Agra is an ancient city, called Agrabana in the epic Mahabharata. Ptolemy marked Agra on a third-century map of the world. The Persian poet Salman described a twelfth century assault on Agra.
The city was fortified by Badal Singh ca 1475, whose Fort, Badalgarh stood near the site of the present Red Fort. Agra was a capital of the Lodi kingdom, defeated by the first Mughal Emperor, Babar. The Mughals also began to use it as a capital.
Agra's importance grew during the reigns of Akbar, Jehangir and Shah Jahan, and became a major center of art, culture, commerce and learning. These emperors undertook major building projects.
Agra's Taj Mahal is one of the most famous buildings in World Heritage Site. It is the mausoleum of Shah Jahan's favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal.
Agra's dominant structure and the the Agra Fort, also called the Red Fort, was rebuilt by Akbar in 1565. The red sandstone fort was renovated and converted into a palace during Shah Jahan's time, and reworked extensively with marble and pietra dura inlay. Notable buildings in the fort include the Pearl Mosque, the Diwan-e-Am and Diwan-e-Khas (halls of public and private audience), Jehangir's Palace, Khaas Mahal, Sheesh Mahal (mirrored palace), and Musamman Burj.