The densely populated Bangladesh has had large and influential cities for millennia. The country is rich with interesting archaeological wonders, such as:
- Remnants of viharas – Buddhist shrines and monasteries. Here are located ruins of the largest Buddhist monastery in the Indian subcontinent – Somapura Mahavihara, with a 24 m tall pyramid.
- Ruins of ancient cities. Most of these landmarks are visually not too impressive but their history is: for example, Wari-Bateshwar ancient city could be the oldest city in Bengal region, it is approximately 2500 years old.
Not less interesting are the ancient Hindu temples and many local mosques which are very ornate.
Map with the described wonders
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Top 25 wonders of Bangladesh
Approximately 113 m tall waterfall, one of the tallest in the country.
Approximately 60 m tall waterfall in a picturesque location.
Harinmari mango tree (Thakurgaon mango tree)
Unusually large mango tree (Mangifera sp.), reportedly the largest in the world.
Somapura Mahavihara (Paharpur Vihara)
Ruins of an enormous (largest in the Indian subcontinent), spectacular Buddhist monastery. This monastery was built in the 8th century AD and was one of the great teaching centers in ancient India. Pyramid shaped stupa in the center of the building is 24 m tall. Valuable terracotta sculptures.
Ruins of the ancient capital of Pundravardhana. This city was founded in the 3rd century BC or earlier. Now remain impressive fortifications that were in the use until the 18th century AD as well as hundreds of mounds with remnants of ancient structures. The walls of the city enclose an area of 1,523 m by 1,371 m large. Ramparts are 11 – 13 m tall.
This large Buddhist monastery was built in the 7th century AD at the ancient capital of Devaparvata. Once an important center of Buddhist learning, now in ruins. In the vicinity are ruins of other ancient Buddhist monasteries.
Wari-Bateshwar ancient city
Remnants of an ancient fortified city that existed at 450 BC. This is the earliest known city in the Bengal region.
Group of megalithic burials – 25 menhirs and 32 dolmens (Jainteshvari Temple group, Changil series, Khasi Village series). Rather many are undamaged. These megaliths most likely were created by ancient Khassi around 1300 BC.
Remnants of Buddhist vihara that are up to 8 m high and 30 m wide. This shrine was built in the 8th century AD.
Ruins of one of the largest ancient cities south of the Himalayas. Approximately 1,500 years ago it was a city-state, an important trade port. Ruins include the possibly largest Buddhist Vihara in Bangladesh.
Sixty Dome Mosque
Unusual, very large mosque with 81 domes, one of the iconic buildings in Bangladesh. Constructed in 1442 – 1459.
Large palace in Indo-Saracenic Revival style, built in 1872 for the Dhaka Nawab family. Now the palace serves as a museum.
Mosque City of Bagerhat
Remnants of a historical city that was built in the 15th century. This site contains more than 50 valuable monuments of Islamic architecture, such as the Sixty Dome Mosque, the mausoleum of Khan Jahan, and others.
Beautiful Mughal fort – palace, built in 1678. Construction works were not finished.
Part of Sonargaon – the historical capital city. Panam City evolved in the late 19th century as a settlement of Hindu cloth merchants. The beautiful Eclecticism architecture of the city has been preserved although now it is mostly abandoned.
Gorgeous Hindu temple, built in the early 18th century. The ornate facade and other details represent one of the highest achievements in terracotta architecture.
Rose Garden Palace
Ornate mansion with garden, built in the late 19th century. Important historical place.
Jatiyo Sangsad Bhaban
Premises of the Parliament of Bangladesh, designed by Louis Kahn and built in 1982. Its design represents one of the most significant developments in the architecture over the last decades.
Puthia Temple Complex
The largest group of historical Hindu temples in the country, built in the 17th – 19th century. Some of the most beautiful are the elaborate terracotta temples: Pancharatna Gobinda Temple (middle of the 19th century), Bhubaneshwar Shiva Temple (1823) and others.
An ornate mosque, built in the 16th century. Structure is embellished with ornate stone carvings.
Mosque with 11 m wide dome, the largest in Bangladesh. Most likely built in the 15th century.
Large palace, built in the beginning of the 20th century for Maharaja Kumar Gopal Lal Roy. Now in the ornate premises of palace is located museum.
Well preserved Mughal fort, built in the 17th century. Fort has corner bastions for cannons.
Remains of Buddhist monastery not far from Somapura Mahavihara. Mound is 105 by 85 m large. Monastery was founded in the 11th – 12th century AD.
This updated guidebook, with a focus on responsible tourism, offers greater coverage than any other to the Chittagong Hill Tracts, and to the world’s largest mangrove forest at the Sundarbans. Personal insights guide travelers to aspects of the country almost unknown to visitors – dolphin and whale watching, winter bird-watching, and golden Bengal’s silk and archaeological highlights.
Bangladesh is a new name for an old land whose history is little known to the wider world. A country chiefly famous in the West for media images of poverty, underdevelopment, and natural disasters, Bangladesh did not exist as an independent state until 1971. Willem van Schendel’s history reveals the country’s vibrant, colorful past and its diverse culture as it navigates the extraordinary twists and turns that have created modern Bangladesh.