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MUGHAL MONUMENTS

For over three centuries the Mughal dynasty produced some of the worlds greatest architecture.
Emerging originally from Afghanistan, the Mughals celebrated their victory over much of South Asia with an
aggressive building campaign. The result of this effort generated an architecture that not only harkened back to
their origins in Central Asia, but imaginatively conflated the architecture of the conquered Hindus with
architectural symbols of Islam. The following short list of few monuments was selected out of hundreds of
buildings in order to illustrate several important ideas. The assembled list not only demonstrates key moments in
Mughal history, but, as will be seen from the diversity of their programs and time periods that they represent,
allows for a broad consideration of Mughal culture and historythrough its architecture.
Humayuns Tomb at Delhi, India (1560 70)

Humayun's tomb (Maqbara e Humayun) is the tomb of the Mughal Emperor Humayun in Delhi, India. The
tomb was commissioned by Humayun's first wife and chief consort, Empress Bega Begum (also known as Haji
Begum), in 1569-70, and designed by Mirak Mirza Ghiyas, a Persian architect chosen by her. It was the first
garden-tomb on the Indian subcontinent, and is located in Nizamuddin East, Delhi, India, close to the Dina-
panah Citadel, also known as Purana Qila (Old Fort), that Humayun founded in 1533. It was also the first structure
to use red sandstone at such a scale. The tomb was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993.

Fatehpur Sikri at Agra District of Uttar Pradesh, India (1571-85)

Fatehpur Sikri is a city that was founded in the year 1569 by the Mughal Emperor Akbar the Great, and
served as the capital of the Mughal Empire from 1571 to 1585, when it was abandoned. After his military victories
over Chittor and Ranthambore, Akbar decided to shift his capital from Agra to a new location 23 miles (37 km)
south-west, to honour the Sufi saint and Salim Chishti. Here, he commenced the construction of a planned walled
city, which took the next fifteen years in planning and construction, with a series of royal palaces, harem, courts, a
mosque, private quarters and other utility buildings. He named the city Fatehabad, with Fateh, a word of Arabic
origin in Persian, meaning "victorious." It was later called Fatehpur Sikri. It is at Fatehpur Sikri that the legends of
Akbar and his famed courtiers, the nine jewels or Navaratnas, were born. Fatehpur Sikri is one of the best
preserved examples of Mughal architecture in India.
Taj Mahal Complex at Agra, India (1631-53)

Encompassing about seventeen hectares, this walled garden-tomb complex on the Yamuna River includes
a mosque, guest house, gates and, most famously, the mausoleum of Mumtaz Mahal, considered the greatest
architectural achievement of the Indo-Islamic world. Constructed in white marble with pietra dura inlay, it rises
above the garden over a reflecting pool.

The Taj Mahal (meaning Crown of the Palace) is an ivory-white marble mausoleum on the south bank of
the Yamuna river in the Indian city of Agra. It was commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor, Shah
Jahan (reigned from 1628 to 1658), to house the tomb of his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. The tomb is the
centrepiece of a 17-hectare (42-acre) complex. Construction of the mausoleum was essentially completed in 1643
but work continued on other phases of the project for another 10 years. The construction project employed some
20,000 artisans under the guidance of a board of architects led by the court architect to the emperor, Ustad
Ahmad Lahauri. The Taj Mahal was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. Described by Nobel
laureate Rabindranath Tagore as "the tear-drop on the cheek of time", it is regarded by many as the best example
of Mughal architecture and a symbol of India's rich history. The Taj Mahal attracts 78 million visitors a year. In
2007, it was declared a winner of the New 7 Wonders of the World (20002007) initiative.

Jama Masjid at Delhi, India (1644-58)

The Masjid-i Jahn-Num (World-reflecting Mosque), commonly known as the Jama Masjid of Delhi, is
one of the largest mosques in India. It was built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan between 1644 and 1656, and
was inaugurated by an imam from Bukhara, present-day Uzbekistan. The mosque was completed in 1656 AD with
three great gates, four towers and two 40 m high minarets constructed of strips of red sandstone and
white marble. The courtyard can accommodate more than 25,000 persons. There are three domes on the terrace
which are flanked by the two minarets. On the floor, a total of 899 black borders are marked for worshippers. The
architectural plan of Badshahi Masjid, built by Shah Jahan's son Aurangzeb at Lahore, Pakistan, is similar to the
Jama Masjid, Delhi.