Lahore (/ləˈhɔər/) (Punjabi: لہور, Urdu: لاہور) is the capital city of the Pakistani province of Punjab. It is the second most populous city in Pakistan and the 32nd most populous city in the world. The city is located in the north-eastern end of Punjab province, near the border with India. Lahore is ranked as a world city, and is one of Pakistan’s wealthiest cities with an estimated GDP of $58.14 billion (PPP) as of 2014.
Lahore is the historic cultural centre of the Punjab region, and is the largest Punjabi city in the world. The city has a long history, and was once under the rule of the Hindu Shahis, Ghaznavids, Ghurids, and the Delhi Sultanate. Lahore reached the height of its splendour under the Mughal Empire, serving as its capital city for a number of years. The city was contested between the Maratha Empire and Durrani Empire; then became capital of the Sikh Empire, before becoming the capital of the Punjab under British rule. Lahore was central to the independence movements of both India and Pakistan, with the city being the site of both the declaration of Indian Independence, and the resolution calling for the establishment of Pakistan. Following the independence of Pakistan in 1947, Lahore became the capital of Pakistan’s Punjab province.
Lahore is one of Pakistan’s most liberal and cosmopolitan cities. It exerts a strong cultural influence over Pakistan. Lahore is a major centre for Pakistan’s publishing industry, and remains the foremost centre of Pakistan’s literary scene. The city is also a major centre of education in Pakistan, with some of Pakistan’s leading universities based in the city. Lahore is also home to Pakistan’s film industry, Lollywood, and is a major centre of Qawwali music. The city is also much of Pakistan’s tourist industry, with major attractions including the old Walled City, and the Badshahi and Wazir Khan mosques. Lahore is also home to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Lahore Fort and Shalimar Gardens.
Parks and gardens
One of Lahore’s nicknames “City of Gardens.” Many gardens were built in Lahore during the Mughal era, some of which still survive. The Shalimar Gardens were laid out during the reign of Shah Jahan and were designed to mimic the Islamic paradise of the afterlife described in the Qur’an. The gardens follow the familiar charbagh layout of four squares, with three descending terraces. The Lawrence Gardens were established in 1862 and were originally named after Sir John Lawrence, late 19th-century British Viceroy to India. The many other gardens and parks in the city include Hazuri Bagh, Iqbal Park, Mochi Bagh, Gulshan Iqbal Park, Model Town Park, Race Course Park, Nasir Bagh Lahore, Jallo Park, Wild Life Park, and Changa Manga, an artificial forest near Lahore in the Kasur district. Another example is the Bagh-e-Jinnah, a 141-acre (57 ha) botanical garden that houses entertainment and sports facilities as well as a library.
Lahore remains a major tourist destination in Pakistan. Particularly the Walled City of Lahore which was renovated in 2014 is popular due to presence of UNESCO World Heritage Site’s. Among the most popular sights are the Lahore Fort, located to adjacent to the Walled City, is home to Sheesh Mahal, Alamgiri Gate, Naulakha pavilion, and Moti Masjid. The fort along with the adjoining Shalimar Gardens has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1981.
The city is home to several ancient religious sites including prominet Hindu temples, the Krishna Temple and Valmiki Mandir Samadhi of Ranjit Singh, also located near the Walled City, houses the funerary urns of the Sikhruler Maharaja Ranjit Singh. The most prominent religious building is the Badshahi Mosque, constructed in 1673, it was the largest mosque in the world upon construction. Another popular sight is the Wazir Khan Mosque which is known for its extensive faience tile work was constructed in 1635.