Rajasthan, India

Founded in 1156 by Rawal Jaisal, the Rajput city of Jaisalmer (pronounced jay'-sawl-meer') is located in the western Thar, the desert separating central India from Pakistan. In the 16th century an alliance was sealed with the Mughals, after centuries of conflict between native Hindu Rajputs and Muslim invaders, when the Rajput ruler married one of his daughters to Akbar. Later the city became a prosperous overland trading center, until the 19th century when trade shifted to sea ports like Bombay. The city is currently a tourist destination and military outpost.

This photo, taken by the shoreline of Gadi Sagar, illustrates why Jaisalmer is known as the "Golden City".