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
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
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
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
Photograph of a busy street scene in Karachi, taken by an unknown photographer.
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.
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
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
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
Photograph with a view looking along Clifton Road in Karachi.
Here’s an interesting video I discovered on YouTube of Karachi: