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July 20, 2009

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Pakistan to replicate ancient fort

THE "oldest" pavilion at Expo will be a replica of the ancient Lahore Fort built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan more than 400 years ago but inside it will pay tribute to modern Pakistan, Yang Jian reports.

One night about 400 years ago, the Mughal Emperor and builder of the Taj Mahal, Shah Jahan, made an oath to his favorite wife Mumtaz Mahal on the balcony of the Lahore Fort. Next year, the ancient fort that witnessed the legendary love story will be revived at the 2010 Shanghai World Expo as Pakistan's national pavilion.

The ancient history linked to the pavilion will make it an exceptional structure at the 2010 event. It will be the "oldest" pavilion on the Expo site, standing out from the other modern and fashionable structures.

The ancient fort in the city of Lahore, whose origins date back to 1025 and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, will be replicated by the Asian nation both in its appearance and outfitting at the 2010 event.

The pavilion will be exactly the same as the original and might also include the most famous and legendary Sheesh Mahal, or Palace of Mirrors.

The luxury palace, with its small mirrors of different colors, is located in the fort's northeast corner.

The Emperor Jahan built the palace in 1631 as his wife Mahal said she wanted a bedroom where she could see the twinkling stars when lying in bed.

The mirrors reflect the stars and the bedroom shows, in its ceiling, the panorama of a star-lit sky.

However, Mahal died a year before the completion of the palace. The emperor was heartbroken and ordered construction of the Taj Mahal to be his wife's tomb.

Visitors to Shanghai World Expo will have the chance to sit under the roof where the lovers made their oaths to each other to soak up the sad and beautiful story.

Despite its historic appearance, the pavilion's interior will be full of modern technology.

Multimedia will be widely used to show pictures of elements of people's daily lives, its capital city Islamabad, Buddhism, the country's founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah and its cultural relics.

Traditional Pakistani dances will be performed and a restaurant will serve the unique tastes of the country's cuisine with BBQ foods, unique sauces and "Chai," a special milk tea.

Women a highlight

Pakistani women will be one of the highlights of its exhibition, said Abdul Wahid, deputy commissioner general of Pakistan, showcasing their achievements.

Women are quite important to the country, contributing a lot to its freedom and development, he said.

Wahid said people outside the country might consider that women had low social status because they always need to wear masks in public.

But in fact, they are equal to men, and many governmental officials in the country are women, he added.

On the 1,000-square-meter roof of the fort pavilion, the national flag of China and Pakistan will be permanently painted.

The artists who paint the flags will portray them to seem to be flapping in the wind.

A single Pakistani flag was placed on the roof in the original design but the Pakistani organizer added the Chinese flag to highlight the long standing friendship of the two countries, Wahid said.

The 2,000-square-meter pavilion with the theme of "harmony in diversity" will be adjacent to the China Pavilion, representing their neighborly relations.

What to see?

Traditional Pakistani dances.

What to eat?

A traditional Pakistani restaurant will serve the unique tastes of Pakistani cuisine with BBQ foods, unique sauces and "Chai," a special local milk tea. The smell might attract visitors from other pavilions.

Want to have fun?

The pavilion might include the most famous Sheesh Mahal, or Palace of Mirrors. The most luxurious palace was built by Emperor Shah Jahan, who built the Taj Mahal, for his favorite wife Mumtaz Mahal, with numerous mirrors embedded in the roof and walls of the palace. The mirrors reflected the stars and the bedroom shows, in its ceiling, the panorama of a star-lit sky.


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