8 Photos
The Hunza Valley in the Northern Areas is believed to have served as the inspiration for the novel Lost Horizons.
The entrance to the Badshahi Mosque, or “imperial mosque,” as viewed from the mosque courtyard. Built by the Emperor Aurangzeb between 1671 and 1673, it remains the largest mosque of the Mughal period; its courtyard can accommodate 100,000 worshipers. The gateway leads out to the garden known as Hazuri Bagh, beyond which is the Alamgiri gate of the Lahore Fort.
The Indus River as it flows through the mountainous region of Gilgit-Baltistan in Pakistan.
The Karakoram Highway between Gilgit and Khunjerab Pass. A joint Chinese-Pakistan venture, the 1,300 km highway connects Gilgit-Baltistan in Pakistan with the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in China. It is one of the highest all-weather roads in the world crossing the Khunjerab Pass over the Karakoram Mountains at an elevation of 4,714 m. The highway follows one of the branches of the ancient Silk Road.
Islamabad is the capital city of Pakistan. Built as a planned city in the 1960s to replace Karachi as Pakistan's capital, Islamabad is noted for its relatively high standard of living and abundant greenery. Its 900 sq km (350 sq mi) host several landmarks, including the Faisal Mosque, the Pakistan National Monument, and Democracy Square. Islamabad has a humid subtropical climate with five seasons: Winter, Spring, Summer, Monsoon, and Autumn.
The Supreme Court Building in Islamabad is flanked by the Prime Minister's Office to the south and Presidential and Parliament Houses to the north. Government buildings are traditionally decorated and illuminated in honor of the country’s Independence Day, 14 August. The day begins with the raising of the flag, a 31 gun salute and special prayers for the integrity, solidarity, and development of the country.
Karachi is the largest city in Pakistan and the capital of Sindh province. Located on the Arabian Sea, Karachi serves as a transport hub, and is home to Pakistan's two largest seaports, the Port of Karachi and Port Bin Qasim, as well as Pakistan's busiest airport, Jinnah International Airport. It is also Pakistan’s industrial and financial center. Karachi is one of the world's fastest growing cities, and has communities representing almost every ethnic group in Pakistan.
Peridot is one of the few gemstones that occurs in only one color, olive green. The Egyptians discovered the gemstone over 3,500 years ago on Topazios Island in the Red Sea off the coast of Egypt. This island was one of the most important sources of peridot and the gemstone’s original name was topazion for its source. The ancient Egyptians believed the stone had magical powers and it was often used for healing and protection. In the 18th century, the gem was renamed peridot and the island’s name changed to Zabargad, Arabic for peridot. Today other important sources of peridot include Burma, the United States (Arizona), Norway, Brazil, China, Australia, and Pakistan. Peridot is a magnesium-iron silicate that in its pure form is colorless, but iron atoms replacing some of the magnesium produce the green shades. A valuable peridot has an intense green color without strong undertones of yellow or brown. The peridot pictured is a modified barrel cut 46.16-carat stone and the largest peridot from Pakistan in the Smithsonian Natural History Museum. (Picture courtesy of the Smithsonian Natural History Museum/Ken Larson.)