Skip to main content Skip to Search Box

Definition: Peshawar from Collins English Dictionary


1 a city in N Pakistan, at the E end of the Khyber Pass: one of the oldest cities in Pakistan and capital of the ancient kingdom of Gandhara; university (1950). Pop: 1 255 000 (2005 est)

Summary Article: Peshawar
from The Columbia Encyclopedia

(pӘshä'wär, pӘshô'Әr), city (1998 pop. 988,005), capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (formerly North-West Frontier Province), NW Pakistan. A road and rail center near the famed Khyber Pass, Peshawar is an important military and communications center, the historical terminus of the Grand Trunk Road of India, and the major depot for trade with Afghanistan. Local handicrafts and farm produce from the surrounding fertile agricultural valley are sold in the many bazaars of the city. Industries include food processing and the manufacture of steel, cigarettes, firearms, textiles, pharmaceuticals, furniture, and paper.

The city, once called Purushapura, was the capital of the ancient Greco-Buddhist center of Gandhara. The Kushan leader Kanishka (2d cent. A.D.) made it his capital. For centuries, it was the target of successive Afghan, Persian, and Mongol invaders. It was named Peshawar [frontier town] by the Mughal emperor Akbar. A favorite residence (18th cent.) of the Afghan Durrani rulers, it was taken by the Sikhs (early 19th cent.), from whom the British captured it in 1848. It became an important outpost of British India and was a base for British military operations against Pathan tribes. During the decade-long Soviet occupation of Afghanistan (1979–89) it was the center of relief operations for Afghan refugees and the command center of the coalition of guerrilla groups intent on expelling the Soviet forces from Afghanistan. More recently, Peshawar and the surrounding area have been the scene of Taliban activity and attacks.

Peshawar has a museum containing Buddhist relics and Gandhara sculpture, a 2d-century Buddhist stupa bearing an inscription by Kanishka, and a university (1950) with several affiliated colleges. The Bala Hisar fort, still used as military headquarters in the early 21st cent., dates to at least the 15th cent.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, © Columbia University Press 2018

Related Articles

Full text Article Peshawar
Philip's Encyclopedia

City in NW Pakistan, 16km (9mi) E of the Khyber Pass . An ancient settlement, it has always had great strategic importance. Brought under...

Full text Article Peshawar
The Macmillan Encyclopedia

34 01N 71 40E A city in N Pakistan, situated at the E end of the Khyber Pass. One of the oldest cities in Pakistan, it has for centuries...

Full text Article Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
The Columbia Encyclopedia

formerly North-West Frontier Province, province and historic region (1998 pop. 17,554,674), c.41,000 sq mi (106,200 sq km), NW Pakistan, bounded on

See more from Credo