Abbottabad was founded in 1853, and was named after its founder, James Abbott, the first Deputy Commissioner of this District. It is 121 kms..s from Islamabad and 217 kms. from Peshawar via Hassanabdal. It is 1220 meters above sea level and is situated at the crossroads of most of the summer season tourist destinations in Pakistan like Nathiagali, Murree, Kaghan, Swat, Azad Kashmir, Gilgit, Hunza and Skardu.
Apart from being famous as a gateway to almost all beautiful places in the mountain areas of Pakistan, it is also an important military base. It is the headquarters of Punjab Frontier Force (the Piffers), Baluch Regiment, the Army Medical Corps and Pakistan Military Academy Kakul. It is also famous as the city of schools. Burn Hall boarding school lies on the Mansehra road as well as the Abbottabad Public School.
There are two hills towering above Abbottabad, Shimla Hill and Sarban Hill. One can have a very fine panoramic view of the town and its surroundings from Shimla Hill. Shimla Hill is linked with the main town through a metaled road, a park is also located on the pine forest covered hill.
The city has. two gardens, namely Jinnah Garden and Ladies Garden. The Town Hall, in the midst of spacious lawns, is a beautiful building. In the cantonment area there is a beautiful garden maintained by the Cantonment Board. The Army has ample open turfed grounds for all manner of sports. Abbottabad Golf Club is very well preserved.
There are some sites of tourist interest around Abbottabad. These include: llyasi Mosque springs, Kharri Waterfalls, Sherwan and Takia Dhamtaur.
To provide lodging and boarding facility to tourists, more than thirty main hotels and guest houses are located mainly along the Mansehra road and its surroundings areas for tourists.
The main hospitals are Ayub Medical Complex (Ayub Teaching Hospital) , District Headquarters Hospital (Benazir Hospital) , Benazir Women and Children Hospital and Combined Military Hospital.
Abbottabad is easily accessible from everywhere in Pakistan. Air-conditioned coaches, deluxe bus services and mini vans operate between this city and Rawalpindi/Islamabad, Peshawar, Lahore and Karachi. Public transport facility is also available for Muzaffarabad, Balakot, Mansehra, Thandiani. Nathiagali and Murree.
Facility of special booking of coasters, vans and Suzuki mini vans is also available to take tourists to the places of interest around Abbottabad and beyond. NATCO bus service, emanating from Rawalpindi, passes through Abbottabad en route to Gilgit.
For the facility of tourists, PTDC also maintains a Tourists Information Center at Royal Hotels, Mansehra Road, Abbottabad