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 the Greek, Mughal, Afghan, and British empires, the city has a fascinating history. To see Sialkot in all its bustling glory, head to the center, 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 that produce everything from soccer balls 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 where merchants sell everything under the sun and where the city comes to socialize as well as to trade.
You can choose from a complete range of accommodations in Sialkot, and there are plenty of newly built hotels conveniently located in the center of the city. While the road system and infrastructure are modern, public transport is scarce; 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, about 40 minutes north of the city. This hydro-engineering project has evolved into a popular wildlife sanctuary, wetland, and picnic spot.