The Empress Market [Karachi].
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of Empress Market in Karachi, taken by an unknown photographer, c.1900, from an album of 46 prints titled 'Karachi Views'. Karachi, the former capital of Pakistan, is the largest city and main commercial centre of the country and the capital of Sindh province in the lower Indus valley. Its history prior to the 19th century as a port on the Arabian Sea north-west of the mouth of the Indus is scant, but it is believed to be ancient. It has been identified as Krokala, the port visited by Alexander's fleet in 326 BC, is noted in a collection of 16th century Turkish sailing directions, and was transformed from a fishing village to a trading post under the Kalhora and Talpur rulers of Sindh in the 18th century. However, it remained modestly sized until the British conquest of Sindh in 1843. They proceeded to develop the harbour of Karachi and transform it into a major port. The Empress Market was constructed between 1884 and 1889 and was named to commemorate Queen Victoria, Empress of India. It was designed by James Strachan, the foundations were completed by the English firm of A.J. Attfield, and the building constructed by the local firm of 'Mahoomed Niwan and Dulloo Khejoo'. The building was arranged around a courtyard, 130 ft by 100 ft, with four galleries each 46 ft wide. The galleries provided accommodation for 280 shops and stall keepers; at the time of its construction it was one of seven markets in Karachi.