Editor’s Note: Rare black & white photos of Karachi dating back to 1860s are in the last portion of this page.
Brief History: The area of Karachi was known to the ancient Greeks by many names: ‘Krokola’ and ’Morontobara’ port (probably the modern Manora Island near the Karachi harbour), from where Alexander the Great’s admiral Nearchus sailed for back home.The Arabs called it the port of Debal, from where Muhammad Bin Qasim led his conquering force into Sindh.
According to legend, the city started as a fishing settlement, where a fisher woman, Mai Kolachi, settled and started a family. The village that grew out of this settlement was known as Kolachi-jo-Goth (The Village of Kolachi in Sindhi).
The city was under Kalhora rulers and later under Talpur rulers of Sindh. It was conquered by British east India Company in 1839. The town was later annexed to the British Indian Empire. When Pakistan got independence in 1947, Karachi was selected as its capital. The capital was shifted to Islamabad in 1959.
This page will display photos of Karachi; a mix of new, old and extremely rare pics of the city.
Bird’s Eye View of Jinnah International Airport, Karachi
Aerial View of Boat Basin, Karachi
Containers at Karachi Port
Under Construction Mazar-e-Quaid
A Very Rare Video of Karachi-1942. A great video of Karachi made by an unknown British Soldier. See here Rare Videos of Pakistan
An Aerial View of Karachi
Teen Talwar, Karachi
Another View of Teen Talwar, Clifton, Karachi
Frere Hall, Karachi
Metropole Hotel, Karachi
Park Tower, Karachi
Honeymoon Lodge (Now Agha Khan Hill) at Korangi Road, Karachi
DHA Golf Club, Karachi
Millennium Mall Flyover, Karachi
Beautiful Karachi Scene at Night
Mohatta Palace, Karachi
A Boat-Shaped Mosque, Karachi. It’s name is Masjid-e-Safina.
PIDC (Pakistan Industrial Development Corporation) Building, Karachi
Jahangir Kothari, Clifton, Karachi
Nagan Chowrangi Flyover Karachi During Day
Nagan Chowrangi Flyover Karachi During Night
Paradise Point, near Karachi
Cape Monze (Cape Mount) Beach, near Karachi. Cape Monze, also known as Cape Mount, is a beautiful beach on the Arabian Sea near Karachi. It is closer to Gadani Beach.
D. J. Science College, Karachi. D. J. Science 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’.
The Eduljee Dinshaw Charitable Dispensary. The magnificent building of the Eduljee Dinshaw Charitable Dispensary, located in Saddar next to Khyber Hotel near the intersection of Preedy Street and Raja Ghazanfar Ali Road (Somerset Street), is a classical landmark of Karachi. It is also a reminder of religious and ethnic diversity of Karachi. It was commissioned by the famous philanthropist Eduljee Dinshaw in 1882. Photo by Skybolt.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Karachi. It is situated on Shahrah-e-Iraq (Old Clarke Street), in Saddar Karachi, and was opened in April 1881. A church was initially built on the grounds of this cathedral in 1845, and was called St. Patrick’s Church. The little old church also continued to function until it was destroyed by a storm in 1885. Photo by Karachi_St._Patricks_Cathedral.jpg: XalD.
Holy Trinity Cathedral, Karachi. Holy Trinity Cathedral is situated on Fatima Jinnah Road, Karachi. Built in 1855, its tall tower was also a light house as it was built with a purpose to facilitate the ships arriving at Karachi Harbour.
Saint Andrew’s Church, Karachi
Habib Bank Plaza Karachi Under Construction, 1963
A Camel Cart and Tram on a Road in Karachi
Municipal Hall, Karachi, 1954
Old Photo of McLeod Road, Karachi, Late 1940s. This photo was taken from where National Bank of Pakistan Head Office is today. The buildings on the left have been replaced by Habib Bank Plaza and some other buildings.
Federal Govt Offices, Karachi-1947
A Roadside Dentist in Karachi
A Road in Karachi Submerged in Rain Water Before Partition
Elphinstone Street, Karachi in 1940. It is now called Zaib-un-Nisa Street.
Elphinstone Street, Karachi, 1940. Elphinstone Street is now called Zaib-un-Nisa Street.
Old Photos of Karachi – Manora Barracks, Karachi, 1930
Rare Photo of Elphinstone Street, Karachi – 1930. Elphinstone Street is now called Zaib-un-Nisa Street.
Old Photo of Shops in a Street in Karachi
A Signpost at Malir cantonment – 1930. This stone marker was erected at Malir Cantonment in 1930. During the Second World War, Karachi (and its surrounding military facilities like Malir Cantonment) became a major staging post for troops of the British Indian Army being shipped to the Middle East and North Africa. From Oct 1941 onward, Malir Cantonment held the large number of Italian POWs captured in North and East Africa. The distances to New York and San Fransisco were probably added in 1941 when the cantonment became a major base for the American support for the China-Burma-India (CBI) Theatre. The distance to Warsaw may have been added after Partition when a large number of Polish pilots served in the Pakistan Air Force.
The Empress Market, Karachi – 1930
A Parsi Family in Karachi in Motor Car, 1925
Bolton Market, Karachi, 1920
Star Cinema, Karachi, 1918-20. This cinema was located in Saddar, Karachi. Now it has been converted into Star Shopping Centre.The cinema is advertising Hands Up, which was a silent Western film released in America in 1917. There were two movies with the name of Hands Up; one was released in 1917 and the other in 1926. We are not sure which one was shown in Star Cinema when the picture was taken.
Please see both the links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hands_Up!_(1917_film)
Rare Photo of Kothari Parade and Ladywood Pier at Clifton, Karachi
Rare Photo of Mausoleum of Abdullah Shah Ghazi at Clifton, Karachi, early 1900s
Karachi Cantonment Railway Station in 1900
Rare Photo of Bunder Road, Karachi – 1900. Bunder Road is now called M.A. Jinnah Road (Muhammad Ali Jinnah Road).
A Street in Karachi City – 1900
Napier Mole Bridge, Karachi, 1900
D. J. Sindh Arts College (Now D. J. Govt Science College), Karachi, 1900
A Traffic Policeman Controlling Traffic in Downtown Karachi – Late 19th Century
A Busy Street in Karachi, Late 19th Century
Rare Photo of Victoria Road, Karachi, 1900. Victoria Road is now called Abdullah Haroon Road. Top left hand corner in the photo is where now Regal Chowk stands. Saint Andrew’s Church is also visible in the photo. The Church is between Victoria Road and Garden Road on Preedy Street. Immediate front is where Zainab Market now stands.
Rare Photo of Napier Barracks, Karachi, 1890s. Looking Northwest, the wilderness beyond is where Quaid-e-Azam’s Mazar, Lines Area and in the distance Nazimabad are located today.
Sindh Club, Karachi City, 1890s
Frere Hall,Karachi, 1890
A Rare Photo of The Empress Market, Karachi – 1890
Frere Hall,Karachi, 1880s
Saint Patrick’s School, Karachi , 1873
A Girls’ Classroom at Saint Patrick’s School, Karachi , 1873
Parsi Virbaiji School, Karachi , 1873
A Class in Parsi Virbaiji School, Karachi , 1873
Anglo Vernacular School, Karachi , 1873
A Classroom in Anglo Vernacular School, Karachi ,1873
Students Taking Lesson in a Classroom in Anglo Vernacular School, Karachi ,1873
A Girls’ School in Karachi, 1873
A Rare Photo of Karachi Harbour, 1860. One of the earliest photos of the Karachi Harbour.
A Rare photo of Frere Hall, Karachi – 1860
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