For centuries, Lahore has remained a cultural hub for South Asia. With a rich history dating over a millennium, the Mughal City of Gardens is also the 14th most populous city in the world. So what specifically makes this city so special?
Known as the Mughal City of Gardens, it’s hard not to see the influence of the Mughals in Lahore’s culture and architecture. There’s the Lahore Fort or Shahi Qila, which was built during the Mughal Emperor Akbar’s reign and has been regulary upgraded by all the subsequent rulers.
Then there’s the iconic Badshahi Mosque, which alongside the Minar-e-Pakistan is synonymous with Lahore. One of the largest mosques in the world, the Badshahi Mosque can accommodate over 55,000 worshipers and has been a major tourist attraction for a long time.
But Lahore isn’t just about large Mughal buildings. Taking a walk around the Old City or Androon Shehr, you can find remnants from times when the Rajputs and Sikhs ruled over the city. And there’s a good amount of influence from the thieving British as well but it’s not as beautiful.
The monument was built in the 1960s on the site where the resolution for the formation of Pakistan was passed in 1941. That makes it a pretty darn important political site…
3. Wagah border
Wagah border deserves to be mentioned separately because of it’s political and historical significance. The Wagah border ceremony itself has become such an attraction, that many people venture out to the border daily just to see the flag lowering ceremony.
4. Food capital of Pakistan
Ask any Lahori and they’ll tell you that there’s no better place for food in Pakistan than Lahore. With historic places such as Gawal Mandi and Anarkali to more modern establishments in places like MM Alam Road, Lahore is beaming with countless dining options.
Lahore has historically been a very intellectual city. And fortunately, that hasn’t changed over time. Known also as the education capital of Pakistan, Lahore has more colleges and universities than any other city in Pakistan.
There’s a reason Lahore is known as the cultural hub of Pakistan. The people of Lahore celebrate several festivals throughout the year which allows for the city to remain lively. In addition to the Eid festivals, Lahore is also renowned for Basant, the Festival of Lamps or Mela Chiraghan, the National Horse and Cattle show, Pakistan Army and Pakistan Airforce parades, and others. Basically, there are a lot of celebrations that go on in Lahore which allow for a lively and diverse culture to flourish in the city.
From Liberty to MM Alam Road to Defence to Liberty to Shah Alam Market, there is something to buy all over Lahore for every age group. Not really sure if making you go broke because of all the shopping is a good thing about Lahore…
8. Family playground
Not only is Lahore a lively place for adults, but also for children (to the relief of many parents). From Sinbad to Battlefield to Joy Land to Wonder World, kids are sure to enjoy themselves in all these places. Moreover, Lahore is also home to the Lahore Zoo which happens to be second oldest zoo in South Asia.
9. No MQM!
10. The increasing number of cinemas
The increase in modern movie theaters across Pakistan is significantly helping improve the movie industry as a whole across Pakistan. And Lahore is leading that charge with the highest number of cinemas in Pakistan.
11. Improving public transportation
Now this one draws mixed opinions. Regardless of what people will say about where funds should be spent, one can’t argue that Lahore’s public transportation system has been improving over the years.
12. Support for entrepreneurship
Plan 9 and LUMS Center for Entrepreneurship are just some of the incubating outlets that provide support for startups to help them develop their business. Innovation begins at Lahore.
13. Fashion forward
Most of Pakistan’s fashion industry is based in Lahore with renowned designers such as Hassan Sheheryar Yasin, Karma, Qasim Yar Tiwana, Khawar Riaz and several others. More so, Lahore is also home to some of Pakistan’s important fashion institutions such as the Lahore School of Fashion Design and Pakistan Institue of Fashion and Design. And then there’s also Lahore’s Fashion Week.
Another thing Lahore is well known for is sports. In addition to the sporting spirit, Lahore also has several world class venues. In the past, Lahore hosted the 1996 Cricket World Cup final and 1990 Hockey World Cup final. In addition, all the major sports governing bodies are headquartered in Lahore. In addition to stadiums, Lahore also has several country clubs which cater to the sporting nature of the lively city.
15. Performing Arts
There are several theaters in Lahore that promote performing arts but none has helped preserve art and entertainment industry as much as the grand Alhamra Arts Complex. Alhamra is a large venue that consists of several theaters and amphitheaters. Lahore also plays host to World Performing Arts Festival which is a ten day festival of musical, theater, concernts, dance, mine and puppetry shows.
16. City of Gardens
Another name given to Lahore is the City of Gardens. Many of the gardens in Lahore were built during the Mughal era and fortunately, many of them have survived the test of time. From Shalimar Garden built by Shah Jehan to Jilani Park aka Race Course Park to Bagh-e-Jinnah, Lahore lives up to its name as the City of Gardens.
17. The people
With their music, festivals, parties, music, language, art, literature, cuisines and what not, Lahoris are a unique breed. Like many other places in Pakistan, Lahoris are also known for being very hospitable. But Lahoris take hospitality to the next level and go out of their way to make you feel at home while having a great time – they’ll put your comfort before their own.
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With that said, every city in Pakistan plays its part in helping the country progress. Many of us compete with each other over who’s city is better. Rather, we should focus on appreciating all the different cities in Pakistan and celebrate the diversity they bring to Pakistan.