Mazar-e-Quaid (Urdu: مزار قائد) or the National Mausoleum refers to the tomb of the founder of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah. It is an iconic symbol of Karachi throughout the world. The mausoleum, completed in the 1960s, is situated at the heart of the city.
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The mausoleum is made of white marble with curved Moorish arches and copper grills rest on an elevated 54 metre square platform. The cool inner sanctum reflects the green of a four-tiered crystal chandelier gifted by the people of China. Around the mausoleum there is a park fitted with strong beamed spot-lights which at night project light on the white mausoleum. The location is usually calm and tranquil which is significant considering that it is in the heart of one of the largest global megalopolises. The glowing tomb can be seen for miles at night. Liaqat Ali Khan, the first Prime Minister of Pakistan, and Jinnah’s sister, Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah, are also buried besides Jinnah.
Official and military ceremonies take place here on special occasions, such as:
National commemoration days, especially Pakistan Day (23 March), Independence Day (14 August).
Birth and death anniversaries of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, 25 December and 11 September respectively, and
Birth (30 July) and death (8 July) anniversaries of Madar-e-Millat Fatima Jinnah.
Dignitaries and officials from foreign countries also visit this place. The Mazar-e-Quaid has been officially recognized as the National Mausoleum of the country.
Architecturally, the mausoleum is a modernized replica of the Ismail Samanid mausoleum (9th-10th century) in Bukhara, Central Asia. In addition to the general design, the mausoleum is clad with the same brick lattice work on the facade as that of the eleven-hundred-years old Persian original in Bukhara.