UNESCO has declared Lahore the City of Literature in a ceremony held at Al Hamra Center on Wednesday. UNESCO team and officials of the Government of Punjab were present at the occasion. Lahore has become the first city in Pakistan to be conferred with the title.
Dr. Firdaus Ashiq Awan was the chief guest in the ceremony, representing Chief Minister Punjab, Usman Buzdar.
UNESCO Director Patricia Mcphillips said, “I am really honored to be part of this prestigious ceremony”. She said Lahore was one of the greatest cities with a rich cultural heritage. Lahore, she said, had become the first city of the literature of Pakistan. “It has a rich vibrant culture and is now in the network of cities recognized by UNESCO for its literary status,” she said.
Commissioner Lahore Zulfiqar Ahmed Ghuman said Lahore had a rich literary culture. Legendary poets like Allama Iqbal, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Intezar Hussain, Bano Qudsia, Ashfaq Ahmed, Ustad Daman, and Ibn-e-Insha have contributed to the city’s rich literature background.
He added that the provincial government has decided to celebrate 2021 as the year of literary activities and all cultural and literary institutions will hold events. A calendar for these activities is under preparation. Ghuman added that efforts are being made to enable the cities of Multan and Bahawalpur to get the same status.
Dr. Awan also celebrated the prestigious status granted to Lahore. She added that now Lahore would be known in the world as the literary city of Pakistan. She added that government will take special measures to celebrate Lahore’s status by organizing literary activities around the year.
A Memorandum of Understanding was also signed between the Lahore Arts Council and UNESCO.
Congratulations to #Lahore for being declared the ‘city of literature’ by @UNESCO – a great achievement that will internationalize the city’s cultural importance further!Thanks to #Heidelberg –the city of literature in 🇩🇪– for their efforts in this regard!https://t.co/TmrnLg2rDf
— Alfred Grannas (@GermanyinPAK) February 4, 2021
Last month, The New York Times had listed Lahore among its top pick tourist destination to visit in 2021 on Sunday. Lahore is included in the list named ‘dream destination 2021’ among 52 cities.
The writer mentions the hospitality and warmth they received in Lahore, in the short description of the city.
“Pakistan has a bad reputation and is often overlooked by travelers who come to South Asia. But Lahoris are some of the kindest, most hospitable people. They love to take care of you and feed you. Lahore’s hot summers can feel oppressive, but in winter, in the cool dusk, lights twinkle in the fog,” wrote the author.
The author talks about the Walled City of Lahore, which is home to iconic Mughal-era structures and monuments. The author also discussed the vibrant and lively culture of Lahore city in its description.
“I love to watch the Punjab locals feasting on terraces of restaurants overlooking the grand Badshahi Mosque — they are just regular people living their regular lives, and they are so alive in the present, while always connected to their past,” added the author.