Facts About Quetta

Quetta is also spelled Kuwatah which is a variation of Kot, a Pashto word meaning fortress. It is surrounded by four grand hills, Murdaar, Zarghoon, Takatu and Chiltan, that form a natural rampart, almost acting as guards around the city. Quetta is the the Capital of Balochistan province and even though authorities have failed to develop it like they should have, Quetta remains one of the most significant and historic cities in Pakistan.

Quetta is the 5th largest city of Pakistan. Known as the Fruit Garden of Pakistan due to the diversity of its plant and animal wildlife, Quetta is situated at an average elevation of 1,680 meters (5,500 ft) above sea level, making it Pakistan’s only high-altitude major city. The population of the city is between 896,090 and 2.8 million, which makes it the 6th largest city in Pakistan.

Sitting in northern Balochistan near the Durand Line border with Afghanistan and close to Kandahar province, Quetta is a trade and communication center between the two countries. The city lies on the Bolan Pass route which was once the only gateway to and from South Asia.

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Quetta City

Quetta is also spelled Kuwatah which is a variation of Kot, a Pashto word meaning “fortress. It is believed the city’s name is derived from the four imposing hills (Chiltan, Takatu, Zarghoon and Murdaar) that surround the city and form a natural bulwark.

The first detailed account of Quetta is from the 11th century when it was captured by Sultan Mahmud Ghaznavi during one of his invasions of South Asia. In 1543, the Mughal emperor Humayun rested in Quetta on his retreat to Safavid Persia, leaving his one-year-old son Akbar in the city until his return two years later.

In 1709, the region fell to the Hotaki dynasty and by 1747 Ahmad Shah Durrani made it part of the Durrani Empire. In 1828 the first westerner to visit Quetta described it as a mud-walled fort surrounded by three hundred mud houses.

The predominantly Muslim population supported the Muslim League and the Pakistan Movement. On joining Pakistan, Quetta was made the capital city of the newly created province of Balochistan before it was combined with other Balochi princely states (Kalat, Makran, Lasbela and Kharan). Quetta remained the capital of the province until 1959 when the provincial system was abolished under Ayub Khan.

On the reinstatement of the provincial system Quetta was once again made capital of Balochistan.

Geography

Quetta has an area of 2,653 km2 (1,024 sq mi) and consists of series of valleys which act as a natural fort surrounded on all sides by hills; these are named Chiltan, Takatoo, Murdar and Zarghun. There are no natural boundaries between Quetta and its adjoining districts of Dera Ismail Khan to the northeast, Dera Ghazi Khan and Sibi to the east, Sukkur and Jacobabad to the southeast, Karachi and Gawadar to the south and Ziarat to the northeast. The closest major city is Kandahar in Afghanistan which is located to the west of the Quetta region.

Climate

Quetta has a semi-arid climate with a significant variation between summer and winter temperatures. Summer starts in late May and goes on until early September with average temperatures ranging from 24-26 °C (75-78 °F).

 

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Quetta at night

The highest temperature in Quetta is 42 °C (108 °F) which was recorded on 10 July 1998. Autumn starts in late September and continues until mid-November with average temperatures in the 12-18 °C (55-65 °F) range. Winter starts in late November and ends in late March, with average temperatures near 4-5 °C (39-41 °F).

The lowest temperature in Quetta is -18.3 °C (-0.9 °F) which was recorded on 8 January 1970. Spring starts in early April and ends in late May, with average temperatures close to 15 °C (60 °F). Unlike more easterly parts of Pakistan, Quetta does not have a monsoon season of heavy rainfall. In the winter snow is the principal form of precipitation, and this falls mostly in the months of December, January and February.

The city saw a severe drought from 1999 to 2001, during the drought the city did not receive snowfall and also received below normal rains. In 2003 the city received snowfall after a long period of five years. In 2004, and 2005 the city received normal rains after three years with snowfall while in 2006, 2007 and 2009 the city received no snow except in 2008 when Quetta received a snowfall of four inches in four hours on the 29 of January, 2008. On the 2 of February, 2008 Quetta received ten inches of snow in just 10 hours which was the heaviest snowfall for the city in the last ten years. During the winter of 2010 it received no snow and saw below normal rains due to the presence of El-Nino over Pakistan.

Government and Politics

Under the latest revision of Pakistan’s administrative structure, promulgated in 2001, Quetta was restructured as a City District, and divided into two towns. Each town in turn consists of a group of union councils (U.C.’s).

Transport

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Quetta

Quetta Railway Station is one of the highest railway station is in Pakistan at 1,676 meters (5,495 ft) above sea level. The railway track was laid in the 1890s during the British era to link Quetta with rest of the country.

The extensive network of Pakistan Railways connects Quetta to Karachi in south, by a 863 km (536 mi) track, Lahore in northeast (1,170 km or 727 miles) and Peshawar further northeast (1,587 km or 986 miles). A road runs alongside the railway that connects Quetta to Karachi via Sibi, Jacobabad and Rohri.

Quetta is connected by roads to the rest of the country. A road connects it with Karachi through Mastung, Kalat, Khuzdar and Lasbela. Other major roads are Quetta to Karachi
Following the Sibi, Jacobabad, Sukkur and Hyderabad route and two roads from Quetta to Lahore one (the older) via Sibi, Sukkur, Rahim Yar Khan, Bahawalpur and Multan the other route via Khanozai, Muslimbagh, Loralai, Fort Mondro, Dera Ghazi Khan and Multan. Quetta is connected with Afghanistan through Chaman and to Iran through Mastung, Noushki, Dalbandin and Taftan.

It is the largest city of the Balochistan province with an an area of 2,653 sqkm. Population of the city is estimated to be approximately one million.
The history of Quetta dates back to at-least the 11th Century, when it was captured by Mahmud of Ghaznavi.
Due to the vast multitude of fruit orchards in and around the city, the city is known as the fruit garden of Pakistan.
Quetta is internationally known for its quality dry fruit product.
Quetta is Pakistan’s only major high-altitude city.
There are a variety of fauna in and around the city including coyotes, markhor, hyenas, leopards, wolves, golden eagles and the bearded vulture (pictured below), among others.
The gallant Sulaiman Range lies just east of Quetta.
The esteemed Bolan Medical College was founded during Ataullah Mengal’s reign as Chief Minister in 1972.
Hanna Lake, a turquoise body of water, is snuggled in the hills, ten kilometers east of the city.

Quetta Airport is the second highest airport in Pakistan.

Quetta Railway Station is one of the highest railway stations in Pakistan at 1,676 meters (5,499 feet) above sea level.

University of Balochistan, situated in Quetta, was established in June 1970 and comprises an area of 200 acres.

Hayat Durrani Water Sports Academy, is the only water sports training center in Balochistan.

 The Hazarganji Chiltan National Park. Hazarganji , literally meaning “of a thousand treasures” is located 20 km south-west of Quetta. The park covers an area over 32,500 acres, at an altitude ranging from 2,021 to 3,264 meters.

Pir Ghaib is a waterfall and picnic spot located 70 km from the Quetta City in the historic Bolan valley.

Manan Chowk and Shah Jahan Chowk are famous chowks of Quetta.
The famous bazaars of Quetta include the Liaquat Bazaar, Suraj Gang Bazaar and Kandhari Bazaar.
Quetta is home to many museums including The Quetta Geological Museum, The Quetta Archaeological Museum and The Command and Staff College Museum. The latter (pictured below) is a museum dedicated to British military history, housed in the former bungalow of Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery.

Quetta is the the Capital of Balochistan province and Quetta is one of the most significant and historic cities in Pakistan. Here are some of the facts that makes Quetta an amazing city.

 

1It is the largest city of the Balochistan province with an an area of 2,653 sqkm. Population of the city is estimated to be approximately one million.

2The history of Quetta dates back to at-least the 11th Century, when it was captured by Mahmud of Ghaznavi.

3Due to the vast multitude of fruit orchards in and around the city, the city is known as the fruit garden of Pakistan.

4Quetta is internationally known for its quality dry fruit product.

5Quetta is Pakistan’s only major high-altitude city. The highest pint in the city is at 3,578 metres (11,739 ft), Koh-i-Zarghoon in the Zarghoon Mountains in Quetta

6Hanna Lake, a turquoise body of water, is snuggled in the hills, ten kilometers east of the city.

7The Hazarganji Chiltan National Park. Hazarganji , literally meaning “of a thousand treasures” is located 20 km south-west of Quetta. The park covers an area over 32,500 acres, at an altitude ranging from 2,021 to 3,264 meters.

8The famous bazaars of Quetta include the Liaquat Bazaar, Suraj Gang Bazaar and Kandhari Bazaar.

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