Vijaya Nagara is in Bellary District, northern Karnataka. It is the name of the now-ruined capital city that surrounds modern-day Hampi, of the historic Vijayanagara empire which extended over the southern part of India.
In around 1500 Vijaynagar had 500,000 inhabitants, probably making it the second largest city in the world after Peking-Beijing and twice the size of Paris back then. The ruins are now a World Heritage Site.
The Vijayanagara empire was founded by(Harihara) and Bukka, also called the Sangama brothers. The empire consolidated under Harihara I and began to expand and prosper under Bukka Raya. Some time after its original establishment the capital was established at the more defensible and secure location of Vijayanagara on the south side of the river.
Contemporary descriptions depict a very large and highly developed metropolitan area: recent commentators say,
The city flourished between the 14th century and 16th century, during the height of the power of the Vijayanagar empire. During this time, the empire was often in conflict with the Muslim kingdoms which had become established in the northern Deccan, and which are often collectively termed the Deccan sultanates. In 1565, the empire's armies suffered a massive and catastrophic defeat at the hands of an alliance of the sultanates, and the capital was taken. The victorious Muslim armies then proceeded to raze, depopulate, and destroy the city and its Hindu temples and icons over a period of several months. Despite the empire continuing to exist thereafter during a slow decline, the original capital was not reoccupied or rebuilt. It has not been occupied since.
The buildings in the city are mostly built in the original native traditions of southern India, associated with the Hindu religion. Some of them show a certain amount of Islamic influence due the interaction with the Islamic kingdoms.