Bonjour from Islamabad,
You may do it in the parks like F 9 in Islamabad, around Murree and Nathigali too, not very far from Islamabad.
In addition Khanpur region is famous for paragliding , rock climbing and other outdoor activities.
I've a friend in Islamabad, Irum , she's a club so she may help you out with paragliding in Islamabad.
Trekking hiking is also feasible in Damane Koh, very good trails .
Architecture of Islamabad is a mixture of modern & old islamic traditions.
Shah Faisal Mosque is a combination of Mughal, Arabic, Turkish & Arabic Architecture.
Pakistan Monument is another milestone in Pakistani Architecture. Murals inside the Large Petals reflect Islamic architecture.
Constitution Avenue is full of buildings which contains significant material for architecture lovers like Supreme Court building, Parliament House & Prime Minister House.
After getting to see the Faysal Masjid and the margallah hills you have definately to go to a dinner...Best a dinner on a terrace, in fact the only place in Islamabad where you can sit outisde in a elegant place and dine.Thats Talkingfish, in Jinnah super, F7, a superb restaurant which I falled in love with in my 2 months of staying in Islamabad. Ate there each evening with friends and enjoyed great soul music on candle light...
If you had enough, and you will, of spicy, very very spicy food do come and enjoy something more like a cuisine...!
Where do you find a copy of "Tribal Fighting in NWFP," "Islam and Education: Conflict and Conformity in Pakistan's Madrassahs," or "Zulfi Bhutto of Pakistan: His Life and Times?" Look at Mr. Books for these and many, many more unique English titles about South Asia. Here you can also find local English newspapers like The Dawn, The News, The Nation & The Daily Times. They also have great cards for all occasion such as "Happy New Bike!" Or "now that you're retired the productive part of your life is over."
Out front was a guy in a shalwar kameez with a gun keeping us all safe.
We stopped in to a small carpet and crafts store in the F-6 shopping area, called Mr. Craft. In the downstairs area, they had an entire wall full of a variety of scarves including Kashmir wool, silk, pashmina, and more with prices ranging from 500 rupees (USD 6) to tens of thousands of rupees (USD 100+). Also on the first floor you could find wooden crafts such as hand carved baskets and animals, trunks and chests, and a guy hand-making designs on silk cloth using tree gum as ink.
Upstairs in this store, and a few others we entered, was the carpet bazaar. Here I looked at big 3 meter by 3 meter rugs for several thousand US dollars, along with small half meter by half meter silk rugs for about USD 300 to 400, and wool rugs that were 1 meter by 1 meter for under USD 50. All the rugs were said to be hand made in Pakistan, most by Kashmiris in the Pakistan territory of Azad Kashmir (free Kashmir). Many had complex designs, while others had the Taj Mahal, or the word "Allah" emblazoned in Arabic script.
We went to two other carpet markets, and one had a variety of rugs made in Afghanistan. They featured designs of the World Trade Center being destroyed on 9/11, alongside guns, planes, tanks, and bombs. Almost every rug had numerous misspellings, with even the word Afghanistan messed up on most. Not something I'd ever want to hang on my living room wall, that's for sure.
The salesmen here spoke good English and were happy to show you rugs as long as you maintained interest. They were eager to barter and offer discounts if you buy two or more rugs. I complained that I didn't have much room in my luggage for rugs, and he gladly showed by how small he could wrap up the rugs; they would easily fit in my bag! Even when I didn't buy a rug, he gave me a small camel bone key chain carved in the design of elephants (I was worried it was illegal ivory, but he insisted it was camel bone!).
The Prime Minister oversees the Cabinet of Pakistan. The Cabinet is comprised of the senior members of the ministries, technically the Executive Branch of government. Pakistan has about 45 ministries, the most important of which are the Ministry of Defense, Ministry of the Interior, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Ministry of Finance.
The Cabinet House is located between the Supreme Court and the Pakistan Parliament in front of the President's House facing Constitution Ave.
Pakistan's Parliament is comprised of two house: the National Assembly is the lower house and the upper house is called the Senate. The National Assembly consists of 342 members; 272 are directly elected, 60 are women and 10 are minorities. The Senate contains 100 members, 17 of whom must be women; members of the senate are chosen from the provincial assemblies.
In the Pakistani Parliament's early years, it consisted of only one house, and it met in Karachi; Dacca, Bangladesh; and Rawalpindi before moving to Islamabad. The 1973 Constitution created the second house of Parliament.
Parliament House, the current home of Parliament in the capital city, was completed in 1986 and renovated just ten years later in 1996. The building sits alongside the President's House, the Supreme Court, and the Prime Minister's Secretariat along Constitution Avenue.
The Pakistani President is considered the head of state, which as of recently has very little power compared to the Prime Minister due to the just-passed 18th amendment. The President of Pakistan, like the President of the US is selected by an electoral college, though Pakistan's president is supposed to serve no more than two 5-year terms. Sometimes, however the President is not elected, rather he is seated in a military coup... see General Ayub Khan, General Zia-ul-Haq, and General Musharraf, who together ruled for some 30 of Pakistan's 60+ years of existence.
The President's House, or Aiwan-e-Sadr in Urdu, is the official residence of the President of Pakistan. The president uses his house for official work such as meeting guests and hosting official state visitors. It was completed around 1988 and was first used by President Ghulam Ishaq Khan following General Zia-ul-Haq death in a plane crash.
Islamabad is a planned capital city, much like Washington, DC; Brasilia, Brazil; and Canberra, Australia. In 1959, 12 years after partition and the establishment of Pakistan, the President created his Special Commission for the Location of the Capital. This commission selected two possible sites for the capital: Karachi in Sindh Provice, or a plateau area just north of Rawalpindi divided between Punjab Province and what was then called the North West Frontier Province (now Khyber Pakhtunkhwa). President Mohammed Ayub Khan selected the site near Rawalpindi, and a Greek architect was selected to lay out the city. In 1960 the name of the new capital was announced: Islamabad or the City of Islam. Construction began in 1961, the first residents arrived in 1962, and the city officially opened in 1966.
The city was initially created with eight major districts: the administrative block consisting of the governmental buildings, the diplomatic enclave with the embassies, the residential area with plenty of housing, the educational sector for schools, an industrial sector for factories, a commercial area for stores, the rural and green area, and shopping areas & public parks. The streets were laid out in grids, with major roads running parallel and perpendicular to the Margalla Hills to the north. The government buildings are located on the eastern edge of the city with the diplomatic enclave to the south. The largest markets are the Kohsar, Covered Bazaar and Supermarket.
The eastern side of the city is the most impressive area, with modern facilities such as the Supreme Court of Pakistan, the National Parliament of Pakistan, the President's official residence, and the Prime Minister's Secretariat. While the city was designed to be home to over 2.5 million people, the population of Islamabad remains around one million people.
The Pakistan Prime Minister is the head of government and a member of the National Assembly. The Prime Minister is not only the ranking member of Parliament, but he also oversees the Cabinet, its Ministers and the federal Ministries such as the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of the Interior. The powers of the PM, generally equate to the authority of the US Speaker of the House of Representatives, plus the powers of the President of the United States of America.
The PM's offices and staff are located in the Prime Minister's Secretariat. The majority of the Prime Minister's Secretariat is led by the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, while the PM's Public Affairs Wing is headed by the Special Secretary to the Prime Minister. The PM's Secretariat also hosts the majority of the federal Cabinet meetings.
One of the most beautiful buildings in Islamabad, the Prime Minister's Secretariat is located on Constitution Avenue in a prime location just south of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. In front of this large building is a Mughal-style garden with water features and walkways. The Prime Minister's House, located behind the PM's Secretariat, has conference rooms, libarary, and PM's staff offices.
The Supreme Court of Pakistan is the highest court in the land. Like the US Supreme Court, the Pakistani version is independent and separate from the other branches of the federal government. Its role is to defend the Constitution of 1973.
The court consists of 19 justices who serve until the age of 65. Chief Justice, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry has served since 2005, and he is well known for his epic battles with former President Musharraf. He was removed from power by the president, then reinstated by the Supreme Court a few months later. Then in November the Supreme Court was dissolved when Musharraf declared martial law.
The Pakistan Supreme Court traces its history back to the 1935 the Government of India Act, when it was established as the Federal Court of India. After partition it became the Federal Court of Pakistan, and its name was changed to the Supreme Court of Pakistan in 1956.
The Supreme Court building in Islamabad was constructed from 1990 to 1993. Prior to moving to this permanent home, the court temporarily resided in Karachi, Lahore, Rawalindi, and even Dacca Bangladesh (when it was still part of Pakistan).
Visit to this place is refreshing since this is the highest point in the general area Shaker Purian. In addition to having a view of Islamabad the beautiful national monument attracts the hearts of visitors. The Monument has been designed to reflect the culture and civilization of the country and also depicts the story of the Pakistan Movement, dedicated to those who sacrificed themselves for future generations. The leaves represent the four provinces of Pakistan. The view of the monument is most beautiful at night and sunset.
Visit the fatimah jinnah park which has a mcdonalds and should have another restaurant which is being built 'in water'. Also get a history lesson by learing about the provinces of Pakistan. There is an area with seating in the disctinct style of the 4 provinces and also 4 white towers with pictures that are unqiue to each province.
I found that Islamabad didnt have a lot to offer so I instantly tried to find things to do. I dont like dismissing places after a few days and I like to seek out the good points in a city or country before passing judgement. Islamabad didnt intially impress me but after a few days I realized that walking around in the diplomatic quarter through the gardens etc near the Shah Faisal Mosque was an excellent option to get away from the buzz of Rawalpindi or Central Islamabad. I loved the slow paced walks and I recommend it strongly. Beautiful.
National Heritage Museum was inaugurated on 14th August 2004. This is the first state museum in the country displaying and portraying the living cultural traditions and lifestyles of the people not only from the mainstream but also from the remotest regions. The museum has 25 galleries and four blocks with a covered area of 60,000 sq ft. featuring exhibit halls, making it the largest museum of the country.
The museum displays handicrafts, metal work, jewelry, traditional embroidered costumes, woodwork, block printing, mirror work, marble items, mosaic tiles and a lot more. Heritage Library, which is an integral part of the museum, has great collection of books and data on architecture, history, heritage, music, crafts, culture and arts of Pakistan. Audio and videocassettes of folk, classical and instrumental music are also sold at Lok Virsa's Sales Center.
This museum gives a good understanding of Pakistan and life of her people. Museum timings are 8:30 am to 4:00 pm daily except Friday. I would strongly recommend you go there and get an understanding of life and culture of Pakistan.
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