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Top 8 places to visit in Lahore

It might not be top of your vacation bucket list but Pakistan's city of Lahore has a lot going for it: great museums, stunning mosques and impressive public parks. To convince you, here's our guide to the best places to visit in Lahore.

1. Lahore Fort

This fort is the pièce de résistance in Lahore’s Old City and dates back to around 1567 when it was refurbished and restored by the Emperor Akbar. It underwent a number of facelifts in following centuries and suffered damage at the hands of the British and Sikhs, but is still a very impressive sight. Must-see points of interest include the Hall of Public Audience and the Palace of Mirrors (known as Sheesh Mahal). There’s also three small museums in the grounds – the Sikh Gallery, Mughal Gallery and the Armory Gallery. If you want to learn about the fort’s history, hire a guide for between Rs150 and Rs200 (Dh8-Dh11).

Address: Fort Rd, Lahore, Pakistan

Opening hours: 7am – sunset (the museums close earlier)

2. Lahore Museum

The city’s main museum which tells the story of Pakistan’s history is in a dominating 18th century building. It has more than 10 separate galleries, including ones dedicated to coins, arms, postage stamps, miniature paintings and Islamic art. The museum has artifacts dating back as far at the Stone Age, as well as some ancient Qurans, beautiful carpets and some very rare coins from the Achaemenid age. We recommend you set aside around half a day to see all the museum has to offer.

Address: Lahore Museum, Mall Road, Lahore 54000, Pakistan

Opening hours: 9am – 4pm in October 16 through April 15 (winter), 9am – 5pm during the rest of the year

Entry: Rs20/400 (Dh1/Dh23) for Indians/non-Indians, Rs5 (30 fils) for children, and Rs25 (Dh1) for cameras

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3. Badshahi Mosque

Opposite Lahore Fort is the marble domed Badshahi Mosque, which holds up to 100,000 worshipers, making it one of the world’s largest. Its main claim to fame, however, is that the rooms above its entrance hold strand’s of the Prophet Mohammed’s hair. You can enter these rooms for Rs5 (30 fils). Another of the mosque’s points of interest is the Tomb of Mohammed Iqbal, a politician, poet and philosopher who is famous for championing an independent Pakistan in British India.

Address: Fort Rd, Lahore, Pakistan

Opening hours: Daily, sunrise – sunset

Best places to visit in Lahore: Badshahi Mosque

4. Minar-e-Pakistan

This modern monument was built in the 1960s on the site where the All-India Muslim League signed the Lahore Resolution on March 23, 1940. The Resolution called for Independence and was the first time the country became known as Pakistan. For this reason it is one of the most popular places to visit in Lahore and is politically and historically very important. It’s located in the Iqbal Park in Lahore, one of the city’s biggest public parks, and stands at around 70 meters tall. It was designed to reflect its significance; the base has four platforms which each symbolizes the country’s struggle for freedom, and there are inscriptions on 10 plaques including quotes from the Lahore Resolution, verses from the Quran, and quotes from Mohammed Iqbal.

Address: Minar-e-Pakistan, Iqbal Park, Circular Rd, Lahore 54000, Pakistan

5. Shalamar Gardens

If you’d like a break from Lahore’s city streets, travel around 4km to the north east to the 17th century Shalamar Gardens. The Garden is the only remaining Mughal garden in the city and as such, is very popular with locals. It’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Site because its “terraces with lodges, waterfalls and large ornamental ponds, is unequalled”. It’s not as grand as it once was and has undergone various restoration projects over the years, but it’s still a fascinating example of Mughal symmetrical architecture.

Address: Shalamar Gardens, Grand Trunk Road, Lahore, Pakistan

Opening hours: Daily, 7am – 30 mins before sunset

6. Wazir Khan Mosque

The interior of the Wazir Khan Mosque is adorned with stunning mosaic tile work and Mughal frescoes which have been very carefully restored in recent years. The mosque was built during the reign of Mughal Emperor Shah Jehan and is named after Nawab Wazir Khan, the Governor of Lahore and man in charge of its construction. A Persian-style of mosaic work known as kashi-kari was used to decorate parts of the mosque’s interior; the results are breathtaking and should not be missed on a visit to Lahore.

Address: Shahi Guzargah, Lahore, Pakistan

Opening hours: Daily, sunrise – sunset

7. Jahangir’s Tomb

This sandstone tomb was believed to have been designed by Mughal Emperor Jahangir’s widow, Nur Jahan, after the Emperor’s death in the 17th century. Like the Wazir Khan Mosque, the interior of the tomb is elaborately decorated with marble mosaics and frescoes. The walls of all the tomb’s separate rooms are inlaid with the traditional carved marble depicting flowers and other Mughal symbols. The tomb is set in attractive and mature gardens which are divided into 16 squares by symmetrical pathways.

Address: Tomb Circular Walk, Shahdara, Lahore, Pakistan

Opening hours: Daily, 9am – 7pm

8. Chughtai Museum

The Chughati Museum celebrates the life of Pakistan’s most revered painter – Abdur Rahman Chughtai, who died in 1975. The museum was opened in the year his death and was intended to be a temporary exhibition but as its collection grew, so did its popularity; it’s now one of the most popular places to visit in Lahore. Chughtai created almost 2,000 watercolors, as well as thousands of pencil sketches and hundreds of etchings. He also designed many of the country’s coins and postage stamps. To check the museum is open, call ahead on the number listed on its Facebook page.

Address: Ferozepur Rd, Lahore 54000, Pakistan

Opening hours: Mon – Sat, 2pm – Sunset

*Published November 2017. Prices correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change and/or availability.

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