Important Archaeological Sites

The cultural heritage of Bangladesh is substantiated in numerous vestiges of ancient periods as well as in remnants of pre-historic urban settlements and other magnificent monuments of different era spread all over the country. So far, 448 sites have been enlisted as national heritage. Notable heritage sites in Bangladesh include among other the following:

Pre-historic city in Wari-Batashar: The twin village Wari-Batashar in the district of Narsingdi dates back to 450 BC. According to archaeologists, Wari-Batashar was a commercial city represents the most ancient civilization in the region. Before the discovery of Wari-Batashar, it was widely held view that urbanization started much later in Bengal region. Excavation of the site has so far unearthed a road, a water reservoirs, small rooms, punched marked silver coins, earthen pots, iron artifacts, hand axes, semi-precious stone beads of early historic period.

Mahastangarh in Bogra: Earliest relics of the historic age are Mahasthangarh in northern district of Bogra district. Mahasthangarh was built as provincial capital in 3rd century BC by Pundra dynasty and the city continued flourishing during the successive ruling dynasties. The wide range of relics recovered from this site has been put on display at a museum in the site.

Sompur Bhuddhist Mahavihara at Paharpur: The most striking Buddhist monument is the colossal monastery at Paharpur known as Sompur Mahavihara in the northern district of Naogaon. This is the second largest single monastery in the south of the Himalayas. The Monastery was built the second king of Pala dynasty Dharmapala in the 8th century AD. According to Tibetan sources, Sompur Mahavihara in Paharpur was one of the five greatest Buddhist monasteries of ancient time. Sompur Mahavihara has been designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1985. Many other smaller monasteries and stupas have been exposed at in Dinajpur, Savar, and in the Lalmai-Mainamati hill range in Comilla.

Sixty-domed Mosque in Bagerhat: The majestic Sixty-domed mosque, popularly known as Shait-Gumbuj Masjid, is the southern district of Bagerhat is the largest mosque of the Sultanate period in the country of Sultanate period. The same is surrounded by many other mosques and tombs of same period(Bibi Begni Mosque, Khan Jahan’s tomb, Nine-domed Mosque, etc). The mosque, built by saint ruler Khan Jahan Ali in mid 15th century AD, has been designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Soto Sona Mosjid in Chapai Nawabganj: Soto Sona Mosjid (small golden mosque,) in the northern district of Chapai Nawabganj is another landmark monument of Sultanate period (built by Sultan Hussain Shah between 1493 to 1519). Stone carving, brick-setting, terracotta, gilding and glazed tiles were used in decorating the building.

Lalbagh Fort: The impressive Lalbagh Fort is a 17th century Mughal fort complex that still stands proudly in the bank of river Buriganga in Dhaka. Mughal Prince Muhammad Azam Shah, the third son of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, started the work of the fort in 1678 during this vice-royalty in Bengal and stayed in the fort for 15 months. The famous tomb of Pari Bibi, daughter of Shaista Khan who succeeded Prince Azam Khan, constitutes one of the three major components of the fort complex.

Ahsan Manjil Palace: It is one of the most significant architectural monuments of Bangladesh. The majestic palace was the residential palace and the seat of Dhaka Nawab family. It was built in the banks of the Buriganga river during the period from 1859 to 1872. Some portions of the palace complex were built earlier in the 18th century by the landlord of Jamalpur.

Curzon Hall of Dhaka University: It is a British colonial period building of majestic architectural design. The building was primarily intended for town hall and is named after Lord Curzon, the Viceroy of India who laid the foundation stone in 1904. After establishment of Dhaka University in 1921, it became the base of university’s science faculty.

Kantajew Mandir in Dinajpur: It is a late-medieval Hindu temple, built by Maharaja Pran Nath in the northern district of Dinajpur. Its construction started in 1704 and completed in 1722. It boasts one of the greatest example of terracotta architecture in Bangladesh.

Bangladesh national parliament complex in Dhaka: The national parliament building is a modern architectural splendour. The 200 acres complex, designed by Architect Luis Kahn, is one of the largest legislative complexes in the world. The building was featured prominently in the film ‘My Architect’ detailing the career and legacy of its architect, Luis Kahn. Author Robert McCarter has described the building as one of the most significant buildings of the twentieth century. The construction of the complex began in 1961 but completed in January 1982.

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