|Megacity / Metropolitan City|
|City District Government||11 September 2008|
|• Type||City District|
|• District Administrator||Captain (R) Muhammad Usman Younis|
|• District Coordination Officer||Captain (R) Muhammad Usman Younis|
|• Capital City Police Chief||Captain (R) Amin Venus|
|• Total||1,772 km2 (684 sq mi)|
|Elevation||217 m (712 ft)|
|Lahore Urban agglomeration|
|Time zone||PKT (UTC+5)|
|HDI Category||Very High|
|Lahore Cantonment is a legally separate military-administered settlement.|
Lahore (//; ALA-LC: Lahor Punjabi pronunciation: [ləhoːr] ( listen); (Urdu: لاہور; Punjabi: Shahmukhi: لہور ALA-LC: Lāhor IPA: [lɑːhoːr]) is the capital city of the Pakistani province of Punjab, the second largest metropolitan area in the country and 16th most populous city in the world. It is an important historical centre in South Asia. With a rich history dating back over a millennium, Lahore is a main cultural centre of the Punjab region and Pakistan and is the largest Punjabi city in the world. One of the most densely populated cities in the world, Lahore remains an economic, political, transportation, entertainment, and educational hub of Pakistan.
Lahore successively served as the regional capital of the empires of the Shahi kingdoms in the 11th century, the Ghaznavids in the 12th century, the Ghurid State in the 12th and 13th centuries and the Mughal Empire in the 16th century. From 1802 to 1849, Lahore served as the capital city of the Sikh Empire. In the mid-19th and early 20th century, Lahore was the capital of the Punjab region under the British Raj. The traditional capital of Punjab for a millennium, Lahore was the cultural centre of the northern Indian subcontinent which extends from the eastern banks of the Indus River to New Delhi. Mughal structures such as the Badshahi Mosque, the Lahore Fort, Shalimar Gardens, the mausolea of Jehangir and Nur Jahan, Chauburji Gate, and the walled city are some of the major tourist attractions in the city. Lahore is also home to many British colonial structures built in the Indo-Saracenic style, such as the Lahore High Court, the General Post Office, Lahore Museum, Lahore Railway Station, and many older universities and colleges including the University of the Punjab, Govt College and King Edward Medical University. The Lahore Zoo, thought to be the fourth oldest in the world, is also situated here.
Lahore is referred to as the cultural heart of Pakistan as it hosts most of the arts, cuisine, festivals, music, film-making, gardening and intelligentsia of the country. The city has always been a centre for publications where 80 percent of Pakistan's books are published, and it remains the foremost centre of literary, educational and cultural activity in Pakistan. It is also an important religious centre as it is home to hundreds of temples, mosques, churches and shrines like Data Durbar Complex.
According to the 1998 census, Lahore's population was 6,319,000. In July 2014, Index Mundi put the population of the city at 7,566,000. An estimate in January 2015 gave the population of the Lahore agglomeration as 10,052,000. It is ranked 34 in the most populated urban areas in the world and the 8th largest city within the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation. The area of Lahore has almost doubled in the last 12 to 14 years. In 2010, Lahore was ranked as a Gamma+ world city. The Guardian has rated Lahore as the 2nd best tourist destination in Pakistan after Taxila.
- 1 History
- 2 Language and dialects
- 3 Geography
- 4 Civic administration
- 5 Economy
- 6 Transport
- 7 Religion
- 8 Population
- 9 Culture
- 10 Historic parks and gardens
- 11 Education
- 12 Fashion
- 13 Architecture
- 14 Sports
- 15 Notable people
- 16 Twin Towns and Sister Cities
- 17 See also
- 18 References
- 19 Bibliography
- 20 External links
A legend based on oral traditions holds that Lahore, known in ancient times as Lavapura), was founded by Prince Lava (or Loh), the son of Sita and Rama, the king of Ayodhya and an avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu according to the Ramayana epic. The city of Kasur was founded by his twin brother, Prince Kusha. To this day, Lahore Fort has a vacant temple dedicated to Lava (also pronounced Loh, hence Loh-awar or "The Fort of Loh"). Ptolemy, the celebrated 2nd-century Egyptian astronomer and geographer, mentions in his Geographia a city called Labokla situated on the route between the Indus River and Palibothra, or Pataliputra (Patna) mostly, in a tract of country called Kasperia (Kashmir). It was described as extending along the rivers Bidastes or Vitasta (Jhelum), Sandabal or Chandra Bhaga (Chenab), and Adris or Iravati (Ravi). This city may have been ancient Lahore.
The oldest authentic surviving document about Lahore was written anonymously in 982. It is called Hudud al-'Alam (The Regions of the World). In 1927 it was translated into English by Vladimir Minorsky and published in Lahore. In this document, Lahore is mentioned as a town being invaded by Arabic savages "impressive temples, large markets and huge orchards." It refers to "two major markets around which dwellings exist", and it also mentions "the mud walls that enclose these two dwellings to make it one." The original document is currently held in the British Museum. Lahore was called by different names throughout history. To date there is no conclusive evidence as to when it was founded. Some historians trace the history of the city as far back as 4000 years ago. However, historically, it has been proved that Lahore is at least 2,000 years old. Hieun-tsang, the famous Chinese pilgrim has given a vivid description of Lahore which he visited in the early parts of the 7th century. Lahore has been ruled and plundered by a number of dynasties and hordes.
Rajput period and invasions
Lahore is described as a Hindu principality in the Rajput accounts. Keneksen, the founder of Suryavansha is believed to have migrated out from the city. The Solanki tribe, belonging to Amukhara Pattan which included the Bhatti Rajputs of Jaisalmer "point to Lahore" as their place of earliest settlement. In 1241, Lahore was invaded by Chengiz Khan. Though Timur captured the city in 1397, he did not loot it because "it was not rich then".
Lahore appears as the capital of the Punjab for the first time under Anandapala – the Hindu Shahi king who is referred to as the ruler of (hakim i lahur) –after leaving the earlier capital of Waihind. Few references to Lahore remain from before its capture by Sultan Mahmud of Ghaznavi in the 11th century. The sultan took Lahore after a long siege and battle in which the city was torched and depopulated. In 1021, Sultan Mahmud appointed Malik Ayaz to the throne and made Lahore the capital of the Ghaznavid Empire. As the first Muslim governor of Lahore, Ayaz rebuilt and repopulated the city. He added many important features, such as city gates and a masonry fort, built in 1037–1040 on the ruins of the previous one, which had been demolished in the fighting (as recorded by Munshi Sujan Rae Bhandari, author of the Khulasatut Tawarikh in 1695–96). The present Lahore Fort stands on the same location. Under Ayaz's rule, the city became a cultural and academic centre, renowned for poetry. The tomb of Malik Ayaz can still be seen in the Rang Mahal commercial area of town.
After the fall of the Ghaznavid Empire, Lahore was ruled by various Turko-Afghan dynasties based in Delhi, known as the Delhi Sultanate, including the Khiljis, Tughlaqs, Mamluk, Sayyid and Lodhis. During the reign of Qutbu l-Din Aibak, Lahore was known as the 'Ghazni of India'. Scholars and poets from as far away as Kashghar, Bukhara, Samarkand, Iraq, Khorasan and Herat, gathered in Lahore and made it a city of learning. Under Aibak, Lahore had more poets of Persian than any other Islamic city. In 1286, Prince Muhammad, who was the son of Balban was defeated in an encounter with the Mongols in the city.
In the early 16th century, Babur, a Timurid descendant of Timur and Genghis Khan from Fergana Valley (modern day Uzbekistan), swept across the Khyber Pass and founded the Mughal Empire, covering modern day Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India. The Mughals were descended from Central Asian Turco-Mongols . Lahore reached the zenith of its glory during the Mughal rule from 1524 to 1752. Lahore reached the peak of its architectural glory during the rule of the Mughals, many of whose buildings and gardens have survived the ravages of time.
Humayun, his son married Hamida Banu Begum in Lahore while fleeing to Persia. It was also the headquarters of Mughal rule during Akbar between 1584 to 1598. Thus along with Agra and Delhi, it became an "alternate seat of imperial court". Akbar also held discussions with various Portuguese missionaries in the city. Abul Fazl, his court historian calls it a "a great city in Bari Doab,in magnificance and populousness it has few equals".
During the 18th century, as Mughal power dwindled, Punjab, including Lahore, was often invaded, and government authority was lacking. In 1747, the Durrani Empire was established by Ahmad Shah Abdali in Afghanistan, during this period, Punjab saw frequent invasions by Ahmad Shah Abdali, The great Punjabi poet Baba Waris Shah said of the situation, "khada peeta lahy da, baqi Ahmad Shahy da"("we have nothing with us except what we eat and wear, all other things are for Ahmad Shah").
In 1758, the Maratha Empire's general Raghunathrao conquered Lahore, Attock and Peshawar, and drove out Timur Shah Durrani, the son and viceroy of Ahmad Shah Abdali. Lahore, Multan, Peshawar, Kashmir and other subahs on the south and eastern side of Attock were under the Maratha rule for the most part. In Punjab and Kashmir, the Marathas were now major players. In 1761, following the victory at the Third Battle of Panipat between the Durrani and the Maratha Empire, Ahmad Shah Abdali captured remnants of the Maratha Empire in Punjab and Kashmir regions and consolidated control over them.
During the late 18th century, frequent invasions by the Durrani Empire and the Maratha Empire due to the decline of the Mughal Empire, led to a lack of governance in the Punjab region. The Sikh Misls were in close combat with the Durrani Empire, but began to gain territory and eventually the Bhangi Misl captured Lahore. When Zaman Shah invaded Punjab again in 1799 Maharaja Ranjit Singh was able to make gains in the chaos. He defeated Zaman in a battle between Lahore and Amritsar. The citizens of Lahore, encouraged by Sada Kaur, offered him the city and he was able to take control of it in a series of battles with the Bhangi Misl and their allies. Lahore served as the capital city of the Sikh Empire in accordance with Lahore being the capital of Punjab. While much of Lahore's Mughal era fabric lay in ruins by the end of 18th century a close struggle to gain control, rebuilding efforts under the Sikh Empire were shaped by and indebted to Mughal practice. Maharaja Ranjit Singh moved into the Mughal palace in Lahore's citadel. By 1812 he had mostly refurbished the city's defences by adding a second circuit of outer walls that followed the outline of Akbar's original walls and were separated from them by a moat. The Maharaja also partially restored Shah Jahan's decaying gardens at Shalimar, and British maps of the area surrounding Lahore dating from the mid-19th century show that walled private gardens – many of them bearing the names of prominent Sikh nobles – continued in the Mughal pattern under Sikh rule. The Sikh court continued to endow religious architecture in the city, including a number of Sikh gurdwaras, Hindu temples and mosques.
Maharaja Ranjit Singh made Lahore his capital and was able to expand the kingdom to the Khyber Pass and also included Jammu and Kashmir, while keeping the British East India Company from expanding across the River Sutlej for more than 40 years. After his death in 1839 the internecine fighting between the Sikhs and several rapid forfeitures of territory by his sons, along with the intrigues of the Dogras and two Anglo-Sikh wars, eventually led to East India Company control of the Punjab ten years later. For the East India Company, the Punjab was a frontier province, because the region had boundaries with Afghanistan. Therefore, the Punjabis, unlike the Bengalis and the Sindhis, were discouraged from using their mother tongue as an official language out of fear of Nationalism. The British first introduced Urdu as an official language in Punjab, including Lahore, allegedly due to a fear of Punjabi nationalism. Under the British (1849–1947), architecture in Lahore combined Mughal, Gothic and Victorian styles.
Under the British, Sir Ganga Ram (referred to as the father of modern Lahore) designed and built the General Post Office, Lahore Museum, Aitchison College, Mayo School of Arts (now the NCA), Ganga Ram Hospital, Lady Mclagan Girls High School, the chemistry department of the Government College University, the Albert Victor wing of Mayo Hospital, Sir Ganga Ram High School (now Lahore College for Women) the Hailey College of Commerce, Ravi Road House for the Disabled, the Ganga Ram Trust Building on Shahrah-e-Quaid-e-Azam, and the Lady Maynard Industrial School. He also constructed Model Town, a suburb that has recently developed into a cultural centre for Lahore's growing socioeconomic elite.
Independence of Pakistan
Lahore played a special role in the independence movements of India. The 1929 Indian National Congress session was held at Lahore. In this Congress, the Declaration of the Independence of India was moved by Jawaharlal Nehru and passed unanimously at midnight on 31 December 1929. On this occasion, the Swaraj flag (with a charkha at its centre) was adopted by the Congress. Lahore's prison was used by the British to detain revolutionaries. Noted independence activist Jatin Das died in Lahore's prison after fasting for 63 days in protest of British treatment of political prisoners. One of the most famous martyrs in the history of Indian independence, Shaheed Sardar Bhagat Singh, was hanged here. The most important session of the All India Muslim League (later the Pakistan Muslim League), demanding the creation of Pakistan, was held in Lahore in 1940. Muslims under the leadership of Muhammad Ali Jinnah demanded a separate homeland for Muslims of India in a document known as the Pakistan Resolution or the Lahore Resolution. It was during this session under the leadership of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the leader of the league, that Muslims League publicly proposed the Two-Nation Theory for the first time.
Upon the independence of Pakistan, Lahore was made capital of the Punjab province in the new state of Pakistan. Almost immediately, large scale riots broke out among Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus, causing many deaths as well as damage to historic monuments—including the Lahore Fort, Badshahi mosque and colonial buildings.
After independence and its deep impact, Lahore as so many times before, once again gained its significance as an economic and cultural powerhouse of the region, through government reforms. The second Islamic Summit Conference was held in the city in 1974.
Language and dialects
According to the 1998 census of Pakistan, Punjabi language is spoken by 87% of the population. Lahore being the capital of the province of Punjab exhibits a great variety of Punjabi dialects spoken by the people of different district's living in the city.
Other languages include:
- Urdu being the national language is also spoken and understood by most of the population and primarily used as a second language.
- English is also understood and spoken by a sizeable segment of the educated population.
- Minority Languages spoken by people of different parts of Pakistan and Afghan refugees living in Lahore (Pahari, Haryanvi, Mewati, Raangrri, Pashto, Sindhi, Balochi, Brahui, Kashmiri, Shina, Balti, and Dari).
Lying between 31°15′—31°45′ N and 74°01′—74°39′ E, Lahore is bounded on the north and west by the Sheikhupura District, on the east by Wagah, and on the south by Kasur District. The Ravi River flows on the northern side of Lahore. Lahore city covers a total land area of 404 square kilometres (156 sq mi) and is still growing.
Food street at the Lahore Fort
Basant is a popular annual festival held in Lahore
Lahore Museum was established in 1865
Tomb for Allama Iqbal
Wagah border ceremony
A.C. Woolner statue
|Climate chart (explanation)|
Lahore has a semi-arid climate (Köppen climate classification BSh). The hottest month is June, when average highs routinely exceed 40 °C (104.0 °F). The monsoon season starts in late June, and the wettest month is July, with heavy rainfalls and evening thunderstorms with the possibility of cloudbursts. The coolest month is January with dense fog.
The city's record high temperature was 48.3 °C (118.9 °F), recorded on 30 May 1944. 48 °C (118 °F) was recorded on 10 June 2007. At the time the meteorological office recorded this official temperature in the shade, it reported a heat index in direct sunlight of 55 °C (131 °F). The record low is −1 °C (30 °F), recorded on 13 January 1967. The highest rainfall in a 24-hour period is 221 millimetres (8.7 in), recorded on 13 August 2008. On 26 February 2011, Lahore received heavy rain and hail measuring 4.5 mm (0.18 in), which carpeted roads and sidewalks with measurable hail for the first time in the city's recorded history.
|Climate data for Lahore (1961–1990)|
|Record high °C (°F)||27.8
|Average high °C (°F)||19.8
|Daily mean °C (°F)||12.8
|Average low °C (°F)||5.9
|Record low °C (°F)||−2.2
|Average rainfall mm (inches)||23.0
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||218.8||215.0||245.8||276.6||308.3||269.0||227.5||234.9||265.6||290.0||259.6||222.9||3,034|
|Source #1: NOAA (1961-1990) |
|Source #2: PMD|
Under the latest revision of Pakistan's administrative structure, promulgated in 2001, Lahore became a City District, and was divided into nine towns. Each town in turn consists of a group of union councils (U.C.'s).
Other major residential areas within Lahore include:
Lahore's old city fabric has changed dramatically over time under the occupation of various South Asian empires. Some of the older remaining colonies of Lahore are:
As of 2008, the city's gross domestic product (GDP) by purchasing power parity (PPP) was estimated at $40 billion with a projected average growth rate of 5.6 percent. This is at par with Pakistan's economic hub, Karachi, with Lahore (having half the population) fostering an economy that is 51% of the size of Karachi's ($78 billion in 2008). The contribution of Lahore to the national economy is supposed to be around 13.2%. As a whole Punjab has $115 billion economy making it first and to date only Pakistani Subdivision of economy more than $100 billion at the rank 144. Lahore's GDP is projected to be 102 billion$ by the year 2025, with a slightly higher growth rate of 5.6% per annum, as compared to Karachi's 5.5%. Central to Lahore's economy is the Lahore Stock Exchange (LSE), Pakistan's second largest stock exchange. Lahore has offices of several Pakistani government corporations including the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) and Water and Sanitation Agency (WASA). Food and restaurant businesses remain open all night. Lahore is the second largest financial hub of Pakistan and has industrial areas including Kot Lakhpat and the new Sundar Industrial Estate (near Raiwand). Lahore's economic base is broad and varied.
A major industrial agglomeration with about 9,000 industrial units, Lahore has shifted in recent decades from manufacturing to service industries. Some 42% of its work force is employed in finance, banking, real estate, community, cultural, and social services. The city is Pakistan's largest software & hardware producing centre, and hosts a growing computer-assembly industry. Arfa Software Technology Park in Lahore is the biggest and most advanced IT park in the country.
The Lahore Expo Centre is one of the biggest projects in the history of the city and was inaugurated on 22 May 2010. Lake City is a resort and residential development planned on the outskirts of Lahore. Covering an area of more than 2,104 acres (851 ha), the resort will include lush green parks, sinuous lakes, an 18-hole regulation golf course and other features. Defense Raya Golf Resort, also under construction, will be Pakistan's and Asia's largest golf course. The project is the result of a partnership between DHA Lahore and BRDB Malaysia. The rapid development of large projects such as these in the city is expected to boost the economy of the country. Ferozepur Road of the Central Business Districts of Lahore & contains many high-rises and skyscrapers including Kayre International Hotel, Arfa Software Technology Park and the Mubarak Center.
Among the many other projects under construction in Lahore are: Pace Tower (24 floors, under construction), Ali Trade Center (24 floors, under construction), Expo Centre tower (approved), IT Tower (23 floors, under construction), Alamgir Tower (31 floors, under construction), DHA Haly Tower (low rise, under construction), Lahore Ring Road (under construction), Lahore Sports City (approved), Xinhua Mall (20 floors, under construction),Ali Trade Center is also under construction, Boulevard Heights (19 floors, under construction), Pearl Continental Tower (40 floors, 152 meters, proposed), LDA Tower (40 floors, approved), Bank Square Gulberg (vision), Pace Circle and Hyatt Regency (12 floors, under construction) and Tricon Corporate Tower (18 floors, under construction). The economy is also enhanced by Lahore's historic and cultural importance. Being the capital of the largest province in Pakistan brings the city one of the largest development budgets in the country.
Lahore has 2 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, more than 200 archaeological sites and historic places and is a centre of art and culture in Pakistan. The main tourist attractions in Lahore are the Lahore Fort, Badshahi Mosque, Minar-e-Pakistan, Shalimar Gardens, Lahore Museum, Tomb of Jahangir, Tomb of Nur Jahan, Tomb of Asif Khan, Chauburji, Gawalmandi Food Street, Fort Road Food Street, Lahore Zoo, Lahore Zoo Safari Park, Fortress Stadium, The Mall, Lahore, Wazir Khan Mosque, Anarkali Bazaar, Hazuri Bagh Baradari, Jallo Park, Hazuri Bagh, Iqbal Park, Mochi Bagh, Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park, Model Town Park, Race Course Park, Nasir Bagh Lahore, Wild Life Park, Changa Manga, Zamzama, Masonic Temple (Lahore), Charing Cross, Lahore and Sukh Chayn Gardens.
Lahore is one of Pakistan's most accessible cities and the only city in the country where one can find public and private transportation 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. This includes public buses, as well as thousands of rickshaws and taxis, which run on compressed natural gas to reduce pollution in the city. About 75% of residents have their own conveyances. The roads in the city are well maintained and are broadened when needed to meet increasing demand.
- The Lahore Transport Company was established in 1984 to ease the traffic conditions of Lahore and improve bus services. In December 2009 LTC was assigned all the transport responsibilities of travelling in Lahore . A BRTS fleet of 650 buses was introduced and was named TransLahore. However, the BRTS did not have dedicated lanes and had to share roads with regular traffic with no right of way privileges. This resulted in a system that was a BRTS only in name.
- The Lahore Transport Company also operates Toyota HiAce vans on more than 150 routes.
- The Lahore Metrobus Service was inaugurated on 10 February 2013. The first section consists of a 27-kilometre road track, from Gajumata to Shahadra. Of this track, 8.5 km is elevated. Travel time for the 27 km is 55 minutes. It has 27 bus stations and incorporates e-ticketing and the intelligent transportation system.
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (September 2015)|
In addition to the historic Grand Trunk Road (G.T. Road), motorways connecting all major cities (Islamabad, Multan, Faisalabad, Peshawar, Rawalpindi, etc.) have been built. A motorway to Sialkot is under construction.[when?] The government has built underpasses to ease congestion and prevent traffic jams, and according to official figures, Lahore has the highest number of underpasses in Pakistan. The government would undertake planned rehabilitation of the roads, which have outlived their designed life, construction of missing road links and development of province-wide secondary arteries linking national motorways and trade corridors to foster economic opportunities via meeting expanding domestic and international travel and trade demands. The Punjab government had allocated[when?] Rs. 170.300 million for W/I of Thokar-Raiwind Road, Rs. 50 million for the dualisation of Lahore-Jaranwala Road from Ferozepur Interchange to Mandi Faizabad, Rs. 40 million for the construction of extending building for IWMI Thokar Niaz Baig Lahore, Rs. 50 million for the strengthening of Sheikhupura-Gujranwala Road, and Rs. 15 million for the construction of a bypass between Sargodha and Lahore Road.
The Lahore Metro or Lahore Rapid Mass Transit System (LRMTS) (Urdu: لاہور میٹرو) . First proposed in 1991, funding was not secured, and in 2012 it was abandoned by the Punjab government in favour of the more cost–effective Lahore Metro Bus System which opened in February 2013. However, the Punjab Government decided to restart development on the Lahore Metro as a $1.6 billion project with Chinese assistance. The Orange Line, which will be 27.1-kilometre (16.8 mi) long (25.4 kilometres (15.8 mi) of which will be elevated), will be the first line of the project and is under construction.
Several bus companies operate in Lahore. Premier Bus Services, owned by the Beaconhouse Group, was started in 2003, and provides transportation services to the general public in Lahore. With over 240 buses running on exclusive routes, it is the largest public transport company in Pakistan. As of 2010[update], the buses are in the process of being converted to compressed natural gas for environmental and economic reasons.
Sammi Daewoo's City Bus Division operates four routes within the city and two suburban routes for Gujranwala and Sheikhupura. Though these buses are fewer in number, they are air-conditioned and provide better comfort to passengers.
In addition to these two major companies, there are several other small companies (New Khan Metro, Niazi, etc.) that provide services within Lahore; they cover only particular routes and are few in number.
The Foton City Bus and First Bus, which were introduced by Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif for comfortable and luxurious transportation in the city, operate routes within Lahore. They are the first buses of its kind introduced in Pakistan. The Lahore Transport Company (LTC) signed an agreement in 2012 with First Bus Service (FBS) and Foton Bus Company (FBC) to run as many as 400 buses in the city.
The Daewoo City Bus also operates routes within Lahore. Its headquarters are located in the city of Lahore. It is operated by a Korean company, Sammi. On 11 February 2013, Punjab Government launched Rapid Bus Transit System (MBS) in Lahore.
In addition to above Turkish company Albayrak is operating 172 CNG buses in the city of Lahore since June 2012 and also operating MBS (Metro Bus Service) with 64 articulated buses since Feb 2013 becoming largest public transport operator in Lahore.
Lahore Railway Station is the biggest Railway Station in Pakistan. Pakistan Railways is headquartered in Lahore. Pakistan Railways provides an important mode of transportation for commuters and connects distant parts of the country with Lahore for business, sightseeing, pilgrimage, and education. The Lahore Junction railway station, built during the British colonial era, is located in the heart of the city. Commuter trains also run in the city. Railway stations are also located at Badami Bagh, Lahore Cantonment, Mughalpura, Walton Cantonment, Kot Lakhpat, Raiwind, Wagah and Lda city.
To accommodate increased air travel, the government built a new city airport in 2003. It was named Allama Iqbal International Airport after the national poet-philosopher of Pakistan, Allama Muhammad Iqbal, and is served by international airlines as well as the national flag carrier, Pakistan International Airlines. The old terminal now operates as the Hajj terminal to facilitate the great influx of pilgrims travelling to Saudi Arabia to perform the hajj every year. Lahore also has a general aviation airport known as Walton Airport.
The second closest commercial airport is in Amritsar, India.
According to the 1998 census, 94% of Lahore's population is Sunni or Shia Muslim, up from 60% in 1941. Other religions include Christians (5.80% of the total population, though they form around 9.0% of the rural population), and a small number of Bahá'ís, Hindus, Ahmediya, Parsis, and Sikhs. Due to Lahore's diverse culture, there are many mosques, shrines, synagogues, Hindu and Jain temples, Sikh Gurudwaras, and churches across the city. Some of the most famous mosques include: Badshahi Masjid, Dai Anga Mosque, Data Durbar Complex, Shia Masjid, Suneri Mosque, Wazir Khan Mosque, Moti Masjid, Masjid-e-Shuhda (Martyr's Mosque) and Mosque of Mariyam Zamani Begum. There are many shrines dedicated to different people. Some of the famous shrines include: Tomb of Muhammad Iqbal, Bibi Pak Daman, Samadhi of Ranjit Singh, Tomb of Shah Jamal, Tomb of Lal Hussain, Tomb of Anārkalī, Tomb of Jahangir, Tomb of Empress Nur Jehan and Tomb of Abdul Hasan Asaf Khan. Some of the well-known churches include Regal Church, Hall Road Church, Convent of Jesus and Mary and Sacred Heart Cathedral.
According to the 1998 census, Lahore's population was 6,318,745. An estimate in July 2014 put the population of the Lahore agglomeration at 7,566,000. It is considered to be one of the 35 largest cities of the world.
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Lahore's culture is unique. Known as the Cultural Capital or Heart of Pakistan, the city was the seat of the Mughal Empire and the Sikh Empire as well as the capital of Punjab in Mahmud Ghaznavi's 11th-century empire and in the British Empire. Lahore has a number of shopping malls. Mall of Lahore with a super market green valley in underground and food court with lots of fast food, Italian, Chinese, Pakistani and Mediterranean restaurants is one of them. There are also Al Noor, Vogue Towers and Ali towers on M. M. Alam Road, Gulberg. Gulberg and Defence and DHA EME are Affluent suburbs of Lahore. Urban neighbourhoods of Lahore like Bahria Town,Safari Villas and Ahram e Misr, Lake Coty, Park View Villas, Tricon Valley and Raiwind are developing rapidly.
Lahore has played an important role in Pakistani history. It was the city where Pakistan's independence declaration was made. It was the largest city in the newly formed Pakistan at the time of independence and provided the easiest access to India, with its porous border near the Indian city of Amritsar only 30 miles (48 km) to the east. Large numbers of Hindus, Sikhs, and Muslims lived closely in Lahore before the independence of Pakistan. The city suffered revolts, demonstrations and bloodshed at the time of independence due to the enmity between Muslims and Hindus at the time and the uncertainty which loomed over the fate of Lahore even after India and Pakistan became independent. Lahore's culture, its history, institutions, food, clothing, films, music, fashion, and liberal community lifestyle attract people from all over the country.
The people of Lahore celebrate many festivals and events throughout the year, blending Mughal, Western, and other traditions. Eid ul-Fitr and Eid ul-Adha are celebrated. Many people decorate their houses and light candles to illuminate the streets and houses during public holidays; roads and businesses may be lit for days. The mausoleum of Ali Hujwiri, also known as Data Ganj Bakhsh (Urdu: داتا گنج بخش) or Data Sahib, is located in Lahore, and an annual urs is held every year as a big festival. Basant is a Punjabi festival marking the coming of spring. Basant celebrations in Pakistan are centred in Lahore, and people from all over the country and from abroad come to the city for the annual festivities. Kite-flying competitions traditionally take place on city rooftops during Basant. Courts have banned the kite-flying because of casualties and power installation losses. The ban was lifted for two days in 2007, then immediately reimposed when 11 people were killed by celebratory gunfire, sharp kite-strings, electrocution, and falls related to the competition.
The Festival of Lamps, or Mela Chiraghan, is an important and popular event in Lahore. This is celebrated at the same time as Basant, every spring on the last Friday of March, outside the Shalimar Gardens. The National Horse and Cattle Show is one of the most famous annual festivals, held in spring in the Fortress Stadium. The week-long activities include a livestock display, horse and camel dances, tent pegging, colourful folk dances from all regions of Pakistan, mass-band displays, and tattoo shows in the evenings. On 14 August, the people of Pakistan celebrate the day Pakistan gained its independence from the British Raj. There are lots of celebrations in Lahore; the streets are full of people singing and dancing. Parades of the Pakistan Army and Pakistan Air Force are held early in the morning. Concerts are held with many pop and classical singers. The World Performing Arts Festival is held every autumn (usually in November) at the Alhambra cultural complex, a large venue consisting of several theatres and amphitheatres. This ten-day festival consists of musicals, theatre, concerts, dance, solo, mime, and puppetry shows. The festival has an international character, with nearly 80 percent of the shows performed by international performers. On average 15–20 different shows are performed every day of the festival.
Historic parks and gardens
Lahore is known as the 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.
The Lahore Zoo is the second oldest zoo in South Asia after Calcutta and has been a source of amusement and recreation for families for more than 100 years. Lahore also has a safari park covering more than 200 acres (81 ha). The park has safaris for different animals. The safaris with tigers, lions, rhinos, elephants, bear, apes, African and Indus plane animals cover an area of 80 acres (32 ha). Pakistan's largest walkthrough aviary is also located here, with all kinds of birds, including pheasants, waterfowls and peacocks. Birds are kept in their natural habitat instead of being caged; a net fence at the perimeter keeps birds in the aviary. There are more than a thousand species of animals in the park. Lahore's biggest lake is also situated here for boating and fishing. Jilani Park (formerly Race Course Park) is famous for its floral exhibitions and artificial waterfall.
In December 2004, Pakistan and China signed a million contract for the construction of a housing project on Multan Road in Lahore. The result was Sukh Chayn Gardens, a beautiful housing society full of lush green parks and gardens.
Lahore is known as Pakistan's educational capital, with more colleges and universities than any other city in Pakistan. Lahore is Pakistan's largest producer of professionals in the fields of science, technology, IT, engineering, medicine, nuclear sciences, pharmacology, telecommunication, biotechnology and microelectronics, nanotechnology and the only future hyper high tech centre of Pakistan . Most of the reputable universities are public, but in recent years there has also been an upsurge in the number of private universities. The current literacy rate of Lahore is 74%. Lahore hosts some of Pakistan's oldest educational institutes:
- Government College Lahore (now Government College University, Lahore), established in 1864
- Forman Christian College, a chartered university established in 1864
- Government Islamia College Lahore, established in 1892
- University of the Punjab, established in 1882;
- Kinnaird College, established in 1913
- Lahore College for Women University , established in 1922
- Queen Mary College, Lahore, established in 1908 and
- University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore (UET Lahore), established in 1921. UET is also Pakistan's oldest technical degree-awarding institute and its first university in the field of engineering and technology.
Lahore's principal educational institutes and establishments include:
The University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences is the only college in Lahore providing education in the field of veterinary medicine. The De'Montmorency College of Dentistry is an important college of dentistry. There are many institutes offering education in fields of nursing and pharmacy as well.
Lahore is recognised as one of the nation's important fashion capitals, along with Karachi. Most of the fashion industry of Pakistan is based in Lahore. It has been home to numerous fashion artists and designers, such as Hassan Sheheryar Yasin, Karma, Qasim Yar Tiwana, Khawar Riaz and many others designers. Many models of Pakistan also belong to Lahore such as Amna Haq, Iman Ali, Imran Abbas, Mehreen Syed, Meesha Shafi, Rabia Butt and many others. Numerous fashion weeks have been held in Lahore. The Fashion models are not only restricted within the national boundaries but are reaching among the international fashion models, and catwalks. It is becoming multi-dimensional industry with the variety in it. The frequent participation of Pakistani Fashion models has also proved that they are working on different grounds, facing the international models. In the Fashion industry internationally, Pakistani Fashion models are making their prominent position. Lahore is also home to important fashion institutions such as Pakistan Institute of Fashion and Design and the Lahore School of Fashion Design.
Lahore is the home of sports in Pakistan. It has many world class sports venues and stadiums. Lahore has successfully hosted many international sports events including final of the 1990 Hockey World Cup and final of the 1996 Cricket World Cup. The headquarters of all major sports governing bodies are located here in Lahore including Cricket, Hockey, Rugby, Football etc. and also has the head office of Pakistan Olympic Association.
Gaddafi Stadium is a Test cricket ground in Lahore. Designed by Pakistani architect Nayyar Ali Dada, it was completed in 1959 and is one of the biggest cricket stadiums in Asia. After its renovation for the 1996 Cricket World Cup, the stadium now boasts a capacity of over 60,000. Nearby is an athletics stadium, a basketball pitch, the Al Hamra, open-air hall similar in design to the coliseum, and the world's largest field hockey stadium, Lahore City Cricket Association Ground and Headquarters of Pakistan Cricket Board, all based in the city's Sports complex. In the same vicinity lie headquarters of the Pakistan Football Federation, as well as the multi-sport Punjab Stadium. Lahore is home to the domestic cricket teams Lahore Lions and Lahore Eagles, as well as to Pakistan Premier League giants WAPDA FC, Pakistan Railways FC, PEL FC, and Wohaib FC.
Lahore is home to several golf courses. The Lahore Gymkhana Golf Course, the Lahore Garrison Golf and Country Club, the Royal Palm Golf Club and newly built DHA Golf Club are well maintained Golf Courses in Lahore. In nearby Raiwind Road, a 9 holes course, Lake City, opened in 2011. The newly opened Oasis Golf and Aqua Resort is another addition to the city. It is a state-of-the-art facility featuring golf, water parks, and leisure activities such as horse riding, archery and more.The Lahore Marathon is part of an annual package of six international marathons being sponsored by Standard Chartered Bank across Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. More than 20,000 athletes from Pakistan and all over the world participate in this event. It was first held on 30 January 2005, and again on 29 January 2006. More than 22,000 people participated in the 2006 race. The third marathon was held on 14 January 2007. Plans exist to build Pakistan's first sports city in Lahore, on the bank of the Ravi River.
Twin Towns and Sister Cities
The following international cities have been declared twin towns and sister cities of Lahore.
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