The fabled city of Lahore is one of South Asia’s urban jewels. Under the Mughal Empire (1526-1857), of which it was briefly the capital, Lahore was endowed with major monuments – mosques, fortifications, palaces and gardens. These include Lahore Fort, a World Heritage Site, and the Wazir Khan Mosque. In 1947, significant sections of its Walled City were destroyed by the arson and looting that accompanied the partition of the South Asian subcontinent. It fell into increasing disrepair, as newer areas became the centre of urban development.
Today, Lahore is Pakistan’s second largest city and capital of the province of Punjab, with over 11 million inhabitants. A major industrial agglomeration, its location and economic potential have attracted labour and capital for many decades, but little infrastructure investment and haphazard development have limited economic growth and caused severe traffic congestion, increasing pollution and, for many households, an ever-poorer quality of life.
Glimpse into the magnificent Walled City of Lahore where one of the largest restoration projects in Pakistan is being undertaken by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture. Historic and cultural treasures which had been left in a state of decay for over 100 years are being brought back from the brink and along with that an improved quality of life for the city’s inhabitants.
21 May is World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development, an occasion to recognise how cultural diversity is a driving force of development and an indispensable asset for poverty reduction.