Arts & Culture in Quetta

Arts & Culture

Quetta is a tourist attraction for foreigners to whom it is advertised as a "thrilling location, full of adventure and enjoyment". Among the attractions are the bazaars located on the Shahrah-e-Iqbal (Kandahari Bazaar) and Shahrah-e-Liaquat (Liaquat Bazaar and Suraj Gang Bazaar. In the bazaars are colourful handicrafts, particularly Balochi mirror work and Pashtun embroidery both of which are admired world-wide. The Pashtun workers are expert in making fine Afghan rugs, with their pleasing and intricate designs, fur coats, embroidered jackets, waist-coats, sandals and other traditional Pashtun items. Also in the city is the army administered Askari Park, constructed in the 1990s and located on Airport Road, which has a children's playground equipped with modern rides, toys and entertainment.

Balochi carpets are made by the nomadic tribes of the area. They are generally not nearly as fine or expensive as either the Persian city products or even the Turkoman tribal rugs from further north, but they are generally more authentic than the copies of Turkoman and Persian designs often found in the major cities of Pakistan. The rugs range in price and size, from lower priced crude examples to fine and valuable pieces. Many are small enough to be portable.

For those interested in local cuisine, there are many dishes to try. The famous Pashtun tribal cuisine “Roash” which non-locals call “Namkin” is to be found in both city restaurants as well as in the outlying areas. Some of the finest mutton in the country is raised around Quetta and is a mainstay of local cuisine. The Pashtun tribal dish, “Landhi”, is made of a whole lamb which is dried and kept fresh during the cold winters. "Khadi Kebab" is a lamb barbecue while "Sajji" (leg of lamb) and "Pulao" are other local dishes. The best restaurants are the Green Hotel, Gulab Hotel, Lal Kabab, Tabaq, Usmania and the Abasin Hotel all of which serve both Pakistani and western food, while the Cafe China is one of the oldest and most reputable Chinese restaurants. A number of small hotels on the Alamdar road provide accommodation for tourists.

Hanna Lake, which nestles in the hills ten kilometres (six miles) east of the city, is a startling turquoise pool which contrasts markedly with its bare brown surroundings. An attraction for holidaymakers, with facilities for boat hire and a lakeside restaurant, it is crowded by hikers and campers in holiday periods. At one end there is an irrigation dam while on the eastern shore line there is Hayat Durrani Water Sports Academy, the only water sports training center in Balochistan Province. The Hana Lake Development Authority, the Hayat Durrani Water Sports Academy and Merck Marker (Pvt.) Ltd. have planted a range of trees in the Hanna Lake Mountains both for beautification and the protection of the environment .

The Hazarganji Chiltan National Park, 20 km (13 miles) south-west of Quetta, Markhors is a protected park area. The park, the name Hazarganji literally means "Of a thousand treasures", is spread over 32,500 acres (132 km2), at an altitude ranging from 2,021 to 3,264 metres (5,625 to 10,700 feet). In the folds of the mountains, according to legend , there are over a thousand treasures buried, reminders of the passage over the ages of great armies including the Bactrians, the Scythians, the Muslims, and the Mongols. Pir Ghaib is a waterfall and picnic point located 70 km from the City Center on Sibi Road. Kharkhasa is located 10 km (6 miles) west of Quetta in a 16 km (10 miles) long narrow valley which contains a variety of flora and fauna species. The Chiltan Hill Viewpoint in the park provides a panoramic view over the city. A visit to the nearby cities of Kirani and Ziarat has been a popular scenic places for tourists traveling to and from Quetta.

The Quetta Geological Museum, Sariab Road (near Balochistan University) has a collection of rocks and fossils found in Balochistan. The Command and Staff College Museum is a museum dedicated to British military history. It is housed in the former bungalow of Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery. The Quetta Archaeological Museum, Fifa Road has a collection of rare antique guns, swords, manuscripts and a display of Stone Age tools, prehistoric pottery and articles found in Mehrgarh. There are also coins, manuscripts and photos of Quetta before the 1935 earthquake. The Balochistan Arts Council Library is a newly opened facility which houses a variety of arts and crafts from Balochistan province.

A number of cultural and religious festivals are held in the city every year. The two Eid festivals which mark the end of fasting and the end of the Hajj allow the majority Muslim community to put on musical shows, distribute sweets and presents. The Sibi festival is a cultural festival celebrating the history of the Balochi people with folk music performance, cultural dances, handicrafts stalls and cattle and horse shows. Buzkashi is a peculiar festival celebrated by Pashtuns in which two teams on horse-back attempt to snatch a goat from each other.


  

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