Top Architectural Masterpieces in Karachi from the British Colonial Era
It is hard to believe that Karachi was once a sleepy fishing village. Today, the mega-metropolitan city is not only the largest, most developed and most populous city of the country, it is also the major seaport and financial center of Pakistan.
In 1839, the British Empire transformed the village into a bustling urban area. Under their rule, Karachi flourished rapidly and became the main economic city.
Even though today we just pass by them without a single glance, the classical heritage British left behind is still there in different parts of the city.
Check out these five iconic buildings from the British colonial era that make Karachi unique.
1. The Frere Hall
When you are driving through Fatima Jinnah Road or Abdullah Haroon Road in Karachi, you will come across a fine looking building boasting Venetian Gothic architecture, yellow Karachi limestone, and red and grey Jung shah sandstones. It’s called the Frere Hall. It is surrounded by two impeccable lawns on both sides. The lawns were known as Queen’s Lawn and King’s Lawn. However, after independence, the lawns were renamed to Bagh-e-Jinnah.
The Hall was built in honor of Sir Henry Bartle Edward Frere who played a major role in economic development of Karachi and declaring Sindhi as the official language of Sindh.
Inside the hall, there is a gorgeous painting by Sadiqain on the roof.
Since 2011, the hall is open to the general public. On Sundays, a book bazaar is held in the lawns where you can buy old out-of-print books, new releases, magazines, comics, pirated copies and even second-hand books.
2. The Empress Market
It’s impossible that you live in Karachi and haven’t heard of The Empress Market, a famous marketplace in Saddar. The market was one of the many structures to be constructed in British colonial era. Among all the markets in Karachi, the Empress Market is arguably the busiest and most popular one.
The Empress Market was built from 1884 to 1889 to pay homage to Queen Victoria, Empress of India.
You can find a huge variety of items in the historical spot. Whether it’s a pet you want or a basketful of fruit, if you know where to look for, you will find everything at the Empress Market.
3. St Patrick’s Cathedral
Situated on Shahrah-e-Iraq, St. Patrick’s Cathedral boasts Gothic Revival architecture and a spacious area with the capacity to accommodate approximately 1,500 people.
The Catholic church was designed by Father Karl Wagner in 1845. It is believed to be the first church in Sindh.
4. Merewether Clock Tower
Merewether Clock Tower was constructed in honor of Sir William L. Merewether. While everybody has heard of it, it is the least acknowledged landmark of Karachi.
The tower has Gothic Revival style and is constructed with carved yellow-brown colored Gizri stone. Merewether Clock Tower is 102 feet high and displays clocks on four sides.
5. Karachi Port Trust
Regarded as the crown jewel of British colonial era architecture in Karachi, Karachi Port Trust is a Pakistani federal government agency.
The curved Anglo-Mughal building has a unique color that is close to stone-based sepia. It is made of local Gizri sandstone and Jodhpur red sandstone. Some of its highlights include Roman domes and huge green-colored doors, windows and arches.
Do you think you will take another look at these rich historical structures when you pass by them the next time?