Karachi used to be the capital of Pakistan. Check out this rare collection of Photos taken during the 1900s of Karachi’s some of the famous and oldest attractions.

Napier Mole Bridge to Kemari

Napier Mole Bridge to Kemari

Photograph taken by an unknown photographer in Karachi, c.1900, with a general view along the iron Napier Mole bridge connecting Karachi with Kemari.

The Empress Market

The Empress Market 1900

Photograph of Empress Market in Karachi, taken by an unknown photographer, c.1900.

The Empress Market was constructed between 1884 and 1889 and was named to commemorate Queen Victoria, Empress of India. It was designed by James Strachan, the foundations were completed by the English firm of A.J. Attfield, and the building constructed by the local firm of ‘Mahoomed Niwan and Dulloo Khejoo’. The building was arranged around a courtyard, 130 ft by 100 ft, with four galleries each 46 ft wide. The galleries provided accommodation for 280 shops and stall keepers; at the time of its construction, it was one of seven markets in Karachi.

Sindh Arts College

Sindh Arts College 1900

Photograph of the D.J. Sindh Arts College (now known as the D. J. Government Science College) of Karachi, taken by an unknown photographer, c.1900, from an album of 46 prints titled ‘Karachi Views’. Designed by James Strachan and considered this architect’s greatest achievement, the college was built between 1887 and 1893. Named after the Sindhi philanthropist Dayaram Jethmal, whose two family members contributed towards its cost, the building was constructed in the neoclassical, or “Italian architectural style.” A considerable amount of money was spent on the interior of the college; the floors comprised mosaic tiles imported from Belgium and the eight-foot wide main staircase was fitted with ornamental cast-iron work from McFarlane & Company of Glasgow. Karachi, once the capital of Pakistan, is now the capital of Sindh province and the major port and main commercial centre of the country. It was a strategically located small port at a protected natural harbour on the Arabian Sea north-west of the mouth of the Indus, and was developed and expanded by the British when they took over Sindh in the mid-19th century to serve the booming trade from the Punjab and the wheat and cotton regions of the sub-continent.

Karachi city street view

Karachi city street view

Photograph of a busy street scene in Karachi, taken by an unknown photographer.

Trans-Liyari Market

Trans-Liyari Market 1900

At the end of the nineteenth century the Trans-Liyari Quarter of the city was made up of a cluster of poor settlements mostly consisting of reed and mud-plastered huts with some more permanent dwellings. At this time, one-quarter of the population of Karachi lived in this area across the Liyari River.

Karachi Gymkhana

Karachi Gymkhana 1900

The British had also developed the concept of gymkhanas or sports-houses which provided facilities for all sorts of sports and games for the colonial population in the sub-continent. The Karachi Gymkhana Club, located on Scandal Point (later Club) Road, was a large Tudor-style building, constructed in 1886.

Bird’s eye view Victoria Road

Bird's eye view Victoria Road 1900

Photograph with a view of Karachi looking in a northerly direction along Victoria Road, with St Andrew’s Church visible in the distance, taken by an unknown photographer, c.1900

Bird’s eye view Saddar Bazaar

Bird's eye view Saddar Bazaar 1900

The Saddar Bazaar at Karachi followed a typical gridiron plan; all the major north-south streets of the Bazaar were laid out at right angles to Bander Road, Frere, Somerset and Elphinstone Streets which along with Victoria Road, linked the northern part of the cantonment to the southern part. The area soon developed into the most fashionable part of the city, supplying the needs of both its civilian and military parts.

Bird’s eye view – Clifton Road

Bird's eye view - Clifton Road 1900

Photograph with a view looking along Clifton Road in Karachi.

Here’s an interesting video I discovered on YouTube of Karachi:


  • saleen

    Hi I was really fascinated by these photos of karachi I am searching for photos of Karachi in the 1960’s particularly of a place called Doli Khatta, which was off Bandar Road (do you know why it was called by this name?) and edging near Ghandhi Gardens I am sorry that is all I know any info and photos would be helpful. Thanks saleen
    plz don’t publish my e-mail address.

  • saleen

    Hi I was really fascinated by these photos of karachi I am searching for photos of Karachi in the 1960’s particularly of a place called Doli Khatta, which was off Bandar Road (do you know why it was called by this name?) and edging near Ghandhi Gardens I am sorry that is all I know any info and photos would be helpful. Thanks saleen
    plz don’t publish my e-mail address.

  • Max Brandon

    Hi Mr. Zahid,

    What a wonderful job you did while publishing the instant content. I really appreciate your effort and hope to see the other historical, cultural and social snapshots related to Pakistan, in future we remain with…

  • Max Brandon

    Hi Mr. Zahid,

    What a wonderful job you did while publishing the instant content. I really appreciate your effort and hope to see the other historical, cultural and social snapshots related to Pakistan, in future we remain with…

  • Thanks Max.

  • Thanks Max.

  • Farrukh Siddiqui

    Just Says: I Love KARACHI.

  • Farrukh Siddiqui

    Just Says: I Love KARACHI.

  • Abid

    Saleen
    Doli Khaata is located between Gandhi Garden and Soldier Bazaar Road. It is the red tiled roof house south-west of the dark blue house.
    http://wikimapia.org/#lat=24.871837&lon=67.024783&z=18&l=0&m=a&v=2

  • Abid

    Saleen
    Doli Khaata is located between Gandhi Garden and Soldier Bazaar Road. It is the red tiled roof house south-west of the dark blue house.
    http://wikimapia.org/#lat=24.871837&lon=67.024783&z=18&l=0&m=a&v=2

  • Some astonishing pictures over here. Even though aged, you could just feel the colors!

  • Some astonishing pictures over here. Even though aged, you could just feel the colors!

  • Ejaz

    Great pictures of Karachi. I am always fascinated by the historical photos of my home town, Karachi. Lovely – very much so.

  • Ejaz

    Great pictures of Karachi. I am always fascinated by the historical photos of my home town, Karachi. Lovely – very much so.

  • ALADDDIN SHAH

    I was amazed when i saw empress market pic, look so clean wish we keep as it clean as it was.

  • ALADDDIN SHAH

    I was amazed when i saw empress market pic, look so clean wish we keep as it clean as it was.

  • bilal

    its a nice stff do you have more old pics of karachi? i need those pics

  • bilal

    its a nice stff do you have more old pics of karachi? i need those pics

  • MIK

    This is a very very nice past time of butifull karachi. (kash ya bhir ajay)

  • MIK

    This is a very very nice past time of butifull karachi. (kash ya bhir ajay)

  • Lubna A Hassan

    Its great to see these peaceful pictures of my city. What a lovely place it used to be and what ia dump it is now

  • Lubna A Hassan

    Its great to see these peaceful pictures of my city. What a lovely place it used to be and what ia dump it is now

  • Excellent photos! Clean was the first impression I had as well. Also I love the architecture. The Victoria Road bird’s eye photo with the roofing with the white trim stands out to me. I love that visual sense of order.

    Just comparing these with the Wikipedia photos of modern day downtown Karachi is stark, and the population growth is staggering!

  • Excellent photos! Clean was the first impression I had as well. Also I love the architecture. The Victoria Road bird’s eye photo with the roofing with the white trim stands out to me. I love that visual sense of order.

    Just comparing these with the Wikipedia photos of modern day downtown Karachi is stark, and the population growth is staggering!

  • wow, great pics man. i showed my grandad and he loved them. thanx for posting

  • wow, great pics man. i showed my grandad and he loved them. thanx for posting

  • Excellent photos! Also I love the old city Karachi Images.

    I really appreciate your effort

    I need more fascinated by the historical photos for my mdeia library.

    any one helpout me plz contact#0300-9207764

  • Excellent photos! Also I love the old city Karachi Images.

    I really appreciate your effort

    I need more fascinated by the historical photos for my mdeia library.

    any one helpout me plz contact#0300-9207764

  • Ayesha A.

    Wonderful pictures. We’re working on a documentary and were wondering if you could point us to where you accessed these pictures? Thank you so much.

  • Ayesha A.

    Wonderful pictures. We’re working on a documentary and were wondering if you could point us to where you accessed these pictures? Thank you so much.

  • I received these photos as an email forward, I don’t know the source of these photos.

  • I received these photos as an email forward, I don’t know the source of these photos.

  • ausaf ahmed

    very nice pictures, yes this is/was karachi, long before punjabis and puktoons ‘invaded’ this city and ate all its beauty.

    • Shabir742

      Mr Ausaf Ahmed from where did you come? If you don’t know your roots let me tell you that when Muhammad Bin Qasim invaded India 612 AD. Your forefathers started accepting Islam and with the partition we muslims of this part started facing a huge influx of so called muhajirs from India. We gave you shelter and we welcome you on this part of a peaceful land when you and your family were the victims of Sikh and Hindus brutalities. They raped your family members ofcourse we felt sorry for that because we think that they are our sisters too. I am sorry that instead of showing your anger against those babaric acts of hindus and sikhs you started blaming your own muslim brothers…………..shame on you and don’t call yourself a muslim.

  • ausaf ahmed

    very nice pictures, yes this is/was karachi, long before punjabis and puktoons ‘invaded’ this city and ate all its beauty.

  • hassan

    dear ausaf ahmed sahib yaar kuch tu sharam kero yaar
    please leave all this hatred and come out as a nation love each other and more importantly respect each other….
    we need respect and love no more hate so kindly come out of this thanx

  • hassan

    dear ausaf ahmed sahib yaar kuch tu sharam kero yaar
    please leave all this hatred and come out as a nation love each other and more importantly respect each other….
    we need respect and love no more hate so kindly come out of this thanx

  • JahanZaib Baloch

    wonderfull pictures with their exact descriptions. great research our family living in karachi since 1878.

  • JahanZaib Baloch

    wonderfull pictures with their exact descriptions. great research our family living in karachi since 1878.

  • Faisalimrangeo

    great pics

  • Umar

    very good pictures .. do you have more pictures of karachi in good resolution .. can you please email all to me i will be really thankful umughal@ymail.com

  • Navaid Siddiqui

    This is MERA KARACHI ABSOLUTELY BOMBASTIC SINCE THE BEGINING

  • Abdullah

    very lovely pics

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