The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is largely located
on the Iranian plateau and Eurasian land plate, while
peripheral eastern regions are located near the Indian
subcontinent and this has led to seismic activity
in the past.
It covers an area of 74,521 km² (28,773 sq mi).
According to the 1998 census, the total population
of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was approximately 17 million
out of whom 52% are males and 48% females. The density
of population is 187 per km² and the intercensal
change of population is of about 30%.
Geographically the province could be divided into
two zones: the northern one extending from the ranges
of the Hindu Kush to the borders of Peshawar basin;
and the southern one extending from Peshawar to the
The northern zone is cold and snowy in winters with
heavy rainfall and pleasant summers with the exception
of Peshawar basin, which is hot in summer and cold
in winter. It has moderate rainfall. The southern
zone is arid with hot summers and relatively cold
winters and scantly rainfall. Its climate varies from
very cold (Chitral in the north) to very hot in places
like D.I. Khan. The major rivers that cross the province
are Kabul River, Swat River, Chitral River, Panjgora
River, Bara River, Karam River, Gomal River and Zob
Its snow-capped peaks and lush green valleys of unusual
beauty attract tourists from far and wide while its
art and architecture no less known than the historic
Khyber Pass. Once the cradle of Gandhara civilization,
the area is now known for its devout Muslims who zealously
guard their religion and culture and the way of life
that they have been following for centuries.
The capital and largest city of the province is Peshawar
and other main cities include Nowshera, Mardan, Mansehra,
Charsadda, Ayubia, Nathia Gali and Abbottabad. The
province's main districts include Dera Ismail Khan,
Kohat, Bannu, Peshawar, and Hazara Division.
The region varies in topography from dry rocky areas
in the south to forests and green plains in the north.
The climate can be extreme with intensely hot summers
to freezing cold winters. Despite these extremes in
weather, agriculture remains important and viable
in the area. The hilly terrain of Swat, Kalam,Upper
Dir, Naran and Kaghan is renowned for its beauty and
attracts a great many tourists from neighbouring regions
and from around the world. Swat-Kalam is also termed
'a piece of Switzerland' as there are many landscape
similarities between it and the mountainous terrain
The chai-khanas of Peshawar's Old City allow visitors
to witness the multicultural inhabitants in a relaxed
setting. Qissa Kahani Bazaar and other parts of Peshawar
can remind visitors of an Arabian Nights tale.
The Takht-i-Bahi is perhaps the most impressive Buddhist
ruin in the province and dates back to the 1st century