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Lahore

Lahore (ləhôrˈ) [key], city (1998 pop. 5,063,499), capital of Punjab prov., E central Pakistan, on the Ravi River. It is the second largest city of Pakistan. A railway and air transport center near the Indo-Pakistani border, Lahore is a banking and commercial city that markets the products of the surrounding fertile agricultural area. The city is home to c.20% of Pakistan's industrial producers; manufactures include textiles, rubber, iron, and steel. Handicrafts, especially gold and silver work, also flourish. According to Hindu legend, Lahore was founded by Loh, or Lava, son of Rama, the hero of the Sanskrit epic Ramayana. In 1036 it was conquered from a Brahman dynasty by the Muslim Turkish Ghaznavids, who made it the capital of their empire in 1106. It passed in 1186 to the Ghori sultans, also from Afghanistan. India's first Muslim emperor, Kutb-ud-din Aibak, was crowned in Lahore in 1206 and is buried there. The city, which suffered Mongol raids in the 13th and 14th cent., entered the period of its greatest glory in the 16th cent., when it became one of the capitals of the Mughal empire. Lahore declined after the reign of Aurangzeb; it was annexed in 1767 by the Sikhs, who, under Ranjit Singh, made it their capital. It passed to the British in 1849. When Pakistan won independence in 1947, Lahore became the capital of its West Punjab; from 1955 to 1970 it was the capital of the entire province of West Pakistan, composed of all provinces in the western wing; and upon the province's dissolution it became the capital of Punjab prov. The architectural remains of the Mughal period, although imperfectly preserved, are among the most splendid of Mughal art. Especially notable are the palace and mausoleum of emperor Jahangir and the Shalimar gardens, just outside the city; only three sections of the gardens remain of the original seven that had symbolized the divisions of the Islamic paradise. Other landmarks include the Pearl and Golden mosques, the tomb of Ranjit Singh, and the Wazir Khan mosque, which contains the finest known examples of khashi, or inlaid pottery. Lahore's museum of Indian antiquities, which figures in Rudyard Kipling's Kim, is among the most noted in the East. The city's educational facilities include the Univ. of the Punjab (1882), Pakistan's oldest university; several affiliated colleges; and a university of engineering and technology. Lahore also has an atomic research institute.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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