Lahore ( lə-HOR; Punjabi: لہور [ˈlɔ̀ːɾə̆]; Urdu: لاہور [laːˈɦɔːɾ] ) is the capital and largest city of the Pakistani province of Punjab. It is the second largest city in Pakistan, after Karachi, and 26th largest in the world, with a population of over 13 million. It is located in the north-eastern region of Punjab, along the River Ravi. Lahore is one of Pakistan's major industrial and economic hubs. It has been the historic capital and cultural centre of the wider Punjab region, and is one of Pakistan's most socially liberal, progressive, and cosmopolitan cities.
Lahore's origins reach into antiquity. The city has been inhabited for around two millennia, although it rose to prominence in the late 10th century. Lahore was the capital of several empires during medieval era, including the Hindu Shahis, Ghaznavids, and Delhi Sultanate. It reached the height of its splendor under the Mughal Empire between the late 16th and early 18th century and also served as its capital city for many years. During this period, it was one of the largest cities in the medieval world. The city was captured by the forces of the Afsharid ruler Nader Shah in 1739. Although the Mughal authority was re-established, it fell into a period of decay while being contested among the Afghans and the Sikhs between 1748 and 1798. Lahore eventually became the capital of the Sikh Empire in the early 19th century, regaining some of its lost grandeur. Lahore was annexed to the British Raj in 1849 and became the capital of British Punjab. Lahore was central to the independence movements of both India and Pakistan, with the city being the site of both the declaration of Indian Independence and the resolution calling for the establishment of Pakistan. It experienced some of the worst riotings during the Partition period preceding Pakistan's independence. Following the success of the Pakistan Movement and the subsequent partition of British India in 1947, Lahore was declared the capital of Pakistan's Punjab province.
Lahore exerts a strong cultural influence over Pakistan. A UNESCO City of Literature and major center for Pakistan's publishing industry, Lahore remains the foremost center of Pakistan's literary scene. The city is also a major centre of education in Pakistan, with some of Pakistan's leading universities based in the city. For many years, Lahore was home to Pakistan's film industry, Lollywood, though in recent years most filming has shifted to Karachi. Lahore is a major centre of Qawwali music. The city also hosts much of Pakistan's tourist industry, with major attractions including the Walled City, the famous Badshahi and Wazir Khan mosques, as well as several Sikh and Sufi shrines. Lahore is also home to the Lahore Fort and Shalimar Gardens, both of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.