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Art and history at the National Museum in Islamabad

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Art and History at the National Museum in Islamabad

The National Museum in Islamabad is an exquisite institution that offers a captivating glimpse into the artistic and historical heritage of Pakistan. Located in the heart of the city, this museum holds a vast collection of artifacts and artworks that date back centuries, providing visitors with a unique opportunity to explore the rich cultural tapestry of the country. Let’s delve into the marvelous journey that awaits at the National Museum.

The Architecture

The National Museum is housed in a remarkable building that stands as a testament to the architectural brilliance of Pakistan. Designed by the renowned architect, Haris Awan, the museum’s structure seamlessly blends modern and traditional elements. The facade features intricate Islamic patterns and motifs, paying tribute to the country’s cultural roots while maintaining a contemporary appeal. Inside, the museum boasts spacious galleries, allowing visitors to navigate through the exhibits with ease.

Gandhara Art Gallery

One of the most significant sections of the National Museum is the Gandhara Art Gallery. This gallery showcases the magnificent Gandhara civilization that flourished in the region more than two millennia ago. Visitors can observe an exquisite collection of sculptures, friezes, and pottery that exemplify the artistic brilliance of this ancient civilization. The Gandhara Art Gallery offers a glimpse into the fusion of Hellenistic and Buddhist influences that defined the art of this period.

The centerpiece of the gallery is the iconic Fasting Buddha, a sculpture that dates back to the 2nd century CE. This striking piece portrays Buddha, seated in a meditative pose, emanating a sense of tranquility and enlightenment. The craftsmanship and attention to detail in the Fasting Buddha are truly awe-inspiring and make it a must-see for any visitor to the National Museum.

Regional Ethnological and Archeological Gallery

The National Museum also houses a Regional Ethnological and Archeological Gallery, which showcases the diverse cultures and traditions of Pakistan. This gallery takes visitors on a captivating journey through time, covering various periods of history from the Indus Valley Civilization to the Mughal era.

Within this gallery, one can explore artifacts such as pottery, jewelry, clothing, and weaponry that were once integral parts of the different regional cultures. The interactive displays and informative panels provide visitors with insights into the daily lives, beliefs, and artistic expressions of the people who inhabited these regions throughout history.

Islamic Art Gallery

The Islamic Art Gallery at the National Museum offers a comprehensive collection of Islamic art, showcasing the ingenuity and creativity of Muslim craftsmen across various periods and regions. Visitors can marvel at the intricate calligraphy, delicate carvings, and elaborate metalwork that adorn the gallery.

This gallery encompasses a wide range of artifacts, including miniature paintings, textile art, and decorative objects, giving visitors a holistic understanding of the diverse artistic traditions within the Islamic world. The Islamic Art Gallery is a testament to the beauty and grandeur that has characterized Muslim art throughout the centuries.

The Coin Gallery

If you have an interest in numismatics, the Coin Gallery at the National Museum is sure to captivate you. This gallery displays an extensive collection of coins that span different periods of history, offering a fascinating insight into the economic and cultural exchanges that have taken place in the region over centuries.

Visitors can observe coins ranging from ancient civilizations such as the Kushan Empire and the Indo-Greek period to the Mughal era and modern-day Pakistan. The Coin Gallery is not only a visual treat for history enthusiasts but also serves as a valuable resource for scholars and researchers studying the monetary systems and historical trade routes of the region.


The National Museum in Islamabad is a treasure trove of art and history that presents the diverse cultural heritage of Pakistan in a captivating manner. From the mesmerizing Gandhara sculptures to the intricate Islamic calligraphy, the museum’s exhibits offer visitors a glimpse into the extraordinary artistic achievements of the region.

Whether you are a history buff, an art enthusiast, or simply curious about Pakistan’s rich cultural legacy, a visit to the National Museum is a must. The museum’s well-curated galleries, informative displays, and stunning architectural design create an immersive experience that will leave you with a profound appreciation for the country’s extraordinary artistic and historical heritage.


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