Lahore (Urdu: لاہور) is the capital of the province of Punjab, and the second most populated city in Pakistan, also known as the Gardens of the Mughals or City of Gardens, after the significant rich heritage of the Mughal Empire. It is located near the river Ravi and the Indian border, Wagah. According to 1997/98 censes, Lahore's population was nearly 6.8 million. Mid 2006 government estimates now put the population at somewhere around 10 million, which makes it the second largest city in Pakistan, after Karachi. It is considered to be one of the thirty largest cities of the world.
Punjabi is the language of the province, and is the most widely spoken language in Lahore. People of Lahore who widely speak Punjabi are known as Lahori Punjabi due to a mixture of Punjabi and colloquial Urdu. However, Urdu and English have become more popular too. Lahore is largely thought of as the cultural centre of Pakistan. It is widely called the "heart of Pakistan" in popular culture.
Since the rise of the Persian Empire, Lahore has been given the status of being the capital of nearly every empire that has ruled the region. During 1021, Mahmud appointed the throne to Ayaz, making Lahore the capital of the Ghaznavid Empire. After the fall of the Ghaznavid Empire, Lahore was ruled by various muslim dynasties known as the Delhi Sultanate including the Khiljis, Tughlaqs, Sayyid, Lodhis and Suris. It was not until 1524AD that Lahore became part of the Mughal Empire. It was in 1585AD that Mughal emperor Akbar decided to make Lahore the capital of the Mughal Empire. During Akbar's reign he built the fort that was once the citadel of the city. After his death, his son Jahangir took over control and Lahore remained the capital for over a century until the Mughal Empire fell and the city was taken over by the Sikhs. The Sikhs ruled the Punjab region for over half a century until the British Raj took control and Lahore become part of the British empire until independence in 1947AD.
Due to Lahore's rich history, the mughal and colonial architecture has still been presreved in all its splendour. Mughal architecture such as, the Badshahi Mosque, Lahore Fort, Shalimar Gardens and the mausoleums of Jehangir and Nur Jehan are very popular tourist spots in the city. Various colonial buildings originally built by the British, such as the Lahore High Court, General Post Offics (GPO) and many of the older universities still retain their Mughal-Gothic style.
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