Fatehpur Sikri
India, Agra

The ancient city of Fatehpur Sikri is located in India, 37 km from Agra. The current ghost town in its heyday exceeded the splendor of many capitals of the world. The founder of the city is Emperor Akbar I, the grandson of the great Zahiruddin Babur, the first ruler of the Mughal empire. In 1569, Akbar I was at the zenith of glory and power, his wealth was infinite, power is unlimited. But the emperor had no children. A simple pilgrim went to Akbar to the holy Sufi Salim Chishti, who lived as a hermit in the small village of Sikri. The Sufi foretold the emperor the birth of three boys, and in 1569 his first son was born, the future emperor Jahangir. In the same year, near the village of Sikri, Akbar I began the construction of a magnificent city. To build the city, the emperor invited the best architects and builders who built the dream city of Akbar. In a short time, magnificent palaces, a fort, mosques, mausoleums and tombs, places for recreation and entertainment, pavilions and terraces decorated with openwork carvings and ornaments, with elaborate cornices and domes were erected on a deserted hill. Buildings and structures are built of red sandstone and marble. Fatehpur Sikri, the first city of the empire, built according to a unified plan and having a drainage and water supply system modern for that time, is an example of the famous Mughal architectural style based on a mixture of Muslim and Rajput architecture. After a campaign on Gujarat, which ended with the victory of Akbar I, the emperor named the city of Fatehpur Sikri, which means Victory City. It is surrounded by powerful stone walls with nine gates, the city itself is divided into two parts - the temple and residential. The residential part is called Daulat Khan, it housed the Royal Palace of Punch Mahal, pavilions for public and private receptions, a game yard, palaces of queens and a treasury. In the center of the courtyard is the square pond Anup Talao, in the middle of which there is a small island with a balustrade. Near the pond was the emperor’s personal bedchamber - Hwabgah (dream room). Here Akbar the Great loved to relax, his bed was placed on a pedestal located in the center of a huge hall filled with water. In the game yard, lined with square slabs, the emperor and the courtiers played a game somewhat reminiscent of chess. They say that the role of chess pieces was played by the most beautiful harem girls. In the pavilion Divan-i-Aam, the ruler received citizens and administered justice, the imperial throne, closed by richly embroidered screens, stood on a carved platform in the central aperture between the columns. Divan-i-Khas was intended to receive personal guests and advisers to the emperor, scholars and sages, musicians and poets. Badshahi-Darvaz Gate (Padishah Gate) led from the residential to the sacred part of the city, in which the Jama-Masjid mosque and the mausoleum of Salim Chishti were located. The mosque was built at the highest point of the city, it consists of three spacious rooms, covered with domes. The mausoleum of Salima Chishti is made of snow-white marble, the tombstone of a fortuneteller is set on a pedestal decorated with mosaics of black and yellow marble. The imperial front gate of Buland-Darvaz (Great Gate) was built in 1573, they have a front arch and many domes, their height is 54 meters. From 1571 to 1585, Fatehpur Sikri was the capital of the Mughal empire. In 1585, according to one version - due to the catastrophic lack of water in the city, according to another - due to the war with the Afghan tribes, Akbar I was forced to leave Fatehpur Sikri and move the capital to Lahore. With the departure of the inhabitants, life in the city stopped, and it quietly collapsed for more than 400 years. Even the poor did not settle in it due to lack of water. Once majestic buildings preserve the memory of past luxury and grandeur, only a small part of the city spared time. In 1986, Fatehpur Sikri was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in order to preserve this architectural and historical monument. Thousands of tourists from all over the world travel to Fatehpur Sikri to see a ghost town covered in legends and myths.

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