Historically, Bangladesh has earned its reputation for being at the crossroads of many cultures. The ruins of magnificent cities and monuments left behind in various parts of the country by the vanishing dynasties of rulers still bear testimony to the richness of its cultural heritage. Scattered throughout the country are countless ancient monuments and antiquities that have survived the ravishes of natural calamities. Today they offer the visitors a glimpse into the history of this country and its rich heritage. Following is a bird's eye view of the historical places to visit in the various districts of the Bangladesh.
MOSQUES: Dhaka is known as the city of mosques and thus boasts of having several hundred mosques scattered all over the city. Most of these mosques are old and bear some history. But prominent among these are the Seven Domed Mosque (17 Century), Baitul Mukarram National Mosque, Star Mosque, (18th Century), Chawkbazar Mosque and Husaeni Dalan Mosque.
AHSAN MANJIL: Built in 1872 and standing on the river Buriganga, this stately building offers the visitors a feeling of the life-style of the Nawabs of Dhaka. Sometimes known as the Pink Palace, this building now houses a splendid museum.
Basically, it was the residence of the Nawabs. Nawab Abdul Gani renovated this building in the year 1872 and named it after his son Khaza Ahasanullah.
On the bank of river Buriganga in Dhaka the Pink majestic, Ahsan Manjil has been renovated and turned into a museum recently. It is an epitome of the nation's rich cultural heritage.
Todays renovated Ahsan Manjil 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 of traits, furniture and household articles and utensils used by the Nawab.
HINDU TEMPLES: Dhaka is not only famous for the growth of Muslim civilization as evidenced by the number of mosques. But the city bears witness to the existence of rich Hindu culture that flourished till the arrival in phases of the Muslim conquerors. Despite the destruction that ensues any conquest there is still evidence of Hindu history through the temples that not only bears historical interest but is still a place of worship and congregation amongst the Hindu population. Famous amongst these are Dhakeshwari Temple (11th Century) and Ramakrishna Mission.
CHURCHES: Many cultures and religions passed through the banks of river Buriganga and left its marks in the city of Dhaka. Christianity flourished in this city as well. And the ancient churches of various orders bear witness to the arrivals of the Christians from different parts of Europe. Prominent among these for historical site visit are the Armenian Temple (11 Century), St. Mary's Cathedral at Ramna, Church of Bangladesh or former Holy Rosary Church (1677 A.D.) Tejgaon.
LALBAGH FORT: The Muslim rulers were very fond of building forts as a symbol of strength and protection. The advent of Mughals saw the building of forts in this country. And in Dhaka Emperor Aurangazeb's son Mohammad Azam built the Lalbagh fort in 1678 A.D. The fort was the scene of bloody battle during the first war of independence (1857 A.D) when 260 sepoys stationed here backed by the people revolted against British forces. Outstanding among the monuments of the Lalbagh are the tomb of Pari Bibi, Lalbagh Mosque, Audience Hall and Hammam of Nawab Shaista Khan now housing a museum.
BUDDHIST MONASTERY: Dhaka's history is replete with secularism that is evident by the religious sites of the four main religions that co-exist in Bangladesh. Therefore, along with Muslim, Christian and Hindu settlers there were Buddhist population as well that landed at the bank of this city. And hence, a relic of their past can be witnessed at the Kamalapur Buddhist Monastery.
NATIONAL ASSEMBLY: Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban (Parliament House) at Sher-e-Bangla Nagar, designed, by the famous architect Louis I. Kahn, has distinctive architectural features. It may be called an architectural wonder of this region.
Paharpur is a small village 5 km west of Jamalganj in greater Rajshahi district. Here the ruins of the largest known monastery south of the Himalayas was excavated. This 7th century archaeological find covers an area of about 27 acres of land. The architecture of the pyramid-like cruciform temple has its similarity in the contemporary architecture of Southeast Asia, especially Myanmar and Java. A site-museum built in 1956-57 houses representative collection of objects recovered from Paharpur. The excavated objects are also preserved at the Varendra Research Museum at Rajshahi.
MAHASTHANGARH: Mahasthangarh the oldest archaeological site in Bangladesh, is on the western bank of the river Karotoa, 18 km north of Bogra town. It can easily be reached as it is on the Bogra-Rangpur highway. Several isolated mounds surround the fortified city-side, which is of great sanctity to the Hindus. Every year around mid April and once every twelve years in December, thousands of Hindu pilgrims gather at the site for a bathing ritual. A wide variety of antiquities, ranging from terracotta objects to old ornaments and coins can be seen at the site museum.
NAVARATNA TEMPLE: The most ornate among the mediaeval temples of Bangladesh is the one at Kantanagar near Dinajpur town. Built in 1752 under the patronage of Maharaja Pran Nath of Dinajpur, it was originally a Navaratna temple, crowded with four richly ornamental corner towers on two storeys and a central one over the third storey.
- TAJHAT RAJBARI: Tajhat is a historical place of Bangladesh, located near Lalbagh, Rangpur. It has a nice Jamidarbari(Palace) which in 2005 was turned into a museum. This museum is about 10 mins drive from Rangpur town, near Lalbagh. The Museum was inaugurated on March 20, 2005, by the Government of Bangladesh Minister for Cultural Affairs, Begum Selima Rahman and Secretary Mr. Mahmudul Masud. Dr. Alain Labrique of the Johns Hopkins University also made some invited remarks. The palace in Tajhat, commonly known as Tajhat Rajbari was built by Maharaja Kumar Gopal Lal Roy in the beginning of the 20th century. He was a descendent of a Hindu khatari who emigrated from Punjab. He was a jeweler by profession. It is believed that from the conspicuous appearance of his Taj or jeweledcrown his estate derived the name of Tajhat. From the name of his estate, the area is known as Tajhat. Tajrat Rajbari
- WORLD WAR CEMETERY: Second World War warrior’s graveyards are in this Cemetery. There are 755 graves in this graveyard of the great warriors who died d in world war from1939 to 1945 in Chittagong areas. In this well-preserved cemetery at a quiet and picturesque place within the city lie buried in eternal peace over 700 soldiers from British, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, India, Myanmar, East and West Africa, The Netherlands and Japan who laid down their lives on the Myanmar front during the World War II. Every year a number of tourists come here to visit this Cemetery. World War 2 Cemetery
60 DOME MOSQUE: Among the many surviving monuments of the Khan Jahan Ali style, undoubtedly the most magnificent and largest brick mosque in Bangladesh is the Shait Gombuj. It is situated in Bagerhat district. For outstanding architectural value. the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO inscribed Bagerhat in the World Heritage list and it got the status of the second World Heritage site in Bangladesh after Paharpur. As there were a great number of mosques, the Historian, a French monthly termed it a city of mosques. The earliest torchbearer of Islam in the south, Khan Jahan Ali came from Delhi to settle a Muslim colony in this swampland in the early-15th century AD. The natural beauty of the region had such an effect upon him that he spent the rest of his life there. History says that he constructed about 360 mosques and as many freshwater tanks, as well as palaces, mausoleums and other public buildings in a very short space of time.
MAINAMATI: About eight km west of Comilla, town lies a range of low hills known as Mainamati-Lalmai ridge which is dotted with more than 50 ancient Buddhist settlements from the 8th to the twelve century Ad. Almost at middle of the is Salvan Vihara of 115 cells built built around a spacious courtyard with a cruciform temple in the centre. About 5 km north of Salvan Vihara is Kutila Mura, which is a picturesque relic of a unique Buddhist establishment. Dharma and Shangha –are seen side side by side. Charpata Mura is an isolated small oblong shrine situated about 2.5 km northwest of the kutila Mura stupas. The Mainamati site museum has a rich and varied collection of plate, gold and silver coins and 12 century bronze object.