Located at the crossroads of Asia, with the booming Middle East to the west and mighty China to the east, Pakistan is a true regional powerhouse. With almost 210 million people, Pakistan is also the fifth most populous country in the world, and while this vast country does not attract a large number of international tourists, it has a huge amount to offer the curious traveler. Pakistan features two of the world's largest cities, Karachi and Lahore, with the latter showcasing a collection of stunning ancient landmarks that date back to the reign of the famed Emperor Shah Jahan. The UNESCO-listed Lahore Fort and the Shalamar Gardens are true Murghal masterpieces that should be on any traveler's bucket list.
Meanwhile, the Pakistani capital Islamabad provides a wonderful example of a modern planned city, with wide avenues, green open spaces and daring architecture, including the Faisal Mosque - one of the largest mosques in the world.
Pakistani cuisine is one of the country's most popular exports. “Balti” dishes, so beloved of curry fans around the world, originate in Pakistan, and curry's famous flatbread accompaniment, the “naan,” derives from the Urdu word for bread. Spicy and aromatic, with South Asian, Persian, Middle Eastern and even Chinese influences, Pakistani cuisine will set your taste buds tingling.
The future appears bright for Pakistan; the country's economy is on the rise, with GDP growing at its fastest rate in nine years in 2017 and further acceleration forecast in years ahead. Major new road and rail links to neighboring China and a huge new Arabian Sea port are also expected to boost the country's economic prospects. And arguably more importantly for this cricket-mad country, international cricket returned to Pakistan in late 2017.
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