Peshawar (Pashto: پېښور Pēkhawar pronunciation ; Hindko: پشور; Urdu: پشاور pronunciation ) is the capital of the Pakistani province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Situated in the broad Valley of Peshawar near the eastern end of the historic Khyber Pass, close to the border with Afghanistan, Peshawar's recorded history dates back to at least 539 BCE, making it the oldest city in Pakistan and one of the oldest cities in the world.
Peshawar was the capital of the ancient Kushan Empire, and was home to what may have been the tallest building in the ancient world, the Kanishka stupa. Peshawar was then sacked by the White Huns, before the arrival of Muslim empires. The city was an important trading centre during the Mughal era before serving as the winter capital of the Afghan Durrani Empire from 1757 until the city was captured by the Sikh Empire in 1818, who were then followed by the British in 1849. The city of Peshawar has a population of 1,970,042 according to the 2017 census, making it the largest city in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the sixth-largest in Pakistan, while Peshawar District has a population of 4,269,079. The current name "Peshawar" is popularly believed to be derived from the Sanskrit Purushapura (IAST: Puruṣapura, meaning "City of Men " or “City of Purusha"). Sanskrit, written in the Kharosthi script, was the literary language employed by the Buddhist kingdoms which ruled over the area during its earliest recorded period. The association of Peshawar to the name Purushapura dates to the early British colonial period based on Hsuan Tsang’s 7th century account of a city in Gandhara which he called Pu-sha-pu-lo, although an earlier 5th century account by Fa-Hien records the city’s name as Fou-lou-sha.