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Qissa Khawani Bazaar is one of Peshawar's oldest commercial hubs

Qissa Khawani Bazaar is one of Peshawar’s oldest commercial hubs

Steeped in history, Qissa Khawani Bazaar is one of Peshawar’s oldest commercial hubs. Its name means ‘Storytellers’ Market’ in Persian, because it is believed that decades ago the Bazaar’s site served as a meeting point for traders from far and wide, who would congregate at dusk to sip cups of steaming kahwa while listening to stories of adventure and romance narrated by the owners of the many tea shops that were present there.Copper Handicrafts

– Copper Handicrafts

From legends past to present variety… While the aroma of tea continues to waft throughout the narrow alleyways that characterise the Bazaar, you will now also find a wide variety of items, such as oil lamps and samovars (tea pots), copper handicrafts, Karakulli (‘Jinnah’) caps, waistcoats and fabric, as well as electronic appliances, plastic ware and mobile phones. Don’t forget to buy a pair of Peshawari chappals, recently made world famous by Paul Smith. And if you are a Bollywood enthusiast, make sure to visit the house where Raj Kapoor was born.  

Heaps of nuts and pulses

Heaps of nuts and pulses

Salt and sizzlers… If you are a foodie, the mouth-watering aroma of chapli kababs sizzling on over-sized tawas will entice you. Other delicious street food on offer includes kalool (red kidney beans) and qeema kebab that should be topped with chaka (a yoghurt-mint drink), followed by hot kahva or doodh patti. A short walk away is Namak Mandi, famous for its delectable charsi tikka and tikka karahi.

The real estate take… Commercial property here is the most expensive in Peshawar. Options include standalone shops and retail space in low rise buildings which are in high demand. Prices and rentals have increased by approximately 20% and 30% respectively in the last five years.One of the oldest buildings in the bazaar

– One of the oldest buildings in the bazaar

In a nutshell… While Qissa Khawani Bazaar may no longer be a storyteller’s market, it remains one of Peshawar’s most frequented commercial hotspots.  And although the number of teashops has dwindled, the Bazaar, with its century-old buildings which are in dire need of repair, evoke a time gone by yet still remembered to this day.

– Farhana Burki

First published in the Real Estate Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on September 28, 2014.

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