Lucknow is the capital of the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh and is also the administrative headquarters of the eponymous District and Division. It is the largest city in Uttar Pradesh, the eleventh most populous city and the twelfth most populous urban agglomeration of India. Lucknow has always been known as a multicultural city that flourished as a North Indian cultural and artistic hub, and the seat of power of Nawabs in the 18th and 19th centuries. It continues to be an important centre of governance, administration, education, commerce, aerospace, finance, pharmaceuticals, technology, design, culture, tourism, music and poetry.
The city stands at an elevation of approximately 123 metres (404 ft) above sea level. Lucknow district covers an area of 2,528 square kilometres (976 sq mi). Bounded on the east by Barabanki, on the west by Unnao, on the south by Raebareli and in the north by Sitapur and Hardoi, Lucknow sits on the northwestern shore of the Gomti River. Hindi is the main language of the city and Urdu is also widely spoken. Lucknow is the centre of Shia Islam in India with the highest Shia Muslim population in India.
Historically, the capital of Awadh was controlled by the Delhi Sultanate which then came under Mughal rule. It was later transferred to the Nawabs of Awadh. In 1856, the British East India Company abolished local rule and took complete control of the city along with the rest of Awadh and, in 1857, transferred it to the British Raj. Along with the rest of India, Lucknow became independent from Britain on 15August 1947. It has been listed the 17th fastest growing city in India and 74th in world.