10 lesser-known facts about Karachi’s ever-glorious Empress Market

10 lesser-known facts about Karachi’s ever-glorious Empress Market

Web Desk
November 16, 2018

 After being restored to its former glory in an unprecedented move by the Sindh government, British colonial era’s Empress Market stands in the heart of the coastal city of Karachi boasting the timeless beauty it possesses. 

While the famous bazaar has been rid of all surrounding encroachments with over 1000 shops razed, here are some lesser-known facts about the building that stands as a remnant of the great British Raj.

1. Constructed between 1884 and 1889, Empress Market was designed by architect James Strachan.

2. Foundation stone of the market was laid by the-then Governor of Bombay, James Fergusson.

3. The market’s foundations were completed by an English firm called A. J Attfield.

4. Empress Market was constructed by a local company belonging to ‘Mahoomed Niwan and Dulloo Khejoo’.

5. Almost 80 years after its advent, Karachi’s oldest market started to see a swarm of meat vendors and traders who attracted people from around the city in the wee hours of the night to sell the best cut-meat.

6. The market was equipped with huge, powerful doors that kept flies at bay.

7. Empress Market was arranged around a courtyard, 130 ft long and 100 ft wide. 

8. It has four galleries each 46 ft wide that can house upto 280 shops.

9. Hailed as the busiest and oldest market located in Karachi, the Empress Market overshadowed the other four bazaars - such as Bolten market - which existed in the city during the 18th and 19th century. 

10. The famous structure derives its name from Queen Victoria, Empress of India.

However, due to its ill-fate, Empress Market had fallen prey to a wide range of encroachments that had caused the magnificence of the building to wither away. Sindh government’s efforts of launching an anti-encroachment drive, coupled with the intervention of Supreme Court into the matter, has brought back the faded glory of the place that mirrors the vibrant history of the city.  The market is a famous hub of exotic pets such as Macaw, Falcons and other birds.

A computer generated image shows how the Empress Market area will look like after major rehabilitation operation.