Islamabad is the capital of Pakistan and although it is administered by the Pakistani federal government as part of the Islamabad Capital Territory it is only the ninth-largest city in the country. The city of Islamabad has a lot to offer visitors, including a plethora of historic monuments, memories, and museums. If you’re thinking of visiting Pakistan or booking flights to Islamabad then read on to find some of the best museums to visit in the city and what to expect when exploring their exhibitions.
A guide to the museums of Islamabad:
- Pakistan Monument Museum
- Pakistan Railways Heritage Museum
- Pakistan Museum of Natural History
- Lok Virsa Museum
Pakistan Monument Museum
The Pakistan Monument Museum is one of the most iconic structures in Pakistan and is also known as the flower-shaped monument. The iconic building is a great place to learn all about the history of Pakistan, starting at the time of pre-partition. Arabela blogs about her life in Pakistan and recently wrote about the museum on her blog The Spicy Travel Girl, reporting:
“Another one of Pakistan’s major landmarks, the Pakistan Monument, is located right next to Lok Virsa on the Shakarparian Hills. The petal-shaped monument was opened in 2007 and symbolizes the unity of the Pakistani people. Each petal represents one of the ethnic groups that make up Pakistani and they come together to protect the star of the flag in the centre. I visited the monument in the evening before the national holiday, which made the atmosphere even more special. Visiting the Pakistan Monument is one of the best things to do in Islamabad during the blue hour right after sunset because it allows you to enjoy the powerful lighting of the monument at its peak.”
The museum is also accompanied by an adjacent wax museum and auditorium celebrating the national history, so a whole day can be spent learning about the rich culture and history of the country.
Pakistan Railways Heritage Museum
A popular tourist museum, the Pakistan Railways Heritage Museum or the Golra Sharif Railway Museum as it is also known is a museum that celebrates the history of the train in Pakistan.
The blog The Velvet Rocket mentions the Pakistan Railways Heritage Museum, commenting: “The station now houses a part of the museum (the rest of the museum being the trains outside). Inside the small station museum, which still retains its Victorian-style quite well, is an interesting array of weapons and ammunition, watches, navigation equipment, surgical items used by railway hospitals, kerosene lanterns, crockery, historic photographs, antique furniture, railroad timetables, model trains – standard railroad museum fare.”
The museum is a great place to understand the progression of the railway and transport within Pakistan and is a great insight into how technology and times have progressed and changed since some of the trains were in service.
Pakistan Museum of Natural History
One of the largest museums in the city, The Pakistan Museum of Natural History was established in 1976 and it provides information about the ecology, geology, and palaeontology of the country.
The Pakistan Museum of Natural History website explains all about the departments within the museum and what you can expect on a visit: “The Pakistan Museum of Natural History has four divisions namely Botanical Sciences, Earth Sciences, Zoological Sciences and Public Services. The first three divisions are engaged in the collection, preservation, identification and research activities pertaining to plants, fossils and minerals and animals’ resources of Pakistan respectively, while the latter is responsible for mass education and popularization of the natural history through various displays, exhibits and dioramas.”
There is so much to see at this museum, you will need a whole day to get around and take in all the fascinating facts. Find out about some of the local wildlife and ancient animals that used to roam the shores, explore the solar system, the globe and much more.
Lok Virsa Museum
Lok Virsa is the commonly known name for the National Institute of Folk and Traditional Heritage and the heritage museum is a great place to find out all about the history of Pakistan folk and the traditional heritage that used to play a key part in the countries vibrant culture.
The website comments about the purpose of the museum more on their website, stating: “The primary purpose of the museum is to educate and edify present and future generations of Pakistan and to create a treasure house for the nation more valuable than the vault of any bank in the world. Most museums in Pakistan are archaeological which are a throwback from colonial times. The Heritage Museum is the first state museum of ethnology in Pakistan which presents the history and living traditions of the people of Pakistan both from the mainstream and the remotest regions of the country. The location of this landmark achievement at Islamabad enriches the federal capital and adds to its attractions.”
There is so much to see and do in Pakistan and Islamabad in particular, and if you’re holidaying in the area, then visiting some of these museums should definitely be on your list. For more travel blogs, news articles and guides, make sure you check out the Southall Travel blog.