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Abbottabad is a city in the Hazara region of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, in north-eastern Pakistan. It is 110 kilometres (68 mi) north of the capital Islamabad, 130 kilometres (81 mi) from Rawalpindi and 150 kilometres (93 mi) northeast of Peshawar at an altitude of 1,260 metres (4,134 ft) and is the capital of the Abbottabad District. Kashmir lies to the east.
The city Abbottabad is well known throughout Pakistan for its pleasant weather, high-standard educational institutions and for hosting the Pakistan Military Academy in Kakul. Abbottabad is also the regimental headquarters for the Frontier Force Regiment, the Baloch Regiment and Pakistan Army Medical Corps. It remains a popular hill station attracting hundreds of thousands of tourists every year.
Abbottabad was founded and named after Major James Abbott in January 1853 as the headquarters of Hazara District during the British Raj after the annexation of Punjab. He remained the first Deputy Commissioner of the Hazara district from 1849 until April 1853. Major Abbott is noted for having written a poem titled Abbottabad, before his return to Britain, in which he wrote of his fondness for the town and his sadness at having to leave it.
In the early 20th century, Abbottabad became an important military cantonment and sanatorium, serving as the headquarters of a brigade in the Second Division of the Northern Army Corps. The garrison consisted of four battalions of native infantry, of the Frontier Force (including the 5th Gurkha Rifles) and two native mountain batteries.
In 1901, the population of the town and cantonment was 7,764 with an average income of Rs. 14,900. This increased to Rs. 22,300 in 1903, mainly derived from local tax. During this time major public institutions were built such as the Albert Victor Unaided Anglo-Vernacular High School, the Municipal Anglo-Vernacular High School and the government dispensary. In 1911, the population had risen to 11,506 and the town contained four battalions of Gurkhas. In June 1948, the British Red Cross opened a hospital in Abbottabad to deal with thousands of injured being brought in from Kashmir.
2005 Kashmir earthquake:
In October 2005 Abbottabad was devastated by the Kashmir earthquake. Although most of Abbottabad survived, many older buildings were destroyed or severely damaged.
The city is bounded at all four sides by the hills, from which residents and tourists can see breath taking views of the region and city. The location of the city and the hills allow Abbottabad to experience pleasant weather in the summer and cold winters. The river Dor flows south of Abbottabad through the town of Harnol, eventually reaching Tarbela Dam, west of Abbottabad. Neighbouring districts are Mansehra to the north, Muzaffarabad to the east, Haripur to the west and Islamabad Capital Territory to the south.
Abbottabad is in the Orash Valley lying between 34°92′N latitude and 73°13′E longitude at an altitude of 4,120 feet (1,260 m). To the north is the picturesque Kaghan Valley.
Abbottabad has a humid subtropical climate, with mild to warm temperatures during the spring and autumn months, hot temperatures during June and July, and cool to mild temperatures during the winter. The temperature can rise as high as 38 °C (100 °F) during the mid-summer months and drop below −5 °C (23 °F) during the extreme cold waves. Snowfall occurs occasionally in December and January, though it is sparse, while heavy rainfall occurs during the monsoon season stretching from July to September that frequently causes flooding in lower lying parts of the city.
Like much of the mountainous Northern Areas, Abbottabad's economy is largely based on tourism. In the summer when temperatures rise to around 45 degrees Celsius in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, a large number of tourists travel to Abbottabad.
Abbottabad has been attracting tourists to the city since the colonial era, as it is a major transit point to all major tourist regions of Pakistan such as Nathiagali, Ayubia and Naran. The city is picturesquely situated at the southern corner of the Rash (Orash) plain, 4,120 feet (1,260 m) above the sea. Harnoi, a famous picnic spot 10 km from city.
It is known for its shady gardens, church bells and wide streets in the Old Cantonment which evoke the British colonial era. Est. in 1864, St. Luke's Church, Abbottabad is a historical church and remains a popular site for tourists.
The Karakoram Highway, which traces one of the paths of the ancient Silk Road, starts from Hasan Abdal on the N5 and heads north passing through the city, eventually reaching Khunjerab Pass. The Karakorum Highway is a major attraction itself for its views. The Karakoram, Himalayas and the Hindu Kush ranges can be approached from Abbottabad, and it continues to be a transit city for tourists, serving as a base for visiting nearby places, such as Hunza, Gilgit, Skardu and Indus Kohistan, of the Karakoram Range.
Abbottabad is popular with those looking to relocate. Its weather, peaceful reputation and the perceived security of a garrison have drawn many from other cities to work or educate their children. There was an influx of migrants from Azad Kashmir after the 2005 Kashmir earthquake, another from the Swat District during military operations against militants in 2009 and 2010, and from Waziristan after the army launched major operations against the Taliban in 2009. There is an under construction about three billion rupees amusement park in the city on a 50-acre site, which includes a zoo, adventure sports facilities, restaurants and artificial waterfalls.
Some popular tourist destinations in and around Abbottabad include:
Ayubia National Park, Bara Gali, Dor River Valley (at Harnoi/Harnol), Dunga Gali, Harnoi, Ilyasi Mosque, Khaira Gali, Nathia Gali, Shimla Hill, Thandiani, Kukmang, Raees Khana Bazar, Sangimaira / Tharyati, Barra Hottar, Boi-Marhes, Kunhar River Spot-Boi and Boi Bazar-Kashmir-Point.
Mandian is the northern part of Abbottabad city and is also known as Missile Chowk, because a Ghori missile is installed there. The population of this area is 100,000. The word mandian means fruit or vegetable markets: It is a center of commerce with markets and businesses. Today Mandian is a busy hub of the city and has a small industrial estate, which promotes medium- and small-scale industries and provides employment to hundreds of people.
Many renowned schools and colleges are in Mandian like Brook Montessori and School System, Government Postgraduate College Mandian, Army Burn Hall College, Wisdom House Public School, Pakistan International Public School and College (PIPS) and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa University of Engineering & Technology Abbottabad Campus. Ayub Medical College and COMSAT Institute of Information Technology Abbottabad campus is 1 km away to the north from Mandian on main Karakoram Highway in Mirpur and Abbottabad Public School, Abbottabad International Medical College and Frontier Medical College is 5 km away on the same highway from Mandian, in the northern end of Abbottabad city.
List of educational institutions in Abbottabad:
Abbottabad has one of the country's highest literacy rates with 67% in 2007, and 87% in 2011 ranking first in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and second overall in Pakistan. The city has a young demographic (ages 15–30) due to the large number of students who have come from across the country to study in its schools, for example PIPS, Army Burn Hall College, Army Public College and Abbottabad Public School.
The city has a wide variety of post-secondary institutions, such as Ayub Medical College, Frontier Medical College, COMSATS University of Science and Technology, and the University of Engineering & Technology.
Abbottabad is home to the Pakistan Military Academy, a four-year coeducational federal service military academy that provides training to the officers of the Pakistan Army. The academy has three training battalions and 12 companies. Another 2,000 guests each year, from over 34 countries, receive some training at PMA.
Electronic and Print media is actively playing its role in Abbottabad. Cable Net Hazara is the largest cable operators of the region providing Pakistani channels to the masses. Kay 2 TV is the Hindkoh channel of the area.
There are daily newspapers published in Abbottabad. Some of the newspapers are Roznama AAJ, Roznama Shamal, Kay 2 Times, Roznama Pine, Weekly Manzar and the Hindko newspaper Chaita. The Daily Mahasib, published since 1997, is a local newspaper.
With the boom of social media websites like HCP are active in providing news to people of the region and is the first online portal of the Hazara Division.
The Abbottabad Falcons are the professional cricket team of Abbottabad who plays in the national Twenty 20 and List A cricket tournaments. Apart from cricket, field hockey and taekwondo are the other popular sports.
Sports facilities in the city include:
Abbottabad Cricket Stadium, Abbottabad Hockey Stadium, Jalal Baba Cricket Stadium Malik Pura, Abasin Karate & Martial Arts Training Center, Jansher Khan Squash Complex, AMC-PCB Ground, Kunj Football Stadium, Nawanshehr Football Ground, Dhamtour Football Ground, Banda Lamba Football Ground, Kakul Ground and Barrahottar Cricket Stadium.
Abbottabad's main public transport consists of modified taxis: pick-up Suzukis vans, which can accommodate anywhere from 1 to 14 people at one time. Taxis are available as well as wagons that connect Abbottabad to surrounding cities and towns (ex. Nawanshahr, Nathiagali, Sherwan, Dhamtour, Haripur, Mansehra) in the region.
Abbottabad is also served by Daewoo Express and Niazi Express, the NATCO, Skyways and many other bus services. Pakistan Railways does not serve Abbottabad. However, a PR Reservation Office is in Fawara Chowk in the city centre. The nearest railway station is in Havelian, which is the last and most northern station on the Pakistan Railway network. The station is approximately thirty minute drive south from Abbottabad city centre.
Abbotabad is a haven for expatriates, and in order to cater for the large community, the city has some of the finest 3-star, 4-star and 5-star hotels in the country.