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A maze of bazaars teeming with people, the old city has at its heart the Charminar, or Four Towers, a triumphal arch built at the centre of Mohammed Quli Shah’s city in 1591 to commemorate an epidemic of the plague. It features four graceful 56m-high minarets, housing spiral staircases to the upper storeys. The (now defunct) mosque on the roof is the oldest in Hyderabad. The yellowish colour of the building is due to a special stucco made of marble powder, gram and egg yolk.

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