Bangladesh, a country known for its natural beauty, is also home to numerous historical World Heritage Sites in Bangladesh.
These majestic man-made monuments, along with its breathtaking landscapes and forests, offer a glimpse into the rich history and culture of the region. Many of these sites have earned the prestigious UNESCO World Heritage status, attracting visitors from all over the world. In this article, we will take you on a journey to discover the top 10 historical world heritage sites in Bangladesh.
1. Mahasthangarh, Bogra
Located 11 kilometers from Bogra, Mahasthangarh is one of the earliest archaeological structures discovered in Bangladesh. Dating back to the early 3rd century, this ancient city offers a fascinating insight into the lives of its inhabitants. The rectangular plan of the structure, known as the Citadel, covers an area of approximately 185 hectares. The city was in use until the 18th century when nature took over, transforming it into a picturesque green landscape. Visitors describe Mahasthangarh as an incredible historic place that provides a glimpse into the past.
2. Somapura Mahavira, Naogaon
Somapura Mahavira, also known as Paharpur Mahavihara, is a stunning monastery located in the Naogaon region. Built during the 8th century AD, this 80-feet tall structure was a center for Buddhist learning and meditation. The intricate design of the monastery, with its quadrangular shape and a traditional stupa in the center, is truly awe-inspiring. The site became a UNESCO World Heritage site in Bangladesh in 1985 and continues to attract tourists who seek peace and tranquility amidst its rich historical significance.
3. Shalban Vihara, Comilla
Shalban Vihara is a significant site within the Mainamati remnants in the Comilla district. This site was an important center for Buddhism from the 7th to the 12th century. The lodge-like structure, surrounded by barren land and forests, served as a place of accommodation for monks and spiritual scholars. Excavations have revealed a wealth of artifacts, including copper artwork and relics from that time. Shalban Vihara is not only a beautiful place but also one of the most essential Buddhist archaeological sites in Bangladesh.
4. Kotila Mura, Comilla
Located in Comilla Adarsho Sadar Upazila, Kotila Mura is one of the fifth spots between the Mainamati remains. Dating back to 600 AD, this historical site has a more traditional structure compared to other Mainamati ruins. Perched on top of a mound, the site consists of three spiritual elements – Dharma, Sangha, and the Buddha. Excavations have unearthed various artifacts, including a gold coin from the final Abbasid Caliph. Kotila Mura’s rich history and unique architectural style make it a popular tourist spot in Bangladesh.
5. Jagaddala Mahavihara
Jagaddala Mahavihara, located in the northern areas of Bangladesh, near the Jaggadala village, is the only vihara discovered and excavated in the country. Built during the 11th-12th century, this Buddhist monastery is an extensive mound representing the archaeological remains of a grand establishment. Terracotta plaques, ornamental bricks, nails, and stone images of deities have been discovered at the site. The unique architectural style and historical significance of Jagaddala Mahavihara make it a potential cultural nomination for the UNESCO World Heritage list.
6. Sixty Domes, Bagerhat
The Sixty Domes Mosque, also known as the Shait Gambuj Mosque or Saith Gunbad Masjid, is the largest mosque in Bangladesh. Constructed during the Sultanate period, this mesmerizing spiritual place features 77 low domes and 60 pillars that support the roof. The interior of the mosque is equally stunning, with identical archways stretching out to support the domes. Visitors describe the Sixty Domes Mosque as an architectural masterpiece that leaves a lasting impression.
7. The Lost City of Bagerhat
Located in the southwestern part of Bangladesh, where the Brahmaputra and Ganja rivers meet, the Lost City of Bagerhat is a historical marvel. Founded in the 15th century by Ulugh Khan Jahan, the city is made up of baked brick structures and ruins. This UNESCO World Heritage site comprises 360 places of worship, bridges, roads, and other man-made constructions. The city’s architectural beauty and Turkish influences make it a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts.
8. Lalbagh Fort, Dhaka
The Lalbagh Fort, situated on Lalbagh Road in Dhaka, is an unfinished masterpiece that offers a glimpse into Mughal architecture. Construction of the fort began in 1678 AD under the reign of Mughal emperor Azam Shah but was later completed by Mughal general Shaista Khan. The fort includes a place of worship, the tomb of Pari Bibi, and a residential quarter known as Diwan-i-Am. Legends and myths surround the fort, adding to its allure. The Lalbagh Fort is a testament to the rich history of Bangladesh.
9. Ahsan Manzil, Dhaka
Once a residential palace, Ahsan Manzil is now a national museum located along the banks of the River Buriganga in Dhaka. Built in 1859, this pink palace showcases the Indo-Saracenic architectural style. The palace has a fascinating history, with tales of love, tragedy, and intrigue. The museum houses significant artifacts that highlight the architectural evolution and history of Bangladesh. Ahsan Manzil is considered one of the most iconic historic buildings in the country.
10. The Sundarbans
The Sundarbans, meaning “beautiful forest,” is a mangrove forest spanning over 140,000 hectares. This UNESCO World Heritage site is famous for its unique ecosystem and being the home of the endangered Bengal Tigers. With its rivers, sea-water, and abundant wildlife, the Sundarbans offers a truly immersive experience in nature. The forest is also home to around 260 species of birds and the famous Indian Python. Despite the challenges of human and tiger conflicts, the Sundarbans remains a natural wonder and a testament to the importance of conservation.
Bangladesh is a treasure trove of historical heritage sites that offer a glimpse into its rich history and culture. From ancient archaeological structures to grand mosques and palaces, these sites attract visitors from around the world. Exploring these world heritage sites in Bangladesh is not only a journey through time but also an opportunity to appreciate the country’s natural beauty and architectural marvels. Whether you are a history enthusiast or a nature lover, Bangladesh has something to offer for everyone. Plan your visit today and embark on a remarkable journey through the historical wonders of Bangladesh.