Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Abbottabad a lovely place

Abbottabad in 1983

Osama bin Laden was killed in Abbottabad. Abbott-abad means Abbott's place in Urdu. It was named after the British officer James Abbott (1807-1896) of Blackheath London who has founded the city in 1853. During the British era the city became a major garrison town where among others the famous Gurkhas were stationed. After the British left, the Pakistan army established one of their most important military academies over here.

The city is well-known for its pleasant weather, it attracts a lot of tourists from all over Pakistan, and many officers decided to stay in town after their retirement. James Abbott also liked the city very much, in 1883 he declared Abbottabad to be the most beautiful hilly town of the subcontinent.

Major James Abbott's House

When he was called back to his motherland he made a poem (which can be read at a plaque placed in the city center): 
I remember the day when I first came here
And smelt the sweet Abbottabad air

I adored the place from the first sight
And was happy that my coming here was right

And eight good years here passed very soon
And we leave you perhaps on a sunny noon

Oh Abbottabad we are leaving you now
To your natural beauty do I bow

I bid you farewell with a heavy heart
Never from my mind will your memories thwart

read the whole poem here.

next episode: zouave

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