General Knowledge

Here is All You Need to Know about Empress Market

Jan 01, 2020

If you have ever been to Saddar, chances are you might have heard the name of Empress Market. In fact, you could hear bus conductors bellowing at the top of their lungs, ‘Empress Market walay utaro”. The historical market has become an icon for not only Karachi, but Pakistan. However, over the years, the market has been in a dilapidated state – thanks to negligence on part of the city development authority. In this blog, we will explore some of the most fascinating facts about this Victorian era monument.

Origins

The structure was completed between 1884 and 1889, at the behest of Queen Victoria, Empress of India. The majestic tower was designed by James Stratchan, in classic Gothic era style. Lately, this design has come to be known as the Indo-Gothic style. The structure is clad in red stones, which were brought all the way from Jodhpur. The tower was adorned with a clock-like jewel in its crown, with 4 galleries side by side supporting a canopy in the middle.

Spooky Fact

Empress Market was erected during a bloody rebellion in South Asia – the aftermath of the war of 1857. Here is a little fact to chill your bones: The site serves as the final resting place for hordes of sepoys who were executed mercilessly.

The Interior

Once you are inside the market, a spiral, almost hypnotic staircase leads you to the top part of the building. Inside, there is a fountain which once used to hold water, now bears dirt and debris. One also finds a gallery section inside that remains rather unscathed. The gallery documents the vibrant roads and shopping markets of the region.

Current Status

Not so long, the city government finally woke up from their slumber and decided to revive one of the most important pieces of our heritage. A massive anti-encroachment drive was ordered to drive out all the illegal street hawkers from the tower. Moreover, the building also went through a thorough cleaning process; to remove the stains of paan, dirt, rubble and whatnot, and it looks quite spectacular; take a look:

  

Final Words

Empress Market has become a reference point for Karachi; the tower holds great historical significance. It has stood tall for more than 2 centuries. Now, the onus is upon us to preserve this majestic monument for our future generations to see and bewilder.

“Architecture should speak of its time and place but yearn for timelessness.”

Join our newsletter today!