MURREE – Queen of Hills
Murree is a popular hill station and a summer resort in Pakistan. Murree is also visited as one of the most favorite destination for Pakistani and Foreign tourists in Summer and during snowfall of winter. Murree is located along Islamabad-Kohala highway N75, some 30 km (19 mi) northeast of Islamabad. The name Murree is derived from 'marhi', "high place" although there is a popular belief it was named after the virgin Mary during the British times. It is situated on the southern slopes of the Western Himalayan foothills as they ascend to the northeast towards Kashmir. During British Rule in the nineteenth century, its altitude was established at 7,000 feet (2,100 m), but its actual altitude has now been determined as 2,300 m (7,500 ft) above sea level. Murree is accessible by road from the centre of the Islamabad and Rawalpindi areas. It is still associated with Britain; many British fruits (including cherries, raspberries and strawberries) thrive locally. There is a church, built in 1857, located at the centre of the town, which is still used as a place of worship. Many houses around the church are still standing, functioning mostly as hotels. Old traditional restaurants have been replaced by fast food shops and newer restaurants. Murree has expanded since 1947 at a rate much greater than that which its infrastructure can sustain. Securing water and electricity has been a constant challenge. The jam-packed bazaar has caught fire a number of times in the last century, and the growth of tourism and a construction boom have had an adverse effect on the local environment.