Lahore (Punjabi: لہور; Urdu: لاہور) is Pakistan’s second largest city after Karachi, and the capital of the north-eastern Punjab province. It is widely considered the country’s cultural capital. The heart of Lahore is the Walled or Inner City, a very densely populated area of about one square kilometre.
Founded in legendary times, and a cultural centre for over a thousand years, Lahore has many attractions for the tourist. The Mughal and Sikh legacy survives in the Lahore Fort, Badshahi Mosque and Gurdwara, the Mall is lined with colonial-gothic buildings from the British Raj, and the suburbs of Gulberg and Defence feature palatial mansions and trendy shopping districts.
Lahore is the second largest city in Pakistan with a population of roughly 8.5 million. The traditional capital of Punjab for a thousand years, it had been the cultural centre of Northern India extending from Peshawar to New Delhi. The origins of Lahore are shrouded in the mists of antiquity but Lahore is undoubtedly ancient.
Today, Lahore is certainly worth a visit – but don’t come expecting a tranquil city overflowing with history, art and culture – these qualities do exist but are hidden under the surface of a sprawling, traffic clogged and polluted south Asian city. Forward planning is recommended if the tourist is going to get the most out of what Lahore has to offer – the time of year to visit, the choice of hotel, the restaurants to dine at, the art galleries and the shopping areas to frequent are all key to getting the most out of your stay.
Lahore is a relatively friendly and liberal city. There is an old saying, that in every Lahori, there is a Mughal prince. The city has known ages of cultural, intellectual, musical, literary and humanistic evolution, which has consequently led to the fermentation and over fermentation of this rich brew we call Lahore.