Lucknow is the capital and largest city of the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh and is also the administrative headquarters of the eponymous District and Division. 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. 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. Lucknow, along with Agra and Varanasi, is in the Uttar Pradesh Heritage Arc, a chain of survey triangulations created by the Government of Uttar Pradesh to boost tourism in the state. Lucknow is home to a number of prominent educational and research organisations. The major industries in the Lucknow urban agglomeration include aeronautics, automotives, machine tools, distillery chemicals, furniture and Chikan embroidery.
Lucknow is served by several railway stations in different parts of the city. The main long-distance railway station is Lucknow Railway Station located at Charbagh. It has an imposing structure built in 1923 and acts as the divisional headquarters of the Northern Railway division. Its neighbouring and second major long-distance railway station is Lucknow Junction railway station operated by the North Eastern Railway.
Direct air connections are available in Lucknow to New Delhi, Patna, Kolkata, Mumbai, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Chennai, Guwahati and other major cities via Chaudhary Charan Singh International Airport. The airport has been ranked the second best in the world in small airport category.