Multan is a Pakistani city located in Punjab province. Located on the banks of the Chenab River, Multan is Pakistan’s 5th most populous city, and is the premier cultural and economic centre of southern Punjab.
Multan’s history stretches deep into antiquity. The ancient city was site of the renowned Multan Sun Temple, and was besieged by Alexander the Great during the Mallian Campaign.
Multan was one of the most important trading centers of medieval Islamic India, and attracted a multitude of Sufi mystics in the 11th and 12th centuries, earning the city the nickname City of Saints.
The city, along with the nearby city of Uch, is renowned for its large collection of Sufi shrines dating from that era.
Multan’s urban typology is similar to other ancient cities in South Asia, such as Peshawar, Lahore, and Delhi – all of which were founded near a major river, and included an old walled city, as well as a royal citadel. Unlike those cities, Multan has lost its royal citadel, as it was largely destroyed by the British in 1848, which negatively impacted the urban fabric of the city.
A distinct Multani style of architecture began taking root in the 14th century with the establishment of funerary monuments, and is characterized by large brick walls reinforced by wooden anchors, with inward sloping roofs. Funerary architecture is also reflected in the city’s residential quarters, which also display elements of Multani mausoleums.
The nearest major cities are Dera Ghazi Khan and Bahawalpur. Multan is located in a bend created by five rivers of central Pakistan. The Sutlej River separates it from Bahawalpur and the Chenab River from Muzaffar Garh. The area around the city is a flat, alluvial plain that is used for citrus and mango farms.
Multan features an arid climate with very hot summers and mild winters.