Old City of Ahmadabad

Victorian Gothic and Art Deco ensembles in Mumbai (World Heritage)

Victorian Gothic and Art Deco ensembles in Mumbai (World Heritage)

Two significant phases of city expansion transformed Mumbai (then still Bombay) in the 19th and 20th centuries from a formerly fortified trading outpost into a globally important trading center. The urban development and modernization of Mumbai over two centuries is reflected in several ensembles of public buildings that arose on the edge of the Oval Maidan Park. They were built in the 1880s, initially in the Victorian-Gothic style, and later – in the first half of the 20th century – in the Art Deco style. The Victorian buildings, for example with their balconies and verandas, also took up elements of Indian architecture. The Art Deco buildings are also a synthesis of European and Indian architecture. Their unique style is known as Indo-Déco.

94 buildings and a park: the UNESCO-awarded architectural ensembles in Victorian-Gothic and Art Deco styles are located in the south of Mumbai, around the Oval Maidan square.

This is a large urban green area where many Mumbai residents pursue their leisure activities, especially cricket. The Victorian-Gothic buildings from the 19th century are to the east of the square. They are mostly public buildings such as the Bombay High Court (the supreme court), the university with one of the landmarks of Mumbai, the clock tower Rajabai Tower, or the City Civil and Sessions Court.

Also very close to the Oval Maidan is the spectacular Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus station, formerly known as the Victoria Terminus. Its basic structure is Victorian-Gothic, which is also shown by the turrets and gargoyles. In addition, many traditional Indian elements can be seen on it, such as the cupolas in the style of Mughal architecture or the columns decorated with cobras and monkeys.

The 20th century Art Deco buildings flank the western section of the square and consist mainly of apartment buildings, offices and cinemas. Overall, they represent the largest collection of Art Deco buildings outside of the USA. The Art Deco and Victorian-Gothic ensembles are in stark contrast to one another. Together, however, they form an impressive testimony to the emergence of a new, rich Indian population from the 19th century onwards.

Victorian Gothic and Art Deco Ensembles in Mumbai: Facts

Official title: Victorian Gothic and Art Deco ensembles in Mumbai
Cultural monument: Ensemble of a total of 94 buildings in the historic city center of Mumbai, which features a combination of Victorian buildings from the 19th century and Art Deco buildings from the 20th century
Continent: Asia
Country: India
Location: Mumbai
Appointment: 2018
Meaning: Example of two important phases in Mumbai’s urban development and modernization in the 19th and 20th centuries

Old City of Ahmadabad (World Heritage)

According to oxfordastronomy, the metropolis of millions in northwest India is one of the largest cities in the country and the economic center of the state of Gujarat. The division into firmly delimited building blocks (»pols«) is characteristic of the partially enclosed old town. As almost self-sufficient small towns with narrow streets and busy bazaars, these originally represented self-governing neighborhoods of individual caste groups. In between there are numerous mosques and tombs from the founding period as well as important Hindu and Jain temples from later periods.

Old City of Ahmadabad: Facts

Official title: Old City of Ahmadabad
Cultural monument: The Islamic old town includes the fortified citadel Bhadra (1411) with the Ahmed Shah mosque (1411; built on the remains of a Hindu temple), the central Friday mosque Jama Masjid, one of the largest court mosques in the country (1524) with the domed mausoleum of the City founder Ahmed Shahs (1423-40), the tombs of the queens (1440), the Rani Sipari tomb (16th century), the Sidi Sayyid mosque (1515; magnificent arched windows), the three-part triumphal arch Tin Dawarza (15th century) Century) and the stepwell Dada Hari Wav (1501).
Continent: Asia
Country: India
Location: State of Gujarat, on the Sabarmati River
Appointment: 2017
Meaning: Example of an architectural style in which elements of Hindu and Islamic traditions merge

History of the city

Ahmadabad was founded in 1411 by the Muslim ruler of Gujarat, Sultan Ahmed Shah. After the conquest by Akbar’s troops (1572/73) it came under the rule of the Mughal Empire. The flourishing trading metropolis, widely known for its silk and brocade fabrics, was considered one of the most beautiful cities in India at the time. However, a period of decline followed under the late Mughals and the Hindu Marathas (from 1758). In 1818 the city became part of the British colonial empire and experienced an economic renaissance as a center for cloth weaving – which earned it the nickname »Manchester of the East«. Ahmedabad also made a name for itself in India’s struggle for independence. Mahatma Gandhi, the “father of the Indian nation”, organized his peaceful salt march against British colonial rule from here in 1930.

Old City of Ahmadabad