The country of Bangladesh is one that is dominated by water, with much of the nation lying at a very low altitude, and with a series of Himalayan rivers flowing through the country into the Bay of Bengal. The country itself has a varied history having changed hands a number of times between a variety of Empires, before its current borders were established in 1947 as East Pakistan, but the country gained liberation and independence in 1971. This varied history as a part of other nations has left a number of historical sites in the country, but many important historical areas have been lost due to the annual floods and cyclones that hit the country.
Somapura Grand Monastery
Dating from the eighth or ninth centuries, the Somapura Grand Monastery is one of the most important sites in Bangladesh, and would have been a part of a greater network of monasteries across the region. The site is made up of a large central shrine and would have been surrounded by a large number of cells for the monks to stay in. The inscriptions around the Monastery do date the monastery to the Pala Dynasty, and according to Tibetan records it was one of the five great monasteries and centers of Buddhist learning at the time.
Today the cells around the monastery are little more than ruins, but the large central shrine has been significantly excavated and lovingly restored, with many of the carvings exposed. Its importance in the greater Buddhist culture has led to the Somapura Monastery being recognized by UNESCO as a world heritage site.
Sixty Dome Mosque
The Sixty Dome Mosque lies in the district of Bagherat, and is one of the most important Islamic sites to be found in Bangladesh, dating from the fifteenth century. The mosque is formed of four circular towers at the four corners of the building, with the large number of domes making up the roof. The building itself actually has seventy seven domes, but it is believed the name may have originally been the Mosque of Sixty Pillars, which is an accurate description of the building.
The thick walls and the towers at each corner of the building may have been a sign that the mosque was built by a military man, and was one of the first Muslim outposts in the area.
This elaborate palace was the seat of the ruling family during the nineteenth and the start of the twentieth century, and is typical of Bangladeshi building as it lies on a raised platform. This is to deal with the potential flooding that can happen from the nearby BurigangaRiver, and also to provide a more prominent position.
Today Ahsan Manzil has been fully restored and is now home to the BangladeshNationalMuseum, and shows off the beautiful building along with many exhibitions tracing the history of this fledgling country.
This archaeological site is believed to be the oldest example of a settlement in Bangladesh, which has been dated to at least the third century BC, although many historians believe it is significantly older. This ancient city was the capital of Pundravardhana, and the citadel was at the very centre of the site. A number of discoveries including terracotta tiles, sculptures, pottery and coins have all been found in the excavations of the site.
Although there have been a number of mounds excavated on this archaeological site, there are many that are yet to be explored.
This fort dates from the seventeenth century, and is notable as it was never finished by Prince Muhammad Azam Shah who commissioned the building. The daughter of the successor to Prince Shah died at the site, and her tomb is to be found on this site. It is believed that he then abandoned building feeling that the site brought poor fortune.
Today the fort itself is a popular visitors site, and there is also the ornate tomb of Para Bibi is another of the features that attract people to the area. There is also a mosque and the ruins of the fortifications that were built around the fort itself.