The region has rich historical heritage. Some of the salient heritage sites are Ashoka inscription stone at Siddapur of Bellary District, Buddist settlement sites at Sannathi, Gulbarga District, Edicts of Ashoka in the form of slab inscription at Sannathi and famous kingdoms ruled in this region are Rastrakootas at Malkhed, Kalyana Chalukya at Basava Kalyana, Vijayanagara Empire at Hampi (site at Hampi declared as World Heritage Monument), Bahamani Empire at Gulbarga and Sultanate at Bidar.
The region has a rich cultural heritage also. The very first known work in Kannada literature, 'Kaviraja Marga' was produced during 850 AD by Srivijay during the reign of the famous emperor, Nrupatunga. It was again around this time, Mahaveeracharya wrote his Mathematical works and Vijnaneshwara gave his Mitakshara Law, an epigraph, preserved in Martur village, 22 km from Gulbarga. The region has witnessed a profound revolutionary movement during 12th century led by Basaveshwara. It was a movement for social equality, dignity of manual labour and respect for women. The region also has produced famous poet, philosopher and founder of Carnatik music, Purandara Dasa under Vijaynagar Empire. Raichur district produced several poets philosophers in the Dasa tradition subsequently. The Madarasa established by Mohammad Gavan in Bidar acquired the status of a university in 14th century. Later Gulbarga became a bastion of the philosophical school of Sufism and produced a very eminent saint and scholar, Hazrat Khwaja Banda Nawaz in 15th century. Gulbarga has produced another famous saint, Shri Sharanabasaveshwara, in 19th century. The region thus has potential to recapture this intellectual leadership and Gulbarga University is trying its best to provide necessary stimulus and institutional support.
Ancient educational institutions in the form of Agraharas, Brahmapuri's Ghatikasthanas and Mathas existed in the region following traditional methods in teaching. Mathas were residential schools where the teacher and taught lived together. Agraharas and Brahmapuris were settlement of scholars and separate arrangements existed for holistic teaching. Ghatiaka was meant for conferring degrees or certifying scholarships. "Maha Agrahara Naqavavl" the ancient University of Nagai at Nagai (Nagavavi), Chitapur taluka was established during Rasthtrakuta and Chalukyas (993 AD). It is said about 250 students and six teachers and a Librarian (Saraswati Bhandari) were engaged in imparting education. During 1058 AD, this "Nagai Agrahara"was converted into 'Ghatika Sthana'.