Murree (Punjabi, Urdu: مری) is a hill station and summer resort and the administrative centre of Murree Tehsil, Pakistan, which is a subdivision of Rawalpindi District and includes the Murree Hills.
Murree was the summer capital of the British Raj in the Punjab Province (British India). A popular tourist destination Located in the north-west Himalayas at an average altitude of 2,291 metres (7,516 ft), the city of Murree, draped in forests of pine, and oak, experiences pleasant summers and cold, snowy winters. The city is famous for its buildings styled in tudorbethan and neo-gothic architecture dating from the colonial era.
Murree is located along the Islamabad-Murree Highway, some 58.3 km (36.2 mi) northeast of Islamabad.
Murree was developed in 1851 by the (then) President of the Punjab Administrative Board, Sir Henry Lawrence, and was originally established for the British troops garrisoned on the Afghan frontier as a sanatorium.Officially, the municipality was created in 1850.
The permanent town of Murree was constructed at Sunnybank in 1853. The church was sanctified in May 1857, and the main road, Jinnah Road, formerly known as The Mall (and still commonly referred to as), was built. The most significant commercial establishments, the Post Office, general merchants with European goods, tailors and a millinery, were established opposite the church. Until 1947, access to Jinnah Road was restricted for "natives" (non-Europeans).
Until 1876, Murree was the summer headquarters of the Punjab local government; after 1876 the headquarters were moved to Shimla.[
The railway connection with Lahore, the capital of the Punjab Province, via Rawalpindi, made Murree a popular resort for Punjab officials, and the villas and other houses erected for the accommodation of English families gave it a European aspect. The houses crowned the summit and sides of an irregular ridge, the neighbouring hills were covered during the summer with encampments of British troops, while the station itself was filled with European visitors from the plains and travellers to Kashmir.
Murree is one of the largest resort towns in the Galyat area of Pakistan, and is the municipal or regional capital of Murree Tehsil* (*general administrative subdivision), it is an administrative division of the Rawalpindi District. The town of Muree is situated on the southern slopes of the Western Himalayan foothills as they ascend northeastward, towards the bifurcated states of Kashmir. During British colonial rule in the nineteenth century, its altitude was established at 7,500 feet (2,300 m).
Murree is accessible by road from the centre of the Islamabad and Rawalpindi areas. It is still associated with Britain; many British fruits (including cherries, raspberries and strawberries) thrive locally. There is an Anglican church, built in 1857, located at the centre of the town, which is still used as a place of worship. Many houses around the church are still standing, functioning mostly as hotels. Old traditional restaurants have been replaced by fast-food shops and newer restaurants. Some famous old places of accommodation, such as the Rich Villa Inn and Gulberg Hotel, have completely disappeared. A typical hotel provides a motel-type accommodation with breakfast and communication access. Newly built hotels are also accessible
Murree houses headquarters of 12th infantry division of Pakistan Army and large number of educational and training institutions. Combined Military Hospital established to cater the needs of civilian population of Murree and adjoining areas. Pakistan Air Force also maintains base at Lower Topa. For administrative purposes the military areas of Murree are divided in two separate cantonments, Murree Cantonment and Murree Hills Cantonment.
Murree Houses residence for Punjab Governor at the Kashmir point. The imposing building was built in nineteenth century by the British. There are Punjab and Sindh Houses to cater needs of the provincial government. Similarly, there are Rest Houses for the Judges of Supreme Court and Lahore High Court. A large number of government, semi government and private departments and institutions maintain guest houses in Murree. A number of diplomatic missions based in Islamabad established their camp offices in Murree in the 1960s. The same however are seldom used now. Adjacent to Murree is the Galliat region of North West Frontier Province which includes Nathiagalli, Ayubia, Khanspur, Dunga Galli, Khairagalli and Changla Galli. Before the British rule whether part of Rawalpindi District of Muzaffarabad, Murree and Galiat have been part of same administrative unit, however in 1850 the British decided to divide them between Rawalpindi and Hazara. Howevere despite divided by provincial boundaries, Murree and Galliat are inseparable both geographically, culturally, linguistically as well as from the point of view of the tourists. Murree serves as a gateway to Galliat.
[Bhurban]] and New Murree (Patriata) have also developed as tourist centres. The whole Murree Galliat region is known for its scenic beauty. Mountains overhung with pines and oaks, bubbling with gurgling springs, crisscrossed by rivulets, dotted with sprawling lawns and orchards overloaded with fruits present a nice spectacle. A fine view of the snowy peaks of Kashmir is to be had on a clear day, and the crest of Nanga Parbat can sometimes be seen.
Bhurban, boosting with a five star Pearl Continental Hotel and a nine hole Golf course has cropped recently as another tourist attraction in the area. Lying at an altitude of 6000 ft, Bhurban is situated at a distance of 13 kilometres from Murree on one of main roads leading to Azad Kashmir. The Punjab government is said to have plans to develop New Murree city at Patriata fifteen kilometres southeast of Murree. The Punjab Tourism department constructed resorts amidst the forests on the Patriata ridge in 1987 as well as a 3 kilometre sky slope from the top of Patriata ridge to Gulara Gali (not functioning currently). Patriata is connected with Islamabad and Murree through a number of all weather roads.