Multan is a city in Punjab, Pakistan, located on the bank of Chenab River. Multan is one of the five largest urban centres of Pakistan in 2023, with an estimated population of 2.2 million, and is the major cultural, religious and economic centre of Southern Punjab.Multan is known for rich ancient heritage and historic landmarks. The city is one of the oldest and continuously inhabited cities of Asia, with a history stretching deep into antiquity. A historic cultural centre of Punjab and a significant centre of Indus Valley civilization. Situated at the heart of South Asian subcontinent Multan region was centre of many civilizations.
Multan was part of Achaemenid Empire ruled by Darius the Great of Iran in 500 BC era. The city was besieged by Alexander the Great during the Mallian Campaign. It was conquered by the Umayyad military commander Muhammad bin Qasim in 712 CE after the conquest of Sindh.Multan reached height of its splendour during the Arab rule of 9th and 10th century when it was made a separate state of Emirate of Multan thereby ruling large parts of Punjab and Kashmir.Later the region came under the rule of empires such as the Ghaznavids, the Ghaurids and the Mamluks. In 1445, it became capital of the Langah Sultanate. Multan province was one of the largest provinces of Mughal Empire. Afterwards, Multan became part of the Durrani and Sikh empires successively. In 1848, it was conquered by the British Empire and became part of British Punjab.
Multan was among the most densely populated or largest cities of the world in early medieval era. The city was among most important trading centres and a great centre of knowledge and learning in the medieval Islamic Indian subcontinent,and attracted a multitude of Sufi mystics in the 11th and 12th centuries becoming a great centre of spirituality in entire South Asia, earning the city the sobriquet “City of Saints.” The city, along with the nearby city of Uch, is renowned for its large number of Sufi shrines dating from that era. Multan is called “The Mango city” for a reason, as its stiflingly hot climate provides the fruit a perfect environment to ripe into juiciest, thickest and the most aromatic mangoes in the world. Some popular varieties of Multani mangoes are ‘Anwar Rattol’, ‘Langra’, ‘Dusehri’ and ‘Chaunsa’. Each of them is different in taste, size and quality of pulp. The major crops of Multan include wheat, cotton, sugarcane, rice, maize, sunflower, fodder crops etc., minor crops involve rapeseed and mustard, pulses i.e. chickpea, lentil, mung bean and mush bean etc., whereas mango, citrus, guava, date-palm, pomegranate, falsa, jujube, banana, strawberry and grapes are among popular fruits grown in the area.
Multani Sohan Halwa, made of sugar, desi ghee and wheat flour and ornamented with nuts and pistachios, is a special dessert, that every visitor to Multan takes with him as a compulsory delight. Beautiful blue tiles, blue pottery, Multani Khussa (shoes), embroidered clothes for men and women and camel skin wares are some other designated products of Multan.