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Published on Apr 7, 2010

Peshāwar (help·info) (Pashto: پېښور; Urdu: پشاور; is the capital of the North-West Frontier Province[1] and the administrative centre for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan,[2] founded by the Kushan king Kanishka in the 2nd century AD. The name "Peshawar" derives from Sanskrit Purushapura (meaning "city of men") and is known as Pekhawar or Peshawar in Pashto or Pukhto depending on the dialect and Pishor in the native Hindko language. The area of the city has been ruled by numerous empires including the Afghan, Persian, Shahi, Greek, Maurya, Scythian, Arab, Turk, Mongol, Mughal, Sikh and the British.

In ancient times, a major settlement called Purushpur was established by Kanishka, the king of the Central Asian Kushans, in the general area of modern Peshawar. Purushpur emerged as a major center of Buddhist learning until the 10th century, and was the capital of the ancient Indo-Greek kingdom of Gandhara. During that time, the Kanishka stupa on the outskirts of Peshawar, was the tallest building in the world - rising to almost 700 feet.[3]

The current city was established during the Mughal period in the 16th century by Akbar during which it received the name Peshawar. During much of its history, the city was one of the main trading centres on the ancient Silk Road and was a major crossroads for various cultures between South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East.

Located on the edge of the Khyber Pass near the Afghan border, Peshawar is the commercial, economic, political and cultural capital of the Pashtuns in Pakistan. It is as a geographical and cultural frontline between extremist, moderate, and liberal Islam. Following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, it became "an Asian Casablanca, awash in spies, journalists, aid workers and refugees

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