Quetta, derived from Kuatta, means fort in the Pashto language. The city is a natural fort, surrounded by imposing hills on all sides. The hills are called Chiltan, Takatu, and Mehrdar (so called because of its beauty, but now known as Murdar), and Zarghun.
It is not known when Quetta was first inhabited, but most likely it was settled during the 6th century. The region remained part of the Sassanid Persian Empire and was later annexed by the Rashidun Caliphate during the 7th century Islamic conquest. It remained part of the Umayyad and Abassid Empires. However the first detailed account of Quetta was in the 11th century when it was captured by Mahmud of Ghazni on one of his invasions of the subcontinent. In 1543 the Mughal emperor Humayun rested here on his retreat to Persia, leaving his one-year-old son Akbar until he returned two years later. The Mughals ruled Quetta until 1556, when the Persians took it, only to be retaken by Akbar in 1595. The powerful Khans of Kalat held the fort from 1730. In 1828 the first westerner to visit Quetta described it as a mud-walled fort surrounded by 300 mud houses. Although occupied briefly by the British during the First Afghan War in 1839, it was not until 1876 that Quetta came under permanent British control and Robert Groves Sandeman was made political agent in Balochistan. Since Partition the Population of Quetta has increased dramatically. Because of its military base and trading activities, and the introduction of commercial fruit farming, Quetta District can now support half a million people. Quetta, before the great earthquake of 31 May 1935 was a bright and bustling city, having multi-storied buildings. It was almost completely destroyed in that great earthquake.
The British era
Quetta cantonment, 1889.In 1828 the first westerner to visit Quetta described it as a mud-walled fort surrounded by 300 mud houses. Although occupied briefly by the British during the First Afghan War in 1839, it was not until 1876 that Quetta came under permanent British control and Robert Sandeman was made political agent in Baluchistan. Since Partition the population of Quetta has increased dramatically.
Bruce Street, Quetta, before the devastation of the earthquake of 1935Very little is known about the human settlement in the district. However, it is certain that the Afghans and Brahuis are recent immigrants. The Pashtuns appear to have entered the district from the north east, emigrating from their home round the Takht-i-Sulaman about eight centuries ago. They made their first settlement at Samali, a village near Quetta city. The Brahuis are an offshoot from the Kalat territory and their presence in the district dates back to the eighteenth century. Punjabis and other ethnic groups settled in this area in early 1900’s and also after partition and had brought with them not only new tradition and heritage but also different skills which they passed on to the people living in Quetta. In the 1880s and 1890’s Hazaras from Afghanistan also immigrated from Hazarajat to Quetta. Until 1947 Quetta was a small town. People used to call it small London. But rapid population growth in terms of rural – urban migration, and an influx of Afghan refugees during the 1980s helped the slums to grow. New settlement in the form of housing schemes emerged at Satellite Town, Jinnah Town, Samungli Town, Hazara town, Model Town and Shahbaz Town. In Kachi Abadies, slums also begun to develop. The process of settlement continues. Now Quetta has turned into an over-populated city.
Main article: 1935 Quetta earthquake
Quetta, before the devastating earthquake of 7.1 magnitude on 31 May 1935, was a bright and bustling city with multi-storey buildings. Those couple minutes of the earthquake seemed like hours to the people of Quetta. It was almost completely destroyed in this earthquake and was virtually razed to the ground in the small hours of the morning of that fateful day, when about 40,000 people perished. Today, houses are generally single storey and quake proof, built with bricks and reinforced concrete. The structure is generally of lighter material. Incidentally, the bricks of Quetta have a yellowish tinge unlike the red variety of Sindh and the Punjab.
Quetta in WinterQuetta city consists of a valley and is a natural fort, surrounded as it is by imposing hills on all sides. The encircling hills have the resounding names of Chiltan, Takatoo, Murdar and Zarghun. surrounded by three different mountain ranges. It is north west of Karachi and south west of Islamabad.
Climate chart for Quetta
J F M A M J J A S O N D
40 10-2 50 120 40 173 20 237 0 2811 0 3315 10 3418 0 3316 0 3010 0 243 0 180 20 13-1
average temperatures in °C
precipitation totals in mm
J F M A M J J A S O N D
1.6 5028 2 5432 1.6 6337 0.8 7345 0 8252 0 9159 0.4 9364 0 9161 0 8650 0 7537 0 6432 0.8 5530
average temperatures in °F
precipitation totals in inches
Quetta has a continental arid climate with high variations between summer and winter temperatures. Summer high’s can reach 40 o C (105 o F) while winter temperatures can drop to -19 o C (-3 o F).
Summers start in late May and go on till early September with average temperatures ranging from 24-26 o C (75-78 o F). Autumn starts in late September and goes on till mid-November with average temperatures in the 12-18 o C (55-65 o F) range. Winters start in late November and end in late March, with average temperatures near 4-5 o C (39-42 o F) and snowfall in the months of January and February. Spring starts in early April and ends in late May, with average temperatures close to 15 o C (60 o F).
Unlike most of Pakistan, Quetta does not have a monsoon season of sustained, heavy rainfall. The snowfall in the winter months is the principle mode of precipitation.
According to the 1998 census Quetta was the ninth biggest city of Pakistan with a population of 565,137 (however according to non-governmental census the population of Quetta along with Afghan immigrants is over 1,500,000). The city in general is dominated by a Pashtun majority, a Balochi and Hazara minority with an eclectic smattering of smaller groups. However the city is also a home to thousands of Afghan immigrants. The Pushto, Balochi, Persian (Hazaragi dialect), Brahui, Sindhi, Punjabi and Urdu languages are spoken in large parts of Quetta, giving the city a very multicultural feel.
Quetta was the outskirts of Kandahar until it was captured by the British in Second Afghan war. Most of the Balochis settled in Quetta after 1970 when a new province by the name of Balochistan was created after One Unit system was abolished in Pakistan. Quetta was made the capital city of Balochistan.
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Beside millions of Afghan immigrants, the local inhabitants are mainly Pashtuns. Others include Baloch, Brahuis,Hazaras, Punjabis, Hindko, Mohajirs and Sindhis. During the summer season main bazaars are full of people from all over Pakistan. The merchants are mainly Pushtun people. The Hazaras mainly live in Mariabad, Syedabad, Alamdar Road, Brouri/Brewery Road and surrounding areas. Most Hazaras/Changazis immigrated from Afghanistan during the 1880s and 1890s due to persecution by King Abdur Rahman Khan and instability. It is one of the hot spots of Hazara migrants especially for Hazaras of Bamiyan province and its surrounding areas. People of Quetta are known for their friendliness and hospitality. Making visitors comfortable is an integral part of their local traditions. The tribes include Kakar, Daavi Tareen, Bazai, Ghilzai, Sherani, Looni, Kansi and Achakzai. The main bazaar on Jinnah Road is full of Pashtun traders, many of them wearing turbans. Hazara traders sitting in their shops with their distinct facial features, Baloch hawkers with red embroidered caps, and full-skirted nomad women carrying bundles of imported cloth for sale.
Football is popular in Quetta, which has produced more renowned players then any other part of Pakistan. Sadiq Shaheed Footbal Ground is the best-known football ground. Teams in Quetta include Afghan football, Hazara green football and Baluch football clubs and Quetta Bazigars. Among the famous footballers of Quetta are Taj Senior, Taj Junior, Qayyum Changezi, Agha Gul, Kazim Ali Sheralyat (Former Capt of Pakistan Football Team), master siddique and Sher Ali. Sher ali is now training young sportsmen at PakTurk International schools and Colleges Quetta. shoaib Khan of Quetta hass represented Pakistan Cricket Team. In hockey Quetta has produced Zeeshan Ashraf and Shakeel Abbasi who are still represnting National Team as Captain as well. in Mountain climbing and caving adventure sports Hayatullah Khan Durrani (Pride-of-Performance) the Famous Mountaineer and Caver of International repute and Chief Executive of Hayat Durrani Water Sports Academy at Hana Lake Quetta, in Kayaking , Muhammad Abubakar Durrani, Farhanullah Kakar Pakistan National Junior Gold Medalists, in squash Hiddy Jahan Khan is a squash player who was ranked among the top-6 players in the world from 1970 through to 1986. In recent years, Hiddy has been a very successful squash player in veteran’s events. He has won British Open titles at Over-35, Over-40, Over-45 and Over-50 level. Hiddy’s younger brothers Zarak Jahan Khan and Zubair Jahan Khan also became successful professional squash players on the international circuit. In boxing, Olympian sportsmen are Syed Ibrar Ali Shah Hazara, Asghar Ali Changezi, and Haider Ali Changezi.
Aimal Kasi Executed on Nov 14, 2002 in Viginia, USA, for the alleged murder of two CIA agents
Khan Abdul Ghafoor Khan Durrani Chief of Popalzai Durrani tribe and Known for Pakistan movement.
Ayoob Khoso Famous actor
Dur Mohammad Kassi PTV producer and Director
Hameed Sheikh TV artist
Hayatullah Khan Durrani First famous Caver and Pakistani mountain climber of International repute and notable personality of Sadozai Durrani tribe.
Hiddy Jahan Legendary squash Player
Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry Chief Justice of Pakistan
Jamal Shah Famous actor, director, painter and social worker
James Cassels (British Army officer) Chief of the General Staff, the professional head of the British Army and served as a Brigadier on the General Staff of 21st Army Group during World War II.
Justice Javaid Iqbal Ali (Jr.) Former justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
Kader Khan Popular Indian film actor, comedian, script and dialogue writer. Acted in over 300 films
Mahmood Khan Achakzai The Chairman of Pashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party.
Anjum Sohail Kiani Management Social Services Directorate, Sheffield City Council.
General Mohammad Musa Khan Former Chief of Army Staff
Qamar Zaman British Open Squash winner
Qazi Muhammad Essa the first man introduced Muslims political party in Baluchistan.
Khan Muhammad Sarwar Khan Kakar (late) Head of Kakar tribe and famous Pashtoon Leader, Former Speaker, Parlimenterian and Senator.
Shahid Zaman Professional Squash Player
Suresh Oberoi Famous Indian actor who is also father of Bollywood actor Vivek Oberoi
General Abdul Wahid Kakar Former Chief of Army Staff of the Pakistan Army
Quetta has many higher education institutions. The prestigious military Command and Staff College, which was founded by the British, recently celebrated its hundredth anniversary. University of Balochistan was established in 1974. The Balochistan University of Information Technology, Engineering and Management Sciences is also located in Quetta.
Balochistan University of Information Technology Engineering and Management Sciences (BUITEMS)
PakTurk International schools and Colleges, Quarry Road. http://www.pakturk.org
Government College of Commerce, Quarry Road, Since 1959.
Bolan college of business management and computer science,qwari road ,[mustafa kasi]
St Francis Grammar School, Quetta. 1946
St Joseph Convent School Quetta
Wilderness School Quetta
Legend hall school & collage quetta (jinnah town, b.off board office)
Bolan Institute of Technology
DAR-E-ARQAM School Of Islam & Modern Sciences
Command and Staff College
Sardar Bahadur Khan Women University
University of Quetta]
Pharmacy Department Of Balochistan University
St. Mary’s YMCA High School Quetta Cantt.
Beaconhouse School System, Quetta Branch.
F.G Degree College Quetta Cantt.
Model Public School & college
Tameer-i-Nau public college
Cambride secondry school,jan muhammad road quetta,[mustafa kasi]
Government College of Technology Balochistan
Army public school and college
Bolan Medical College Quetta
General Musa Inter College Quetta
Iqra Huffaz (Boys/girls) Secondary School, Railway Housing Society, Quetta.
Garrison Public School
The City School , Quetta Campus
Muslimabad High School Quetta
Kotwal High School Quetta
Helper’s public school Quetta
Quetta is on the western edge of Pakistan and is well connected with the country by a wide network of roads, railways and airways.
Quetta International AirportAt an altitude of 1605 meters above sea level, Quetta Airport is the second highest airport of Pakistan. Pakistan International Airlines, Shaheen Air International and Airblue all have regular flights between Quetta and other major cities of Pakistan including Islamabad Gwadar Karachi Lahore and Peshawar. Pakistan International Airlines has a direct flight between Manchester Dubai New York and other major Airports and Quetta.
Quetta Railway Station is one of the highest railway station of Pakistan, at the height of 1676 meters above sea level. The railway track was lined in 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 miles) track, Lahore in northeast (1,170 km or 727 miles) and Peshawar further northeast (1587 km or 986 miles). A metalled road is also present along the railroad that connects Quetta to Karachi via Sibi, Jacobabad and Rohri. A track from the Iranian city of Zahedan links to Quetta via Taftan, but the train service were temporarily disabled in 2006 due to unrest in Balochistan.
Quetta Railway StationRecently the new project has been proposed for constructing a railway track that will link Gawadar to China, this will also link Gawadar with Quetta via Kalat. Even though the linear distance from Quetta to Lahore is merely 700 km, there is no direct railroad track on this route because of the Sulaiman Range that lies in the east of Quetta. So all northeast-bound trains for Punjab or the North-West Frontier Province must go 350+ km south down to Rohri, Sindh (near Sukkur) first, before continuing north to Punjab and/or NWFP. Recently Railway is under attack by the Balochs specially in the Bolan Pass area. Some innocent passengers have been killed and wounded. This has created a great sence of insecurity amongst the travellers.
Quetta is well connected by roads to the rest of the country. A recently built road connects it with Karachi through Mastung, Kalat, Khuzdar and Lasbela. Another road connecting Quetta to Karachi follows the Sibi, Jacobabad, Sukkur and Hyderabad route. Quetta and Lahore are also connected through two routes. The older route is the Sibi, Sukkur, Rahim Yar Khan, Bahawalpur and Multan route. Another route is via Loralai, Fort Mendro , Dera Ghazi Khan and Multan. Quetta is also connected with Afghanistan through Chaman and to Iran through the Mastung, Nushki, Dalbandin and Taftan route.
PTCL (Pakistan Telecommunication Corporation Limited) provides the main network of landline telephone. Many Internet Service Providers and all major mobile phone companies operating in Pakistan provide service in Quetta.
St. Mary’s church during winter. From a 1910 photograph.
Hanna Lake In Winter
Quetta At NightQuetta is a major tourist attraction for tourists from abroad. It is advertised as a thrilling location, full of adventure and enjoyment. Some prominent bazaars of Quetta are located on the roads Shahrah-e-Iqbal (the Kandahari Bazaar) and Shahrah-e-Liaquat (the Liaquat and Suraj Gang Bazaar, Alamdar road (little Tokyo). Here, tourists can find colourful handicrafts, particularly Balochi mirror work and Pashtun embroidery which is admired all over the world. The Pashtun workers are prominently expert in making fine Afghan carpets, with their pleasing and intricate designs, fur coats, jackets, waist-coats, sandals and other creations of traditional Pashtun skills. local handicrafts, specially green marble products, mirror work and embroidered jackets, shirts, and hand bags, pillow covers, bed sheets, dry fruits, etc. Balochi carpets are made by the nomadic tribes of this area. They are generally not nearly as fine or expensive as the Persian city products, or even the Turkoman tribal rugs from further North, but they are generally better than Afghan carpets and more authentic than the bad copies of Turkoman and Persian designs that the cites of Pakistan produce. They definitely have a charm of their own. They range from relatively crude rugs that can, with some bargaining, be had at very reasonable prices to quite fine and valuable pieces. Many are small enough to be fairly portable. For those interested in local cuisine, there are many sumptuous dishes to feast upon. The “Sajji” (leg of lamb) is said to be very good by locals. The Pathan tribesmen of the valley also enjoy “Landhi” (whole lamb), and Khadi Kebab. “Landhi” is a whole lamb which is dried in shade and kept for the winters. “Kebab” shops are very popular, the best being Lal Kabab, Tabaq, Cafe Farah and Cafe Baldia. They serve Pakistani and Continental food, while Cafe China is one of the oldest and most reputable Chinese restaurant that specializes in Chinese cuisine. Some of the finest mutton in the country is raised around Quetta. It has a delicious smell which can be sampled in the “Pulao” that most of the eating houses offer. Small and clean hotels in Alamdar road provide real comfort for tourists in peaceful environments.
About 50 km, from Quetta is the valley of Pishin, which is surrounded by thousands of acres of vineyards and orchards, made by boring holes into rocks to bring to the surface the deep water. The rich harvest of apples, grapes, plums, peaches and apricots is loaded at Yaru railway station, seven miles from Pishin. The most papular areas of Pishin is Bostan, Kanozai, Yaru and Barshor.
Hanna Lake nestles in the hills ten kilometres (six miles) east of Quetta, a startling turquoise pool within bare brown surroundings. There is a lakeside restaurant with picnic tables shaded by pine trees. At one end, the irrigation dam rises out of the depths like battlements of a fort. and on the eastern part the well known hdwsa the only Rowing , Canoeing , Kayaking and Sailing Training center in Balochistan Province. It is very attractive for holidaymakers, and is crowded with hikers and campers in holidays. You can hire a boat and paddle on the lake and round the island in the middle.the HLDA has planted some trees for the beautification and protection of environment.
Quetta Consists of Several Small Housing Areas.
. Gulistan Town (On Main Major M.Ali Road near Alamdar Road)
. Quetta Cantt (Primarily for Ex and Serving Armed forces Personnel)
. Satellite town
. Jinnah Town (On Main Samugli Road)
. Samugli Housing Scheme(One of the expensive Housing scheam)
. Hazara Town(Located near western bypass kirani and burory road)
. Daray Ajay (Its Most papolar Area in Mehrabad
Askari park is the biggest park of Quetta with a children’s playground, toys and entertainment. It is located on Airport Road near Custom House Quetta. It is administered by the Army. Built in mid 1990s, Askari Park is equipped with modern rides with “Dragon” being the main attraction.
Hazarganji Chiltan National Park
In the Hazarganji Chiltan National Park, 20 km south-west of Quetta, Markhors have been given protection. The park is spread over 32500 acres, altitude ranging from 2021 to 3264 meters. Hazarganji literally means “Of a thousand treasures”. In the folds of these mountains, legend has it, there are over a thousand treasures buried, reminders of the passage of great armies down the corridors of history. The Bactrains, Scythians, Muslims, Mongols passed this way.