Nestled in the upper right-hand corner of Pakistan sits Sialkot, the capital of the Punjab province. Once the easternmost outpost of Alexander the Great’s empire, this proud, ancient city is full of wonders.
Having been part of Greek, Mughal, Afghan and British empires, the city’s history is fascinating. To see Sialkot in all its bustling glory head to the centre, Chowk Allama Iqbal, for its plazas, restaurants and bazaars.
Sialkot has always been a hive of industry. For thousands of years, the city has turned its hand to many things, from making bricks that were transported across Asia, to papermaking in the 16th century, to today’s modern factories producing everything from footballs for FIFA to surgical instruments.
While this city is focused mostly on business and commerce, there is still plenty to see. The most famous landmark, the Clock Tower, stands tall in Saddar Bazaar, a network of tiny streets selling everything under the sun where the city comes to socialise as well as to trade.
You can choose from a complete range of accommodation in Sialkot, and there are plenty of newly built hotels conveniently located in the centre of the city. While the road system and infrastructure is modern, public transport is scarce and you’re better off hiring a car or a taking an auto-rickshaw or taxi.
For a break from the hustle and bustle, locals head up to Marala Headworks, around 40 minutes north of the city. This hydro engineering project has evolved into a popular wildlife sanctuary, wetland and picnic spot.