Islamic architecture’s most beautiful building, the Taj Mahal, is located on the southern shore of the Jumna Rive close to Agra in Northern India. This mighty mausoleum was built on the orders of the Mogul King, Shah Jehan, for his favorite wife.
Surrounding an inner core of stone, the Taj Mahal is mainly of brick construction encased in marble. The marble was transported from quarries about 300 km from Agra and in addition to its richly decorated precious white marble, red sandstone was also used for its massive main gateway. Floral reliefs, tendrils and other carefully created stone works adorn the building’s magnificent exterior.
On its walls there are artistic images taken from the Koran and there are also non-Islamic decorations that were designed by 17th century architects. The stunning Persian motifs of blossoms and plants consist partly of precious stones such as diamonds, garnet, sapphires and onyx.
In 1629, the wife of the Indian Mogul, Shah Jehan, died at the birth of her 14th child. In her memory, her husband promised to build a mighty monument, the result was the Taj Mahal. It was built between 1630 and 1653 and its Persian character is due to its first architect, Isa Afandi, who originated from Iran. Its onion-like cupolas were a real architectural achievement of their day and the symmetry of the building is truly remarkable.
A perfect example of Indo-Islamic architecture, the Taj Mahal is India’s most famous structure.
Global Treasures - History's Most Protected Monuments - Heritage is our legacy from the past, what we live today, and what we pass on to future generations. Our cultural and natural heritage are both irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration. Places as unique and diverse as the wilds of East Africa's Serengeti, the Pyramids of Egypt, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and the Baroque cathedrals of Latin America make up our world's heritage. Join us as we explore one of these protected monuments.