The Taj Mahal

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The Taj Mahal is a group of buildings near Agra, India. The main and most familiar part of the complex is the white marble mausoleum that was commissioned by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of Mumtaz Mahal, his third wife, who died giving birth to their 14th child in 1631.

Thousands of workers constructed the domed mausoleum, beginning in 1632. More than 1,000 elephants transported building materials, among them marble and dozens of types of precious stones, from across Asia. Among the precioius stones inlaid during construction are amethyst, crystal, jade, lapis lazuli, and turquoise.

The mausoleum is a symmetrical building topped by a large dome and squared by four minarets, one at each corner.

Construction of the mausoleum was completed in 1648. Mahal, a Persian princess, is buried inside, as is Jahan himself. (He died in 1666, having been overthrown as emperor by his son and forced to live as a prison in a tower within site of the mausoleum for the last eight years of his life.) The surrounding buildings, including a mosque, and garden were finished in 1653.

UNESCO designated the Taj Mahal a world heritage site in 1983. It is a major tourist attraction, recording more than 3 million visits a year.

 

 

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