Lahore is the capital of Punjab, the Pakistani province and is also the second largest city in the country. It is known to be the culture Hub of Pakistan, as it has an amusing and vibrant history dating back to over a millennium ago. Lahore is known as the world's most cosmopolitan and dynamic city by having its historical status. The city has been the heart of cultural heritage for several civilizations. It served as the capital of the empires in the Shahi kingdoms of the 11th century, the Ghaznvids of the 12th century, the Ghurid state in the 12th and 13th century, the Mughal Empire, the Sikh Expansion and also was the original capital of Punjab under the British Rule in the 19th and 20th century.
Being the original capital of Punjab for around a thousand years made it the cultural hub of Northern India which stretched from the Indus River to New Delhi. There are various beautiful Mughal structures in Lahore which have become popular tourist sites for the city; these include the Badshahi Mosque, the Lahore Fort, Shalimar Gardens and the mausoleums of Jehangir and Nur Jehan. The city also happens to have many British Colonial structures built in the Indo-Sarcenic style, these structures comprise of the Lahore High Court, the General Post Office, Lahore Museum and many universities like the University of Punjab. The Lahore Zoo is a special one as well; it is known to be the fourth oldest zoo in the world.
Lahore is famous for its cultural beauty not only because of the many structures it houses but also because it hosts many of the arts and cuisine festivals, filmmaking, music, gardening festivals and intellectuals of the country. It is especially known for its association with artist and poets; in fact it contains the greatest number of educational institutions in Punjab and has some of the most beautiful gardens in the whole continent. Having such a beautiful and vibrant history it comes as no surprise that the city is a core for publications, it is in Lahore that 80 percent of Punjab's books are published and the city is thus the soul of literary and cultural activity in Punjab. Lahore is of great religious value to many religions as it is in Lahore that hundreds of temples, mosques and shrines like the Data Durbar Complex are situated. The existence of such religious structures from various religions signifies that it was once a very religiously diverse city as it was the center of Punjab in the Mughal era, the Sikh expansion and the British Rule.
In the 1998 census, Lahore's population was estimated to be 6, 310,000. In 2010 a government estimates the population of the city at 8, 590,000. Hence it is still a growing city; it has been ranked as the 8th largest city within the organization of Islamic Corporation and 40th in the most populated urban areas. In 2010, the city was stated to be the 2nd best tourist destination in Pakistan as per the Guardian. It is a city of great importance for Pakistan as it very beautifully portrays the colorful history that Pakistan has with its amazing structures, gardens, educational features and festivals, when in Pakistan it is a must visit.