Özcan Yurdalan’s Karachi

Özcan Yurdalan Is A Writer-Photographer Who Has Spent The Last 25 Years Traveling In Iran, India, Pakistan. And Mongolia. We Asked Him About Karachi In Connection With His New Book, ‘A Traveler’s Guide To Getting Lost’.

You say that one should go to Pakistan to understand that it is different from what we think. So, what is Karachi like?

Karachi is a major city of culture, but you can only see that if you look carefully. There is another Karachi inside the familiar city, a Karachi that attracts the traveler with its human warmth, its rich history and its art scene. The minute you step into the street in Karachi you will encounter many surprises without even having to look.

Can you give us five reasons to go to Karachi?
1. Saddar: Karachi’s liveliest and most dynamic marketplace. This market in the city center not only has all your possible everyday needs, you can also find valuable antiques here as well as more ordinary gift items.

2. Masjid-e Tooba: This small mosque in one of the city’s outlying districts is a magnificent structure with amazing architecture that was built in the 1960’s. Boasting marble work and a dome 72 meters in diameter, its mirror decorations literally dazzle the eye.

3. Dhobi Ghat: This large open-air laundry runs for almost four kilometers along the banks of the Liyari River.

4. Towers of Silence: The two largest Towers of Silence, where Zoroastrians traditionally expose their dead to be consumed by birds, can be seen on the Koranga Road. Karachi has Pakistan’s largest population of Zoroastrians, who are keeping this ancient faith alive today.

5. Mazar-e Quaid: A monument to the founder of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, this imposing mausoleum in the middle of a large park is the work of Turkish architects.