Historians believe people settled in Lahore, Pakistan over 2,000 years ago, however, the most concrete documents that mention the current city dates back to 982. For many centuries, the city was controlled by various empires such as Ghazanavid in the 12th century, Ghuri in the 12th and 13th centuries, Mughal in the 16th through the 18th century, and then the Sikh in the 19th century. Throughout the years, emperors built amazing palaces, gardens, and mosques that are captivating, and many travelers flock to learn about their histories and spend time admiring all the details.
Luckily, despite the various kingdoms that dominated the area, many of these beautiful sites still remain. But these are not the only gems of Lahore, there are also markets and cafes that stand out among the others. If you’re looking to see every major site in Lahore, we also recommend the following spots to add to your list:
Shahi Qila, or also referred to as Lahore Fort, was originally built in 1566 and was decorated using both Hindu and Islamic designs, followed by the addition of marble floors and floral patterns, which was common throughout Persia. It was home to the rulers of the Mughal Empire and then the Sikh Empire until the British took over.
Lahore Fort is immensely large, spanning 49.2 acres, and features various structures such as the Khwabgah (a sleeping chamber), Pearl Mosque, several watchtowers, a royal bathhouse, stairs for elephants to utilized when they carried royalty, a palace of mirrors, garden for women only, and many museums to wander through. You can almost spend half a day here if you plan on seeing everything.
Fort Food Street
If you’re hungry, we recommend checking out Fort Food Street, located inside the Walled City. The area features historic buildings that have been refurbished and repainted to freshen up the area. You can find rooftop restaurants as well as ones on the street level serving various Pakistani cuisines as well as Middle Eastern fusion dishes. The places stay open throughout the day and into the late evening, plus if you get there before sunset, you can grab a table at one of the rooftop restaurants for a glorious view of the sky as the sun goes down. There are also street performers and musicians throughout the street to keep you entertained.
Love to shop? Make your way to Liberty Market, one of the oldest markets in Lahore where you’ll find various goods including traditional shoes and costumes to jewelry, furniture, pashmina scarves, perfumes, trinkets and even replicas. Once you’ve walked and shopped, you can take a break at one of the many restaurants and cafes in the area. (The only thing we recommend is to not give cash to the beggars, as these children then give away the cash they receive to an older adult collecting all the money.)
Lahore is all about seeing beautiful sites and eating lots of good food. Unfortunately, you will not find many bars and/or much of a nightlife due to religious factors. Nonetheless, many restaurants and cafes stay open late into the night, which is a perfect way to end your day. We chose Haveli restaurant as the go-to, located inside the Walled City. This restaurant serves excellent local dishes—especially the BBQ and kebabs which are a must-try. Not only is the food good, but the service is terrific and the view is breathtaking, overlooking the Badshahi Mosque. It’s open every day starting at 5pm and closes at 1am.
Lahore, Pakistan offers some of the most beautiful sites and mouthwatering dishes that can be found throughout the city. So if you do plan a trip (or stopover) to this Middle Eastern destination, don’t miss out on some of our favorite spots and gems listed above.
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