The 'Palmyra of the Deccan', as Bijapur is often referred to, was the capital of the Adil Shahi dynasty founded by Yusuf Khan, younger brother of the Sultan of Turkey, Muhammad. He founded the in 1490 and at the height of its power, Bijapur covered a huge tract of land in Central India extending as far as Goa and the West coast. In fact what is now called the city is only the core of a much larger settlement of over 48 km in circuit, of which the present city was merely the central fort.
Bijapur is strewn with monuments of historical significance as well as religious interest. Most of the monuments in Bijapur are representations of Islamic architecture. Most of the monuments of the period are credited to the Adil Shahi rulers. They are almost single-handedly responsible for the cultural legacy of Bijapur and the various works of architecture that abound in the city.
The most dominant architectural constructions are the various palaces or Mahals.Of notable significance is the fact that all these palaces are huge, lofty structures with intricate carvings and pillars. All the palaces have beautiful ceilings which are remarkably constructed and adorned. A few of the most noted mahals include the Asar Mahal, the Gagan Mahal, Anand Mahal, Saat manzli, Chini Mahal etc. Other kinds of historical monuments are also to be found here, such as the remains of the fort built by the Adil Shahis, Landa Kasab, Hathi Khana, Mehtar Mahal etc.
Bijapur being a chiefly Muslim society, a number of religious monuments of Islamic worship are also found here. The city is full of tombs, mosques and mausoleums, most of them constructed by the Muslim rulers who held sway here for centuries. By far the biggest draw of the city is the Gol Gumbaz- the mausoleum of Muhammad Adil Shah II. Built in typical Islamic architectural style, it is a grand and lofty affair with a huge dome occupying an area of almost 600 feet. Apart from this there are also a number of other tombs such as the tomb of Ali Adil Shah I, Ali Adil Shah II, the Ibrahim Rauza, the Sikander Rauza, Jor Gumbaz etc. Noted mosques include the Jami Masjid, Jhanjiri Mosque, Andu Masjid and Mecca Masjid among many others.
The monuments of Bijapur therefore rank high, both in number as well as significance. The Indo-Islamic architecture in Bijapur is resplendent in its beauty and a tribute to the rulers who built them, particularly the Adil Shahis under whom architectural prowess had reached its zenith.