Peshawar is situated close to the Afghan border and is strategically important for Pakistan. The city elicits tribute from illustrious personages such as Emperor Babar and Alexander the Great, whose legions were held up here in 327 BC for 40 days.
The Khyber Pass and Peshawar Valley have been the pathway of commerce, migration, and invasions by the Aryans, Scythians, Persians, Greeks, Bactrians, Kushans, Huns, Turks, Mongols and Mughals.
Peshawar is also rich in literature and its famous bards include Khushal Khan Khattak and Rehman Baba.
The city derived its name from a Sanskrit word «Pushpapura» meaning «the city of flowers». Indeed, Peshawar’s flowers are legendary. Its most splendid gardens are Khalid Bin Walid Bagh, an old Mughal Garden, Shahi Bagh in the north-east and Wazir Bagh.
Peshawar is ringed by no less than 16 gates, including the most famous of them — the Kabuli Gate.
Bala Hisar Fort lies on both eastern and western approaches to Peshawar city. Originally built by Emperor Babur in 1526 it was rebuilt to its present form by the Sikh Governor of Peshawar, Hari Singh Nalwa in the 1830s under the supervision of French engineers.
Chowk Yadgar is one of the famous historical monuments of Peshawar located in the heart of the old city. Roads from Chowk Yadgar lead to the Goldsmith Bazaar, Kutchery Gate, Kotwali Darwaza, and the Clock Tower.
The Clock Tower (Ghanta Ghar) was constructed by Sir George Cunningham in 1900 to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria. Nearby, there is a memorial to commemorate the heroes of the 1965 Indo-Pak war.
The Peshawar Museum is an appendage to the rich heritage of the city. It is housed in the Victoria Memorial Hall, an imposing building of the British Raj, built in 1905. The large hall with side galleries and the raised platform, which was once used as a ballroom, now displays in chronological order, finest specimens of Gandhara sculptures, tribal life, the Muslim period and ethnography.
Peshawar’s famous historical markets include Qissa Khawani Bazaar, legendary Meena Bazaar located in the old city, Pipal Mandi famous for wholesale grain, cloth and other goods, Mochi Lara (Shoe Market) full of embroidered sandals and shoes, Chitrali Bazaar and Batair Bazaar (Birds Market) where all kinds of birds such as parrots, sparrows and pigeons can be found.