Citation for Hyderabad

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"Hyderabad." In The Grove Encyclopedia of Islamic Art and Architecture. Ed. Jonathan M. Bloom, Sheila S. Blair. Oxford Islamic Studies Online. May 19, 2022. <>.


"Hyderabad." In The Grove Encyclopedia of Islamic Art and Architecture. , edited by Jonathan M. Bloom, Sheila S. Blair. Oxford Islamic Studies Online, (accessed May 19, 2022).


City in western Andhra Pradesh, India; established in 1591, it flourished especially after 1724. The original seat of the Qutb shahi dynasty was Golconda, but in 1591 Muhammad Quli (r. 1580–1612) shifted the capital c. 8 km east to the south bank of the River Musi. The new city was surrounded by bastioned walls, which have not survived. It was connected with the northern suburbs by four bridges, the first erected in 1593. Muhammad Quli was responsible for the royal and ceremonial structures that formed the original nucleus of Hyderabad. The Char Minar (“four minarets,” 1591), which stands at the intersection of two streets leading to the four quarters of the original city, has four lofty arched portals supporting an elevated mosque. Additional arched portals, fountains and squares defined the formal north–south axis of the city. Near the center, the Jami῾ Masjid (Friday Mosque; 1598) has a prayer chamber opening off a spacious paved court entered to one side. The mosque is notable for the fine stuccowork on the seven cusped arches of the façade and the accompanying inscriptions. Most of the palaces and buildings of this era have disappeared. An exception in the northern part of the old city is the Ashur Khana, still used for ceremonies during Muharram (the Shi῾a commemoration of the martyrdom of Husain). Muhammad Quli’s successor, Muhammad (r. 1612–26), began work on the Mecca Masjid, which eventually became the largest mosque in the city. ῾Abdullah (r. 1626–72) built the Toli Mosque. Many other Qutb Shahi mosques stand in the city and suburbs.

Under Mughal occupation from 1687 to 1724, buildings continued to be erected in Hyderabad, and several earlier structures were completed, notably the Mecca Mosque (1693). In 1724 the city once again became the headquarters of a ruling dynasty, the Asaf Shahis. These sultans, otherwise known as the Nizams of Hyderabad, became the most powerful in the Deccan. They were responsible for turning the city into a showpiece of wealth and influence. An enclosure containing the graves of a number of these rulers adjoins the Mecca Mosque. The Chaumahalla, situated immediately to the west of this mosque, was the principal headquarters of the Asaf Shahis, but other residences for the Nizams and their ministers were erected throughout the city and its garden suburbs.

European-style architecture was introduced in Hyderabad during the 18th century. Extensions to the Chaumahalla and other palaces made free use of Neo-classical colonnades and pediments. The British Residency, designed by Samuel Russell (fl. 1790–1810; son of the artist John Russell) of the Bengal Engineers, was completed in 1806 in a fully fledged Georgian style. The Falaknuma Palace (1872) was an imposing exercise in Neo-classicism inspired by the villas of Andrea Palladio (1508–80). Under the patronage of the Nizams, the city was provided with a handsome series of civic monuments. The High Court (1916), the Osmania General Hospital (1925) and the State Central Library, all overlooking the River Musi, were built in a revived Qutb Shahi style that adapted traditional modes to 20th-century needs.


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