The Inner City of Surat is within two rings of the city walls. However, neither these walls nor the city gates exist today. Just a few remnants of the wall are seen. This area is tilled referred to as the walled city. It is designated as Central Zone, constituting 12 of the 38 wards of administrative purposes of the Surat Municipal Corporation. At present, the total municipal area is 326.52 sq. km, and the estimated population is 3.87 million. According to Census 2001, total population of Surat is 2.87 million. The Central Zone today covers 2.5% (8.18sq km) of the city’s area, but houses 10.6 %( 0.41 million) of the city’s population. It has a destiny of 50,444 persons per sq. km.
The city is urbanizing rapidly due to its flourishing textile industries and diamond cutting and trading businesses. Migration from outside the state is more than inter-district movement. Surat had been a flourishing port since 16th century. Trade with Europe, Africa, Ceylon, Arabia and Sumatra in cotton and silk cloth, silver, precious stone, indigo, opium and medical drugs led to affluence and cultural changes in the city.
Originally, Surat was a small village near the present Chowk Bazaar. It was mainly occupied by fisherman and Kharvas. Gradually, the village grew. Various groups began to come and settle there. Nanavat, Saudagarvad, Shahpor and Saiyyedpura started bustling with activity. Since the port attracted trades from all over the world, it was possible to exchange any kind of currency. Thus Nanavat derived its name ‘Nana’ means money and ‘vat’ means exchange.
MalekGopi contributed to the development of Surat. With this growth, different trades began to flourish. Surat’s fortunes turned in the 15th century.