Remnants of the Qutb Shahi and Nizam eras are visible in many parts of the old city of Hyderabad and its surroundings. Hyderabad at a point in its history was a cultural hub, a renowned pearl and diamond trading centre, and the city attracted scholars from different parts of the world. Today Hyderabad continues to be known as the 'City of Pearls'.
Built in 1591 in the Indo-Islamic style of architecture with granite, limestone,mortar and crushed marble, the Charminar has become an icon synonymous with Hyderabad. It is among the most recognized structures in India, built at the center of the old city, at the intersection of the historical trade routes that connects the markets of Golconda with the port city of Masulipatnam to commemorate the eradication of an epidemic of plague.
The fort was first built by Kakatiya rulers as part of their western defences in on a granite hill surrounded by massive crenellated ramparts. Golkonda became the seat of the Qutb Shahi dynasty and over a period of time the mud fort was expanded into a massive fort of granite with semicircular bastions mounted with cannons. At the Fateh Darwaza (Victory Gate) a clap at a certain point below the dome at the entrance reverberates and can be heard clearly at the highest point in the fort almost a kilometre away as an alarm in the event of an attack. The fort also contains the tombs of the Qutub Shahi kings and an ingenious water supply system. The region surrounding the fort used to be renowned for the mines that produced some of the world's most famous diamonds - the Koh-i-Noor, Hope Diamond and the Nassak Diamond.
Laad Bazaar is a very old market, in existence since the time of the Qutb Shahis and later, the Nizams selling semi-precious stones, pearls and jewelry silverware, Nirmal and Kalamkari paintings, bidriware, lacquer bangles studded with stones, saris and hand woven silk, cotton, brocade, velvet and gold embroidered fabrics, traditional Khara Dupattas, lacquer bangles and traditionally concocted perfumes and lacquered glass bangles besides saris and cheap jewelry.
The largest market in the Old City, Begum Bazaar traces its origins from the time of the Qutb Shahis. Established on land gifted by Humda Begum ( the wife of Nizam Ali Khan Nizamul Mulk) to the merchants of Hyderabad for trade and commerce, today it is a retail and wholesale hub for household commodities especially brassware.
Salar Jung Museum
In 1914, Salar Jung III, after having relinquished the post of Prime Minister to the Nizam of Hyderabad, devoted rest of his life to collecting art and literature.The museum is a trove of exquisite European, Asian and Far Eastern art and artefacts.
Husein Sagar Lake
Built and designed by Hazrat Hussain Shah Wali in 1562 and named after him, the large lake is fed by River Musi. The road on the bund fringing the lake was widened in 1946 when Sir Mirza Ismail was the prime minister of Hyderabad and later fountains with dancing waters, tantalizing colored lights at night and bronze statues were added. A large monolith of the Buddha was erected in 1992 on an island in the middle of the lake.