Peshawar, the provincial capital of the Khyber Pakhtunkwa province, is the ninth-largest city in Pakistan and the largest city in the Khyber Pakhtunkwa province. Situated one hundred sixty kilomters west of Islamabad in the valley of Khyber Pass near the Pak-Afghan border, it is not only the regional hub for education, administration, culture, tourism, and economy but also a landmark for the links to Afghanistan and other central Asian states.
Peshawar has been under the influence of Gandhara, Mughals, Persians, Afghans, Sikhs, and British empires and therefore is enriched with history. It is connected to Islamabad by the old National Highway N5, built in the fifteenth century by Sher Shah Suri, and by Motorway M1 to Islamabad and M1 and M2 to Lahore. The city hosts the largest Pashto-speaking Sikh community in Pakistan and has been hosting the highest number of Afghan refugees since the late seventies, most of them living and working illegally.
The city was very well planned until the fifties, when it used to be a walled city with twelve gates for entering into the city; unfortunately, the exponential growth in population caused haphazard development outside the walled city and an increased amount of pollution in the city.
Because of its rich culture and history, the city hosts a lot of tourists in different hotels and hostels in Peshawar. While not many backpacking hostels in Peshawar are recorded on the internet, there are hundreds of hotels and hostels in Peshawar serving visitors round the clock. The security situation in the city has improved a lot over the last couple of years, after the army operation against the Taliban in the nearby tribal areas and the crackdown on illegal Afghan residents.
Qissa Khani Bazaar, Masjid Qasim Ali Khan, Masjid Mohabbat Khan, Victoria Memorial Hall (Peshawar Museum), Arbab Niaz Stadium, Gurduwara Jogan Shah, Bala Hisar Fort, and Wazir Bagh are some of the must-visit places in Peshawar.
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