Old City (Hyderabad, India)

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Not to be confused with Hyderabad district, India.
Old City, Hyderabad
ఓల్డ్ సిటీ హైదరాబాద్
پرانے شہر حیدرآباد
400-year-old Makkah Masjid of Hyderabad (1885)
400-year-old Makkah Masjid of Hyderabad (1885)
Nickname(s): City of Pearls, City of Minars,[1] City of Lakes[2]
Old City, Hyderabad is located in Telangana
Old City, Hyderabad
Old City, Hyderabad
Location in Telangana, India
Coordinates: 17°21′58″N 78°28′34″E / 17.366°N 78.476°E / 17.366; 78.476Coordinates: 17°21′58″N 78°28′34″E / 17.366°N 78.476°E / 17.366; 78.476
Country  India
State Telangana
Region Deccan
Founded 1592
 • Body GHMC, HMDA
 • Mayor Bonthu Rammohan
 • Commissioner M. Mahender Reddy, IPS
 • Member of Parliament Asaduddin Owaisi
 • Total 260 km2 (100 sq mi)
Elevation 536 m (1,759 ft)
 • Official Telugu, Urdu
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
PIN 500 xxx
Telephone code 91–40, 08413, 08414, 08415, 08418, 08453
Vehicle registration TS 07,08,09, 10, 11, 12, 13, 22, 23, 24
Planning agency GHMC, Quli Qutub Shah Urban Development Authority
Climate Aw (Köppen)
Precipitation 603 millimetres (23.7 in)
Avg. annual temperature 26.0 °C (78.8 °F)
Avg. summer temperature 35.9 °C (96.6 °F)
Avg. winter temperature 23.5 °C (74.3 °F)
Website www.ghmc.gov.in

The Old City, Hyderabad is a walled city of Hyderabad, Telangana, India, located on the banks of the Musi River built by Qutb Shahi sultan Muhammed Quli Qutb Shah in 1591 AD. It remained the royal seat of the Nizam of Hyderabad until the end of the reign of the last Nizam, Osman Ali Khan, Asaf Jah VII (r. 1911–1948). Named after Hyder Mahal, wife of the ruler Muhammed Quli Qutb Shah, Hyderabad takes pride in its possession of magnificent antiquated structures, domical mosques, and monuments (r. 1580–1611).[3] Once a vibrant city teeming with palatial mansions of Nawabs and mosques, the old city of Hyderabad today is a little crowded but remains the symbolic heart of cosmopolitan Hyderabad along with HITEC City.[4][5][6] The old city of Hyderabad a tourist hot spot, and the heart of Hyderabadi Muslim culture.


The old city is one of the main places where the Urdu language spoken and the official language of the Hyderabad State under the Nizams in 1884 AD.[7] The large Muslim population primarily speak a dialect of Urdu known as Dakkhani or Deccani (meaning "language of the Deccan"). Urdu is also widely spoken and understood.Telugu is also spoken and could be understood and is also an official language


Charminar at Old City

As the historical region of Hyderabad, the old city contains many landmark buildings including, Charminar (literally "Four minarets"), a structure built on the spot where Quli Qutb Shah prayed for the end to a plague epidemic.

The Mecca Masjid (mosque), situated to the southwest of Charminar, is one of the oldest mosques in India. Begun by Muhammed Quli Qutub in 1617 under the supervision of Mir Faizullah Baig and Rangaiah Choudhary, it was later completed during Mughal emperor Aurangzeb in 1694. The mosque is built of granite and has a main hall 75 feet (23 m) high, 220 feet (67 m) wide and 180 feet (55 m) long, big enough to accommodate ten thousand worshippers at a time. The entrance arches are made of single slabs of granite. Muhammad Quli Qutub Shah commissioned bricks to be made from soil brought from Mecca and used them in the central arch and construction of the mosque, hence its name.[8][9][10] Other mosques in the region include the 300-year-old Toli Masjid renowned for its architecture, and Pahaday Sharif, where 400 stairs brings visitors to a place of worship built by the Nizams.

The Golconda Fort was the Seat of the Qutb Shahi kingdom and in the 15th century the centre of a flourishing diamond trade.

Chowmahalla Palace was the seat of the Asaf Jahi dynasty where the Nizam entertained his official guests and royal visitors.

Falaknuma Palace

Built by Nawab Viqar al-Umra in 1872, Falaknuma Palace is noted for its architecture and is the most opulent of the Nizam's palaces. The interior features works by Florentine sculptors and a 100-seat Dining Table.

The Purani Haveli was originally the palace of the Nizam's Parents, later renovated to become the quarters of the Nizam's son. It is a U-shaped complex with a single-story building in the European style.

The Salar Jung Museum is reputed to contain the world’s largest one-man collection

H.E.H The Nizam Museum, Purani Haveli. Home to the famous wardrobe of Mahbub Ali Pasha, who is said never to have worn the same thing twice, it is the world's longest wardrobe, built in two levels with a hand-cranked wooden lift. The device occupies the entire length of one wing of the palace.

The Salar Jung Museum contains the since augmented collections of the former Prime Ministers of Hyderabad. The museum is reputed to be the world’s largest one-man collection.[11]

The Tombs and Mosques of Qutb Shahi Tombs are the resting place of Qutub Shahi Sultans, while the Paigah Tombs contain 'Paigah' nobles (tied by blood and marriage to the Nizams) and are about 200 years old. These unique lime and mortar tombs are intricately carved and feature marble inlay work.

Michel Joachim Marie Raymond, a French mercenary, is interred in the Raymond's Tomb. He was a military commander in the service of the second Nizam during 1786 AD and also his close friend. The black granite tomb is located in Saroornagar, and offers a panoramic view of the area.

Hyderabad is built around the Mir Alam Tank, the largest lake in the old city and the site of the Nehru Zoological Park, an 300 acres (1.2 km2) area filled with various species of birds and animals. The tank is named after its builder Mir Alam, Prime Minister of Hyderabad between 1804 and 1808, and comprises a one-mile bund with 21 semi-circular arches.[12]
Madina, near Charminar, is one of the oldest commercial suburbs in the city opened in 1947 on the premises of the Aladdin Wakf. Before the discovery of oil in that country, Hyderabad was richer than Saudi Arabia and the rents received from the area's buildings were sent to Saudi Arabia to help poor Muslims in Medina.
Osman Sagar is a small dam built by the Nizams to provide drinking water and to check the floodwaters of the Musi River. An artificial lake off the river Musi.[clarification needed What is?] The site also has well-kept gardens and swimming pools.[4]


Built during the period of the last Nizam, Mir Osman Ali Khan, the Osmania University has an imposing facade. After the Independence of India, the city has seen a rapid growth in educational institutions, providing many facilities for their students. It also has a number of engineering colleges with proper facilities for the students.


The old city has many restaurants offering Hyderabadi cuisine which is noted for its use of spices and herbs. The food is prepared using different types of spices, in which each spice adds a special taste to the food with a modern touch, while preserving the traditional quality of the food. The most famous dishes of Hyderabad is Hyderabadi Biryani and Hyderabadi Haleem, which are served with great delight. Pista House, Shah Ghouse cafe are popularly known for Haleem


Old Hyderabad City is 65% Muslim majority.[13] 30% are Hindus.[14] As per 2011 Census, christians number 9,687 while Sikhs number 7,166 in Old Hyderabad City.[15] The overall population of Hyderabad district is 39.43 lakhs, where Hindus are 20.46 lakhs (51.89%) and Muslims are 17.13 lakhs (43.35%).[16][17]


The old city is well connected by railway, road, and air. Auto rickshaws are available for getting around the city at reasonable rates while TSRTC city buses circulate within the city and also travel to the nearby towns and villages. Mahatma Gandhi Bus Station is in Old City, Hyderabad and the nearest railway station is Hyderabad Deccan Station, which offers good connections with the rest of India. The newly developed Shamshabad Rajiv Gandhi International Airport lies 6 to 8 kilometres (3.7 to 5.0 mi) from the old city.

Madina near Charminar


Sarojini Naidu describes the Bazaars of Hyderabad in her poem In The Bazaars of Hyderabad.[18] Hyderabad has been a trading center for centuries and the bazaars of the old city are world-renowned for their pearls, diamonds, and bangles.

A store at Laad Bazaar selling bangles and jewellery. The Laadbazar and the Charminar market area are well known for pearls.

The street leading from Charminar to the square on the west is known as Laad Bazaar and is the bridalwear shopping market of the old city. Hyderabadi glass bangles known as Sona Bai are available here. This colourful shopping market of the old city is tucked away in one of the streets leading off from the Charminar. Bangles, bridalwear, pearls, Attar (perfume) and the traditional Hyderabadi glass and stone studded bangles are all sold here.[19][20][21] The Madina Market also known as Madina, Hyderabad is known for its wholesale cloth market providing goods from the regions of Telangana, northern Karnataka, and Maharashtra.[22]

The markets of Charminar's Gulzar House are favoured for the gold, diamonds, and pearls with which Hyderabad is synonymous. Cultured pearls studded in gold and silver jewellery of intricate design are a speciality. Pearls come in many shapes and of particular interest is the ‘rice-pearl’ – a tiny variety. There is also the precious "Basra"; a pearl unmatched in lustre, color, and price which is available in select stores. The pearls are sold in strings or raw by weight.[23]


The city has a distinct culture showing Islamic influences and a courtly presence resulting from its period as the capital of the Nizams, which is more evident in the old city.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ababu Minda Yimene (2004). An African Indian community in Hyderabad: Siddi identity, its maintenance. cuvillier verlag. p. 1. ISBN 3-86537-206-6. Retrieved 5 October 2011. 
  2. ^ Rubén Camilo Lois González (2006). Urban changes in different scales: systems and structures. University Santiago de Compostela. p. 611. ISBN 84-9750-639-1. Retrieved 5 October 2011. 
  3. ^ The Old City: Hyderabad, India
  4. ^ a b "The Old City". Hyderabad, India. Retrieved 9 June 2011. 
  5. ^ 585 Rani Sarma, Diwan Deodi
  6. ^ "Hyderabad: Colossal Gloss in City of Boom". 
  7. ^ 585 Narendra Luther, Bridging two cultures Archived 24 November 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ Mecca Masjid Hyderabad - Mecca Masjid in Hyderabad India - Mecca Masjid of Hyderabad
  9. ^ :: Information on Hyderabad City::
  10. ^ Hyderabad flights, holidays, hotels, car rental - British Airways
  11. ^ "The glorious city of Hyderabad » Extraordinary Experiences". Experienceindiatravel.com. 18 February 2009. Retrieved 9 June 2011. 
  12. ^ "Mir Alam Tank Hyderabad – Mir Alam Tank in Hyderabad India – Tour to Mir Alam Tank of Hyderabad". Hyderabad.org.uk. Retrieved 9 June 2011. 
  13. ^ "The Hyderabad Lok Sabha, with all of seven assembly segments, has an electorate of which 65 per cent belong to the minorities—Muslims chiefly.". 
  14. ^ "In Hyderabad, a tale of two cities". 
  15. ^ "Christians third largest community in Old City after Muslims, Hindus". 
  16. ^ "'Muslim population 'stabilizing' in Hyderabad'". 
  17. ^ "Christian women outnumber men: study". 
  18. ^ "In The Bazaars of Hyderabad: English Poems: English Poems for Kids". English-for-students.com. Retrieved 9 June 2011. 
  19. ^ "Hyderabad on the Net: Other Attractions". Hyderabad.co.uk. Retrieved 9 June 2011. 
  20. ^ "Lad Bazar..the bangle market near Charminar". Hyderabadspider.com. 15 December 2009. Retrieved 9 June 2011. 
  21. ^ asiarooms.com. "Lad Bazar Hyderabad Shopping in Hyderabad India Shopping Malls in Hyderabad". Asiarooms.com. Retrieved 9 June 2011. 
  22. ^ "Top 10 Hyderabad Shopping Destinations – Hyderabad City Visitors Guide – Tourism". Hyderabadcityhotels.com. Retrieved 9 June 2011. 
  23. ^ "One Of The Greatest Jewellery Shop – Gold Jewelry,hyderabad,India Classifieds 5241052". Clickindia.com. Retrieved 9 June 2011. 

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