultanate in South Asia, with many settling in the Peshawar region.
In July 1526, Emperor Babur captured Peshawar from Daulat Khan Lodi, though the city was never considered to be fully subjugated to the Mughals. Daulat Khan recognized Babur's suzerainty, and allowed Babur to recruit soldiers to help him capture Lahore in Punjab. Babur is said to have renamed the city Begram, and rebuilt the city's fort. Babur used the city as a base for expeditions to nearby Kohat and Bannu.
Akbar renamed Begram to Peshawar; perhaps derived from the Persian "pīsh shehr" (پیش شهر) - meaning "forward city", in reference to the city's frontier status. In 1586, Pashtuns rose against Mughal rule during the Roshaniyya Revolt under the leadership of Pir Roshan, founder of the egalitarian Roshaniyyas, who shut down trade routes out of Peshawar, and laid seige to the city. The siege was lifted in 1587 after Akbar's Governor of Kabul, Man Singh I, joined forces with Zain Khan Koka to defeat the rebels.
Emperor Aurangzeb's Governor of Kabul, Mohabbat Khan bin Ali Mardan Khan used Peshawar as his winter capital during the 17th century, and bestowed the city with its famous Mohabbat Khan Mosque in 1630. Afridi tribes resisted Aurangzeb rule during the Afridi Revolt of the 1670s. The celebrated Pashto poet and warrior Khushal Khan Khattak, actively participated in revolt against the Mughals. The Afridis massacred a Mughal army in the nearby Khyber Pass in 1672 and shut the pass to lucrative trade routes. Aurangzeb's armies in 1674 regained control of the entire area.
Following Aurangzeb's death in 1707, his son Bahadur Shah I, former Governor of Peshawar and Kabul, was selected to be the Mughal Emperor. As Mughal power declined following the death of Emperor Aurangzeb, the empire's defenses were weakened.
Peshawar remained an important centre on trade routes between India and Central Asia. Its importance as a trade centre is highlighted by an accidental fire at Bala Hissar fort in 1586 that destroyed over one thousand camel loads of merchandise from traders who had camped there when the route had been temporarily obstructed during the Roshaniyya Revolt. The Mughal Empire noted the importance of the region as a weak point in their empire's defenses, and determined to hold Peshawar and Kabul at all cost against any threats from the Uzbek Shaybanids.
On 18 November 1738, Peshawar was seized by the Persian armies under Nader Shah, who had captured the city from the Mughal governor Nawab Nasir Khan. During the chaotic post-Mughal period, Peshawar in 1747 was taken by Ahmad Shah Durrani, founder of the Afghan Durrani Empire, following a grand nine-day long meeting known as th Loya Jirga that took place after Nadir Shah's death.
Under the reign of his son Timur Shah, the Mughal practice of using Kabul as a summer capital and Peshawar as a winter capital was reintroduced, with the practice maintained until the Sikh invasion. Peshawar's Bala Hissar Fort served as the residence of Durrani kings during their winter stay in Peshawar. Peshawar was attacked and briefly held by the Marathas, which conquered the city in the Battle of Peshawar in 1758. A large force of Pashtuns under the Durrani then re-conquered Peshawar in early 1759.
Timur Shah's grandson, Mahmud Shah Durrani, became king, and quickly sought to seize Peshawar from his half-brother, Shah Shujah Durrani. Shah Shujah was then himself proclaimed king in 1803, and recaptured Peshawar while Mahmud Shah was imprisoned at Bala Hissar fort until his eventual escape. In 1809, the British sent an emissary to the court of Shah Shujah in Peshawar, marking the first diplomatic meeting between the British and Afghans. Mahmud Shah allied himself with the Barakzai Pashtuns, and amassed an army in 1809, and captured Peshawar from his half-brother, Shah Shujah, establishing Mahmud Shah's second reign, which lasted under 1818.
Ranjit Singh invaded Peshawar in 1818 and captured it from the Durranis. The Sikh Empire based in Lahore did not immediately secure direct control of the city, but rather paid nominal tribute to Jehandad Khan of Khattak, who was nominated by Ranjit Singh to be ruler of the region.
After Ranjit Singh's departure from the region, Khattak's rule was undermined and power seized by Yar Muhammad Khan. In 1823, Ranjit Singh returned to capture Peshawar, and was met by the armies of Azim Khan at Nowshera. Following the Sikh victory at the Battle of Nowshera, Ranjit Singh re-captured Peshawar. Rather than re-appointing Jehandad Khan of Khattak, Ranjit Singh selected Yar Muhammad Khan to rule the city.
The Sikh Empire annexed Peshawar in 1834 following advances from the armies of Hari Singh Nalwa — bringing the city under direct control of the Sikh Empire's Lahore Durbar. An 1835 attempt by Dost Muhammad Khan to re-occupy the city failed when his army declined to engage in combat with the Dal Khalsa. Dost Muhammad Khan's son, Mohammad Akbar Khan engaged with Sikh forces the Battle of Jamrud of 1837, resulting in the death of Hari Singh Nalwa.
During Sikh rule, an Italian name Paolo Avitabile was appointed administrator of Peshawar, and is remembered for having unleashed a reign of fear. His time in Peshawar is known as a time of "gallows and gibbets." The city's famous Mahabat Khan, built in 1630 in the Jeweler's Bazaar, was badly damaged and desecrated by the Sikh conquerors.
Sikh settlers from Punjab were settled in the city during Sikh rule. Gurdwaras such as the Joga Singh and Bhai Beeba Singh Gurdwaras were constructed in the city by Hari Singh Nalwa to accommodate the newly-settle Sikhs. The Sikhs also rebuilt the Bala Hissar fort during their occupation of the city.
Following the defeat of the Sikhs in the Second Anglo-Sikh War in 1849, territories in the Punjab were also captured by the British East India Company. During the Sepoy Rebellion of 1857, the 4,000 members of the native garrison were disarmed without bloodshed; the absence of brutality meant that Peshawar was not affected by the widespread devastation that was experienced throughout the rest of British India and local chieftains sided with the British after the incident. British control remained confined within the city walls as vast regions of the Frontier province outside the city were claimed by the Kingdom of Afghanistan. The vast mountainous areas outside of the city were mapped out only in 1893 by Sir Mortimer Durand, foreign secretary of the British Indian government, who collaboratively demarcated the boundary of British-controlled areas with the Afghan ruler at the time, Abdur Rahman Khan.
The British laid out the vast Peshawar Cantonment to the west of the city in 1868, and made the city its frontier headquarters. Additionally, several projects were initiated in Peshawar, including linkage of the city by railway to the rest of British India and renovation of the Mohabbat Khan mosque that had been desecrated by the Sikhs. The British also constructed Cunningham clock tower, in celebration of the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria, and, in 1906, constructed Victoria Hall (now home of the Peshawar Museum) in memory of Queen Victoria. The British greatly contributed to the establishment of Western-style education in Peshawar with the establishment of Edwardes College and Islamia College in 1901 and 1913, respectively—these were established in addition to numerous other schools, many of which are run by the Anglican Church. For better administration of the region, Peshawar and the adjoining districts were separated from the Punjab Province in 1901, after which Peshawar became capital of the new province.
Peshawar emerged as a centre for both Hindko and Pashtun intellectuals. Hindko speakers, also referred to as Khaarian ("city dwellers" in Pashto), were responsible for the dominant culture for most of the time that Peshawar was under British rule. Where as before it was the Pashtuns and Mughals who beautified and brought culture to the region, until the Sikhs brought the city to shambles and deterioration.
Peshawar was the scene of a non-violent resistance movement that was led by Ghaffar Khan, a disciple of Mohandas Gandhi. In April 1930, Khan led a large group of locals, in a peaceful protest in Qissa Khawani Bazaar, against discriminatory laws that had been enacted by the British rulers — hundreds were killed when British troops opened fire on the demonstrators.
In 1947, Peshawar became part of the newly created Pakistan. Until the mid-1950s, Peshawar was enclosed within a city wall and sixteen gates.
Peshawar's size infrastructure has not developed adequately for the city's growing population, resulting in overcrowding. In addition to the increase in population, the high number of Afghan transportation vehicles that pass through the city have contributed to the degradation of the city's air quality.
During the Soviet war in Afghanistan in the 1980s, Peshawar served as a political centre for the CIA and the Inter-Services Intelligence-trained mujahideen groups based in the camps of Afghan refugees. There was a total of approximately 100,000 Afghans registered in Peshawar during the 1988 election, when Benazir Bhutto was running for Prime Minister of Pakistan; although, in addition to this estimate, hundreds of thousands of Afghan refugees were in the city illegally.
As of 2012[update], Peshawar continues to link Pakistan with Afghanistan and Central Asia. Peshawar has emerged as an important regional city of Pakistan and the city remains a focal point for Pashtun culture.
Like the surrounding region, Peshawar has been at the crossroads of an armed struggle between the extremist Taliban, moderates, liberals, and Pashtun nationalists. Local poets' shrines have been targeted by the Pakistani Taliban, who bombed the shrine of the Pashtun poet Rahman Baba in 2009. Other high-profile terrorist attacks in Peshawar have included the suicide bomb attack that took place at historic All Saints Church in September 2013, and the Peshawar school massacre that claimed the lives of 132 school children in December 2014.
Peshawar features a semi-arid climate, with very hot summers and mild winters. Winter in Peshawar starts in November and ends in late March, though it sometimes extends into mid-April, while the summer months are from mid-May to mid-September. The mean maximum summer temperature surpasses 40 °C (104 °F) during the hottest month, and the mean minimum temperature is 25 °C (77 °F). The mean minimum temperature during the coolest month is 4 °C (39 °F), while the maximum is 18.3 °C (64.9 °F).
Peshawar is not a monsoon region, unlike other parts of Pakistan; however, rainfall occurs in both winter and summer. Due to western disturbances, the winter rainfall shows a higher record between the months of February and April. The highest amount of winter rainfall, measuring 236 millimetres (9.3 in), was recorded in February 2007, while the highest summer rainfall of 402 millimetres (15.8 in) was recorded in July 2010; during this month, a record-breaking rainfall level of 274 millimetres (10.8 in) fell within a 24-hour period on 29 July 2010 — the previous record was 187 millimetres (7.4 in) of rain, recorded in April 2009. The average winter rainfall levels are higher than those of summer. Based on a 30-year record, the average annual precipitation level was recorded as 400 millimetres (16 in) and the highest annual rainfall level of 904.5 millimetres (35.61 in) was recorded in 2003. Wind speeds vary during the year, from 5 knots (5.8 mph; 9.3 km/h) in December to 24 knots (28 mph; 44 km/h) in June. The relative humidity varies from 46% in June to 76% in August. The highest temperature of 50 °C (122 °F) was recorded on 18 June 1995, while the lowest −3.9 °C (25.0 °F) occurred on 7 January 1970.
|Climate data for Peshawar (1961–1990)|
|Record high °C (°F)||27.0
|Average high °C (°F)||18.3
|Daily mean °C (°F)||11.2
|Average low °C (°F)||4.0
|Record low °C (°F)||−3.9
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||26.0
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||195.5||189.5||194.5||231.3||297.1||299.5||273.8||263.2||257.3||266.1||234.8||184.4||2,887|
|Source #1: NOAA (1961-1990) |
|Source #2: PMD|
Peshawar is located in the broad Valley of Peshawar, which is surrounded by mountain ranges on three sides, with the fourth opening to the Punjab plains. The city is located in the generally level base of the valley, known as the Gandhara Plains.
Peshawar is a rapidly growing city, with the district population at 2,982,816 in 1998. The current population growth rate is 3.29% per year, a rate that is higher than the average of many other Pakistani cities. The average annual growth rate is 3.56%.
While the city's Sikh population drastically declined after the partition of British India, Peshawar's Sikh community has re-established itself, bolstered by Sikh refugees and by approximately 4,000 refugees from the Tribal Areas; in 2008, the largest Sikh population in the Pakistan was located in Peshawar Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Sikhs in Peshawar self-identify as Pashtuns and speak Pashto as their mother tongues.
Following the election of the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) Islamic coalition in 2002, restrictions on public musical performances were introduced, as well as a ban prohibiting the playing of recorded music on public transport; however, a thriving underground scene has developed in Peshawar. In 2008, the secular political party, the Awami National Party (ANP), swept elections and won power from the Islamic coalition. Since the ANP assumed power in Peshawar, a greater focus has shifted towards the areas of culture and the arts, but the party has been hindered by a well-established conservatism among the population and the Taliban militancy. In June 2012, a Pashto singer, Ghazala Javed, and her father were killed in the city, with the subsequent investigation revealing that the pair were murdered. Javed's career was very successful and her death occurred close to three years after the death of another promising Pashto musical artist, Aiyman Udas, who was also murdered in a fringe area of the city. Such incidents have been associated with Peshawar's conservative culture and the influence of the Taliban, the latter being the reason for Javed's movement to Peshawar, as the Taliban had strengthened its presence in the Peshawar Valley in 2007.
Historically, the old city of Peshawar was a heavily guarded citadel that consisted of high walls. In the 21st century, only remnants of the walls remain, but the houses and havelis continue to be structures of significance. Most of the houses are constructed of unbaked bricks, with the incorporation of wooden structures for protection against earthquakes, with many composed of wooden doors and latticed wooden balconies. Numerous examples of the city's old architecture can still be seen in areas such as Sethi Mohallah. In the old city, located in inner-Peshawar, many historic monuments and bazaars exist in the 21st century, including the Mohabbat Khan Mosque, Kotla Mohsin Khan, Chowk Yadgar and the Qissa Khawani Bazaar. Due to the damage caused by rapid growth and development, the old walled city has been identified as an area that urgently requires restoration and protection. Author, Dr Raj Wali Shah Khattak, a former director of the Pushto Academy and a senior academic at the University of Peshawar, has written in his book, An Intangible Heritage: The Walled City of Peshawar:
To protect the inheritance of the walled city of Peshawar, the establishment of a heritage centre should be a priority. The centre should have audio and visual documentation equipment so that every aspect of culture and life, be it folklore, music, types of instruments, stories, etc., can be recorded. Moreover, visual documentation of customs and traditions should include marriage functions, clothing, lifestyle, manners and habits. Research into the oral nature of life in the bazars and streets, both during the day and at night, should be carried out to preserve this historical record. Fairs, festivals and traditions, both secular and religious, should be included in this record.
The walled city was surrounded by several main gates that served as the main entry points into the city — in January 2012, an announcement was made that the government plans to address the damage that has left the gates largely non-existent over time, with all of the gates targeted for restoration.
Numerous educational institutes — schools, colleges and universities — are located in Peshawar. The University of Peshawar (UOP) was established in October 1950 by the first Prime Minister of Pakistan. Edwardes College, founded in 1900 by Herbert Edwardes, is the oldest college in the province.
The following is a list of some of the public and private universities in Peshawar:
The following is a list of other significant landmarks in the city that still exist in the 21st century:
Peshawar International Airport ( د پېښور نړیوال هوائی ډګر ), is an international airport located in the city of Peshawar in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. Located about a 10-minute drive from the centre of Peshawar. The Daewoo Express bus terminal is located at G.T. Road.Peshawar Cantonment railway station and Peshawar City railway station provide train services in Peshawar.
TransPeshawar, a bus rapid transit system, is currently under construction with assistance from the Asian Development Bank. The line will stretch from Chamkani in the east, to Hayatabad in the west. The system will have 31 stations and will be mostly at grade, with four kilometres of elevated sections. The system will also contain 3.5 kilometres of underpasses. all of which will be new construction. The TransPeshawar system will be complemented by a feeder system, with an additional 100 stations along those feeder lines.
Arbab Niaz Stadium is the test cricket ground of Peshawar. Other stadiums are Army Stadium, Peshawar Club Ground and Qayyum Stadium. Cricket is the most popular sport in Peshawar and the city is home to the domestic team, Peshawar Panthers while Peshawar Zalmi represents Peshawar and the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa overall in Pakistan Super League.Hockey and squash are also popular in Peshawar. Shahi Bagh is available for general public for various out door games.
Peshawar is twinned with:
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Timur Shah transferred the Durrani capital from Qandahar during the period of 1775 and 1776. Kabul and Peshawar then shared time as the dual capital cities of Durrani, the former during the summer and the latter during the winter season.