impression, Dhaka is a typically modern
Third World capital with wide boulevards
and cement-block towers, everything laid
out in orderly fashion but in rapid states
of decline. But on further investigation
you discover that Dhaka is an old and venerable
city in the true South Asian manner.
Dhaka's urban history is a reflection of
the changing fortunes of the sub-continent
as a whole. It was established by Buddhists
in the 4th century, later dominated by Hindus
and then fell into the hands of Muslim Mughal
rulers in the 13th century.
This was the start of the golden age of
Dhaka, when it became a great Mughal trading
port and finally the capital of Bengal in
Mughals built Dhaka into a magnificent city,
with a sultan's palace, dozens of ornate
mosques, covered markets, gardens and a
huge citadel to protect it from pirates
and foreign powers.
The Old City is a veritable labyrinth
of narrow streets and alleys, difficult
to find your way around without a guide.
Running along the waterfront is the Bund,
a bustling street that overflows with rickshaws
and vendors, sweaty workmen in white loincloths
humping goods up from the ghats, and eager
commuters rushing down to the ferry piers.
Central Shahid Minar
is something interesting around every corner.
Ahsan Manzil, the palace of the last Nawab
of Dhaka, stands just behind the waterfront.
It's now fully restored.
The last of the great caravanserai is Chotta
Katra. Istara Mosque with its unusual stellar
motifs is the most interesting of the Muslim
places of worship in the Old Town, while
the old Armenian Church is one of the few
remnants of the large community of Armenian
and Greek traders who settled Dhaka in the
late 18th century.
They weren't the only ones attracted by
the dazzle of Mughal Dhaka.
Portuguese, Dutch, British and French all
came here to trade during the 17th century,
establishing their own enclaves along the
waterfront. They tussled with one another
for the favour of the Mughals, but it was
the British who finally triumphed (as they
did in most of India) and took Dhaka as
their own in 1765.
the British an entirely new colonial city
was built to the north of what became the
Old Town. Great government buildings and
posh bungalows arose along the shaded avenues.
And Dhaka continued to prosper on trade,
this time as a conduit of raw commodities
from jute, sugar, tea and indigo plantations
established by British planters in the interior
of what was then Bengal province.
Ramna area — the old British part of Dhaka
— is still dominated by colonial buildings
with Greek columns and whitewashed facades.
This district is the artistic and intellectual
of the whole nation, where you find the
libraries, colleges, art galleries and the
Ahsan Monzil Museum
|| Lalbagh Fort
Fort : The Fort of Aurangabad,
popularity known as the Lalbagh Fort was
built in 1678 A.D. by Prince Mohammad Azam,
son of Mughal Emperor Aurangazeb who was
the then Viceroy of Bengal.
Suhrawardy Uddyan : Formerly
known as the Race Course, Suhrawardy Uddyan
is a popular park of the city. The Child
Education & Recreation park (Shishu
Park) is also located in a comer of this
National Poet's Graveyard : National poet
Kazi Nazrul Islam died on August 28, 1976
and was laid to rest here. The graveyard
is adjacent to the Dhaka University Mosque.
Armmanian Church (1781). St. Mary's Cathedral
at Ramna, Church of Bangladesh or former
St. Thomas Cathedral (1677) at Tejgaon.
Tourists can have a look (outside view only)
of Bangabhaban, the official residence of
Zoological Garden: Called
Mirpur Zoo, it is situated at Mirpur. 10
km. to northwest of Dhaka, on 230 acres
Minar: Symbol of Bang-ladeshi nationalism,
this was built to commemorate the martyrs
of historic Language Movement of 1952.
Garden: Built over an area of 205
acres of land at Mirpur, just east of the
Mirpur Zoo. Object of garden: botanical
education, research, preservation of plants
and some recreation.
1857 Memorial (Bahadur Shah Park):
Built to commemorate the martyrs of the
first liberation war (1857-59) against British
rule, It was here that the revolting sepoys
and their civil compatriots were publicly
Museum: Housed in an impressive
building the Museum contains a large number
of interesting collections including sculptures,
coins, paintings and inscriptions,
Green: Ramna Park is a vast stretch
of green ground surrounded by a serpentine
Art Gallery: Situated in the Shilpakala
Academy premises this has a representative
collection of folk art and paintings by
artists of Bangladesh.
Manzil Museum: Located on the bank
of river Buriganga in Dhaka. It is an example
of the nations rich cultural heritage. It
was the home of the Nawab of Dhaka and a
silent spectator to many events. Today's
renovated Ahsan Manzil is a monument of
immense historical beauty. It has 31 rooms
with a huge dome atop which can be seen
from miles around. It now has 23 galleries
in 31 rooms displaying portraits, furniture
and household articles and utensils used
by the Nawab.
Garden: Baldha Garden has rare
collection of botanical plants and flowers.
National Assembly Complex:
National Assembly Complex in Sher-e-Bangla
Nagar designed by the famous architect Louis
Kahn has distinctive architectural features.
Dhaka is better known as a city of mosques.The
number of mosques in Dhaka city—old and
new—would be more that one thousand.
The only surviving monument of the pre-Mughal
period in Dhaka is Binat Bibi's mosque (1457)
in Narinda. Other monuments of the Sultanate
period around Dhaka are the single-dome
Goaldi Mosque (1493-1519) and Mosque of
Fateh Shah at Mograpara (1484).
The earliest Mughal monument in Dhaka is
the Eidgah, an open field for Eid prayers,
located in Dhanmondi residential area.
One of the finest examples of Mughal mosque
architecture in the 17th century is the
three-domed Sat Gombuj mosque which appears
to be seven domed, hence the name sat which
means seven. Another typical example of
architecture is the three-domed mosque built
in 1679 and situated behind the old High
The mosque of Khan Mohamad Mridha located
closer to the northwest corner of the Lalbagh
fort was built in 1706. The only parallel
to Mridha's two-storyed mosque is the five-dome
Kartalab Khan's mosque at Begum Bazar near
the Central Jail. This mosque was between
1700 and 1704. It has a graceful two-sided
roofed, hut-shaped room along its northern
face, which, with its curvilinear eaves,
gives it a very distinctive look.
The Chowk Jame Mosque, according to an inscription
found on the building was built in
1676. Perhaps one of the best known and
frequently visited mosques in Dhaka is the
petite Star Mosque in Armanitola which has
an inlaid star pattern made of broken pieces
of china. It was built in the early 18th
Baitul Mukarram, the National Mosque in
the down town area is the forerunner of
a number of strikingly beautiful modern
mosques. It is modelled after the rectangular
shape of the holy Kaaba in Mecca.
Memorial: Located at Savar, in
the suburb of Dhaka city, is the National
Memorial. It was built to commemorate the
martyrs of the war of independence, Jahangirnagar
University and its sprawling campus is also
About 29 km. from Dhaka is one of the oldest
capitals of Bengal. It was the seat of Deva
dynasty until the 13th century. From this
period onward till the time of the advent
of the Mughals. Sonargaon was a subsidiary
capital of the Sultanate of Bengal.
Park: Situated at Rajendrapur,
40 km. due north of Dhaka within Joydevpur
Thana in the magnificent Bhawal region on
Dhaka-Trishal-Mymensingh Highway, this is
a vast (1,600 acres) national recreational
forest, ideal for those who love nature.
Wildlife Sanctuary : About
128 km. from Dhaka is Madhupur, an interesting
wildlife and game sanctuary of the country.
Cruise: During the dry winter months
river cruise is available. The cruise provide
an opportunity to have glimpse of riverine
Bangladesh and its lash green countryside.
(Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation (BPC),
the national tourism organization and The
Guide, a private tour operator runs regular
city sightseeing tours and river cruise).