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Frere Hall

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ImageThis majestic Hall, constructed in a Gothic/Venetian style, was built in 1865 in honour of Sir Bartley Frere, Commissioner and later Viceroy of the region. During the Colonial days it used to serve as a center for the cultural elite of Karachi, holding regular socio-cultural activities. Today the Frere Hall contains a large public library, the Liaqat National Library, which is one of the few good libraries in Karachi. It has more than seventy thousand books in store, including rare manuscripts, technical reports and journals, and a marvellous collection of atlases. 
The upper floor of the Hall is dedicated to Sadequain, a world renowned Pakistani painter and calligrapher. It is where Sadequain started painting the ceiling in brilliant colours and patterns, but he did not get a chance to complete his work as he passed away. The floor now contains some of his best masterpieces, inlcuding beautiful paintings and calligraphy samples.
The park around the Hall is called Jinnah Park, or Bagh-e-Jinnah. It is usually open to public to just wander about and enjoy.
Lately, due to rising threats to security, the area has been sealed off to visitors. Its location (near the American Embassy, the Pak-American Cultural Centre, and large five-star hotels, banks, and multinational company offices) makes it prone to miscreants, and consequently there is tight security in the area. It is pretty difficult to get into the Jinnah Park, let alone see the Hall closely or go inside.
But do try to visit it, you might get lucky and get a chance to see one of the most remarkable buildings of Karachi. Make sure, however, that you have all your identity documents before you enter the area, as security personnel might want to check them to ensure that it is safe to let you in.

 

Location: Abdullah Haroon Road, directly opposite the Marriot Hotel. 


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