- Built by Akbar as his capital about 26 miles west of Agra, Fatehpur Sikri is one of the most ambitious projects undertaken by the Mughals and perhaps the most notable architectural achievement of the dynasty next to the Taj Mahal.
- The city stands on a sandstone outcrop which runs in a north-east to south-west direction. It is surrounded by a bastioned wall enclosing an irregular area about 2 miles long and 1 mile broad.
- The city consists of an arrangement of broad terraces and courtyards around which are grouped numerous palaces and pavilions.
- A majority of the buildings are aligned at an angle to the north-east to south-west direction of the city to face north-south in order to align to the fixed orientation of the mosque.
- The main approach is from Agra, through the Agra Gate and a Naubat Khana which leads straight to the Diwan-i-Aam.
- The road then continues the Jami Masjid, thus arranging the structures in such a manner that the public areas are on the southern flank of the hill, while the private areas reserved for the Royal family and personages of importance are on the northern flank.
- Apart from the Jami Masjid, the structures in the city are for the most part trabeate, with some diversities in detailed treatment due to the different backgrounds of the artisans brought in from all parts of the vast empire.
- The dominant material used is red sandstone quarried on the spot.
- One of the earliest structures built on the site is the Stone-Cutters’ Masjid, a small mosque on the western crest of the hill that the workmen built for themselves.
- The buildings can be segregated into two classes, the religious and the secular, the former all being part of the complex comprising the Jami Masjid, its triumphal gateway and the tomb of Salim Chisti within its courtyard. The secular buildings are palaces, administrative buildings and miscellaneous structures.