Every great work of art has two faces, one toward its own time and one toward the future, toward eternity. – Daniel Barenboim
Among the other buildings in Karachi from the time of the British Raj which are still preserved till today is the serene and classy building ‘Frere Hall’. According to history, this monument was built in honor of Sir Henry Edward Frere in 1865 for his services in promoting economic development in Karachi. Frere Hall along with its garden are one of the elegant landmarks of Karachi.
Situated in Abdullah Haroon Road, Clifton, this building will catch your eye every time you pass by it and this is primarily because of its exquisite architecture. It has immense history within it as it served as the hub of the socio cultural activities of Karachiites back in 1800s. Frere Hall is home to Karachi’s biggest library on its ground floor called the ‘Liaquat National Library’ named after Liaquat Ali Khan, first Prime Minister of Pakistan. This library hosts about seventy thousand books including rare hand written manuscripts. This building also contains a splendid gallery for all aesthetic goers out there.
Every Sunday, this Hall is a recreational centre for Karachiites. Its garden known as ‘Bagh-e-Jinnah’ is spread over a huge area and is filled with lush green trees and ravishing flowers. In the garden, there is a great fountain which is an aura of the art of the 1800s, this fountain is inscribed with little angels. Richard Burton, a British explorer, soldier and geographer described Frere Hall as “the Veneto-Gothic, so fit for Venice, so unfit for Karachi” which is a big honor for Karachi since the art at Venice is admired by artists all around the world.
Frere Hall is also home to Sadequain’s famous paintings compared by artists as that to the paintings of Michealangelo. Sadequain also is a globally acknowledged artist and has won several awards. These paintings are of specific interest to poets, artists and art students who are awed by the expressions depicted by these paintings. The painting at the ceiling of the building is the most popular and is regarded as the masterpiece of Sadequain.
Visiting Frere Hall is indeed a splendid experience full of glimpses of the past, present and the future. It is best recommended for tourists who want to catch a sight of the old Karachi and its magnificent appreciation of art and architecture.