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Wazir Khan and the old city of Lahore

Listed under Historic Streets and Squares in Lahore, Pakistan.

Photo of Wazir Khan and the old city of Lahore
Photo by flickr user Hassan Sarmad
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Lahore is one of Asia's aging grand old capitals; drenched in history and spot lit with unique architectural masterpieces. The same dynasty of Mughal Emperors responsible for the perennial grace of the Taj Mahal built or commissioned many of the mosques here, yet that pedigree hasn't yet attracted the same multitudes.

The human, buzzing heart of this culture vulture's paradise is the old city, its mazes of streets, markets and life kept in by the old walls which still surround it. People still live here, if they can afford not to they don't, but if they do it's in rickety wooden houses. It's pretty run down (in fact it’s more likely that residents rather than developers would want to knock the place down if they could.) but it's very much a functioning city centre and the kind of place where you can buy pretty much anything. It will always be seen as a series of bazaars rich in trade but poor in terms of a place to reside so not really much there for developers unless they were forward thinking enough to build something related to the heritage of the area.

Rising out of this human hubbub is one of the architectural jewels of the old city the Wazir Khan mosque, which, contrary to most mosques, is ornately decorated with intricate tile, mosaic and fresco designs in a splendid array of colour, minarets and all. Wazir Khan, whose real name was Sheikh Ilm-ud-din Ansari was a one time Governor of Lahore and the court physician during the reign of Emperor Shah Jehan who commissioned the Wazir to build the mosque in 1634. The Wazir was a lover of the arts which could explain why the mosque is so vibrant and unique. It's not at all irreverent though, the detailed Arabic calligraphy are passages from the Quran and dedicated to Allah.

Easy to get to you can walk around the mosque and survey the whole of the old city from the top of the minarets.

Travel Pak images of Lahore.

Written by  Sohail Azhar.

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