Lahore fort has long & deep history. It is normally also referred as Shahi Qila. This was originally the citadel of the Lahore city which falls in the province of Punjab in Pakistan. It is located in the northwestern corner of the Walled City of Lahore. It is spread over 20 hectares of land.
The existing base structure was built during the reign of Mughul Emperor Akbar between 1556–1605 and was regularly upgraded by subsequent Mughul, Sikh and British rulers.
It has two gates one is known as Alamgiri Gate build by Emperor Aurangzeb which opens towards Badshahi Mosque and other older one known as Maseeti (Punjabi language word meaning Mosque) which opens towards Masti Gate Area of Walled City and was built by Emperor Akbar. Currently Alamgiri Gate is used as the principal entrance while Masti Gate is permanently closed .
Some famous places inside the fort include: Sheesh Mahal, Naulakha pavilion, Diwan-e-Aam, Diwan-e-Khas and Moti Masjid.
The Lahore Fort is clearly divided into two sections: first the administrative section, which is well connected with main entrances, and comprises larger garden areas and Diwan-e-Khas for royal audiences. The second - a private and concealed residential section - is divided into courts in the northern part, accessible through 'elephant gate'. It also contains Shish Mahal (Hall of Mirrors), and spacious bedrooms and smaller gardens. On the outside, the walls are decorated with blue Persian kashi tiles. The original entrance faces the Maryam Zamani Mosque, whereas the larger Alamgiri Gate opens to the Hazuri Bagh through the majestic Badshahi Mosque.
In 1981, the fort was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with the Shalimar Gardens.
The origins of shahi Qila are somewhat obscure and some are based on various myths. However, Department of Archaeology during the excavation carried out in 1959 in front of Diwan-e-Aam, found a gold coin of Mahmood of Ghazni dated AH 416 (1025 AD) at a depth of 7.62 metres from the level of the lawns giving strong indications that people had lived here even long before the conquest of Lahore by Mahmood in 1021 AD. Further mention of the fort is also traceable to Shahab-ud-din Muhammad Ghuri's successive invasions of Lahore from 1180 to 1186 AD. In 1758, the fort was captured by the Maratha forces.
Then the Bhangi Sikh Dynasty (1716–1810), one of the 12 Sikh Kingdoms (Misl) of Punjab ruled Lahore City from 1760s until 1799 and expanded the City of Lahore. When Ranjit Singh, another Sikh chief from the Gujranwals area took Lahore from the Bhangi Misl the Lahore Fort fell to Ranjit Singh and in 1801 he was crowned as the emperor of all of the Punjab.
Lahore Fort and the city from (1799–1849) remained under the control of Maharaja Ranjit Singh called as Sher-e-Panjab, and his sons, grandsons and wives, until the fall of the last Sikh empire or the Lahore Darbar in 1849. After that British took over till the creation of independent Pakistan in August 1947.