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About Karachi

Pakistan's commercial center and largest city is a sprawling place of bazaars, hi-tech electronic shops, scurf-infested older buildings and modish new hotels. Its sights are spread far and wide, so a taxi or rickshaw is necessary to travel between them. A good place to start is the Quaid-i-Azam Mausoleum, a monument to Pakistan's founder Mohammed Ali Jinnah, which can be charitably described as distinctive. More impressive is the remarkable white-marbled Defence Housing Society Mosque. The single dome, claimed to be the largest of its kind in the world, will make your gum cleave to the roof of your mouth.

Other sights include the Holy Trinity Cathedral and St. Andrew's Church (both good examples of Anglo-Indian architecture), the city's zoo, and the Zoroastrian Towers of Silence, hills where the dead are traditionally exposed to vultures. South of the city is Clifton, a former British hangout and now an exclusive coastal corner for the local wealthy, the popular but rather drab Clifton Beach, and Manora Island, a less-crowded beach resort.

Saddar, the city centre, is the main shopping area with thriving markets selling carpets, fur coats, leather jackets, snakeskin purses, silk scarves and the country's biggest range of handicrafts. It also has a number of food stalls and cheap restaurants and the majority of budget hotels. Nightlife in Karachi is an oxymoron.

If travel outside of Karachi is possible, then the archaeological site of Moenjodaro - once a city of an Indus Valley civilization - and the Chaukundi tombs are well worth a visit.

Being the commercial and unofficial capital of Pakistan, flights in and out of Karachi are numerous but it's worth checking the ETA of your flight.

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