Walled City lahore Authority

The Travel Blog

“If you have not visited Lahore, you have not yet been born.” So, the saying goes in Pakistan’s second largest city. Why such confident largess from the Lahoris, who variously refer to their city as the Paris of the East and the Cultural Capital of Pakistan? I spent a few days there to find out.

The capital of the fertile Punjab (“five rivers”) region, Lahore has been fought over and ruled from by a number of great empires. Arguably, it reached its peak under the Mughal Empire, before the Sikh Empire was centred here and more recently the British Empire, before partition and Pakistan’s self rule since 1947.

Each empire has left their mark on the city and, in architectural terms at least, the city is the richer for it. The city is also the most cosmopolitan in Pakistan, a liberal and creative hub where ‘Lollywood’ the Pakistani film scene, is based.

Having crossed the border between India and Pakistan on foot at the Wagha Border, scene of the nightly flamboyant border closing ceremony, my first stop was Lahore Fort.

Whilst the site of Lahore Fort is said to have been inhabited for millennia, it was largely (re)built during the Mughal era. The remains today span a vast site of lawns, and the shells of observatories, quarters for the ladies of the royal hareem, administrative buildings and the Diwan-e-Khas for royal audiences. Slow restoration is underway but patches of original tiles, frescoes and much the marble architectural details are still intact. My visit to the fort was enlivened by groups of school children wanting ‘selfies’ which became a recurring theme of my time in Lahore.

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