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The monument was built by Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah in 1591 to commemorate the eradication of plague, shortly after he had shifted his capital from Golkonda to what now is known as Hyderabad. Legends has it that the emperor Quli Qutb Shah prayed for the end of plague and took the vow to build a masjid on that very place. He ordered the construction of the masjid which became popular as Charminar because of its four characteristic minarets (possibly depicting the first four khalifs of Islam). The top floor of the four-storeyed structure has a masjid which has 45 covered prayer spaces and some open space to accommodate more people in Friday prayers.

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