The name Quetta is derived from the Pashto word "Kwatta" which means a fort possibly because it is a natural fort surrounded by imposing hills on all sides. Four large craggy mountains (Zarghun Ghar, Chiltan, Takatu, and Murdaar) seem to brood upon this town, and there are other mountains that form a ring around it. Their copper red and russet rocks and crests are powdered with snow in winters add immense charm to the town.
Strategically, Quetta is an important city due to its proximity to borders with Iran and Afghanistan. There is a huge military base just outside the city. Historically, Quetta owes much of its importance to the Bolan Pass which links it to Kandahar, Afghanistan.
Located in northwestern Balochistan near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, Quetta is a trade and communication centre between the two countries. The city lies on the Bolan Pass route which was once one of the major gateways from Central Asia to South Asia.
Excavations in the Quetta valley have proved that humans have lived there since pre-history. Modern day Quetta is a growing centre of excellence.
Quetta is the largest city and provincial capital of Balochistan, Pakistan. It is located in northwestern Balochistan near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.
The city is known as the fruit garden of Pakistan, due to the numerous fruit orchards in and around it, and the large variety of fruits and dry fruits produced there.
Quetta is an excellent base for exploration of Balochistan. Kan Mehtarzai (2224 meters), the highest railway station in Asia, is a two-hour drive away. Loralai, the almond bowl of the country, is 265 km away. Besides, there are numerous other valleys that are fascinating places for explorers.
In 1876 Quetta was incorporated into British controlled territories of the subcontinent. British Troops constructed the infrastructure for their establishment as it was a strategic location. By the time of the earthquake on 31 May 1935 Quetta had developed into a bustling city with a number of multistory buildings and was known as "Little Paris" because of that. The epicenter of the earthquake was close to the city and destroyed most of the citys infrastructure and killed an estimated 40,000 people.
Quetta, Pakistan features a continental and semi arid climate with significant variations between summer and winter temperatures. The highest temperature recorded in Quetta was 42 °C on 10 July 1998. The lowest temperature in Quetta is minus 18.3 °C which was recorded on 8 January 1970.
Summer starts in late May and continues until early September with average temperatures ranging from 24 °C to 26 °C. Autumn starts in late September and continues until mid-November with average temperatures of 12 °C to 18 °C. Winter starts from the first week of October and ends in late March, with average temperatures near 4 °C to 5 °C. Spring starts in early April and ends in late May, with average temperatures close to 15 °C.
Unlike most of Pakistan, Quetta does not have a monsoon of sustained, heavy rainfall. The highest rainfall during a 24-hour period is 113 millimetres (4.4 in) recorded on 17 December 2000, the highest monthly rainfall is 232.4 millimetres (9.15 in), which was recorded in March 1982, and the highest annual rainfall recorded is 949.8 millimetres (37.39 in) in 1982. The principle mode of precipitation in winter is snow falls, mostly in December, January, February and sometimes even in March.
The inhabitants of Quetta are mainly Pashtun followed by Brahui and Baloch. You can also find Punjabis, Hazaras, Uzbeks, Tajiks and Turkomen rubbing shoulders with the other inhabitants. They are known to be hospitable to visitors because hospitality is an important element of their cultures.
Urdu being national language is used and understood by all the residents.
Nomadic tribesmen, mainly Pashtun tribes of Nasaran, pass through Quetta Valley during spring and autumn with their herds of sheep and camels and their assorted wares for sale. This seasonal movement adds color to the life of the city.
The people inhabiting this land are proud, robust and fiercely independent.
Quetta is on the western side of Pakistan and is connected to the rest of the country by a network of roads, railways and its international airport close to its center.
At an altitude of 1,605 metres above sea level, Quetta International Airport is the second highest airport in Pakistan.
It is situated 12 km south west of the city spread over an area of 35 acres.
Pakistan International Airlines has regular flights to and from the other major cities of Pakistan including Islamabad, Gwadar, Karachi, Lahore and Peshawar.
Quetta is connected to all major cities by vast network of roads.
Quetta Railway Station is one of the highest railway stations in Pakistan at 1,676 metres (5,499 feet) above sea level.
The extensive network of Pakistan Railways connects Quetta to Karachi in the south, by a 863 km track, Lahore in the northeast 1,170 km and Peshawar further northeast 1,587 km.