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tanzirian Jul 2, 2007 12:23 AM

Dhaka, Bangladesh Architecture
Dhaka is the capital and largest city of Bangladesh. The following pictures were mostly compiled from across the web by forumers at Skyscrapercity, principally Tmac, who occasionally posts at this site too (I do not know the names of the original photographers). Over the course of the next week or two I hope to post info and pics about the main areas of Dhaka. For today I am only posting some pics of some of the more significant landmarks. Enjoy!

Lalbagh Fort (partial view)

Ahsan Manzil Museum

Dhaka University

Supreme Court

National Assembly (Parliament)

National Memorial Monument

Some history for those who are interested: Dhaka was founded as the capital of Mughal Bengal about 1608 and prospered as the focal point to a lucrative textiles trade and rich agricultural hinterland. In this period the city was probably one of the largest in the world. Shift of capital to Murshidabad in 1704 caused a decrease in importance but the city remained prosperous until destruction of textiles industry after advent of British rule in 1757. Thereafter, the city declined rapidly, with most of its Mughal era monuments falling into ruin and population decreasing to a fraction of its 17th century heyday. In the 19th cent. the city staged a modest recovery thanks to a boom in worldwide demand for jute, which was grown principally in Bengal. The city began to wake from its slumber when it once again, briefly, served as provincial capital (1905-1912), and with foundation of Dhaka University (1921), which quickly became one of the best in Asia at that time. End of British rule and partition of Bengal saw Dhaka become capital of East Pakistan (1947-1971). Although beautiful buildings were built during both British and Pakistani periods, they were times of economic stagnation and exploitation by the foreign rulers. Following a destructive liberation war, Dhaka finally became capital of a sovereign nation in 1971. The first two decades of this era were marked by political instability and slow development, but the pace of progress has gathered steam since the 1990s. Dhaka today is a booming, vibrant, and chaotic city which by all estimates will soon (once again) be one of the largest in the world.

tanzirian Jul 2, 2007 3:24 AM

Dhaka Highrises

Before the 1990s, Dhaka highrises were primarily concentrated in one area, Motijheel. Today the city is much more decentralized, with at least half a dozen or so important clusters of highrise offices. Taller buildings in Dhaka are typically 20 - 30 stories, with several dozen in this height range and several dozen more under construction. There are of course many more in the 10 - 20 st. range. Tallest current is 31 st.; tallest under construction is 37 st. More significant than individual height are the numbers and density of these buildings. Not so long ago, private homes were not uncommon, but nowadays high cost of land and high population density (Dhaka is second only to Hong Kong) makes highrise apartment living increasingly the middle class norm. The pic below is a general view across central Dhaka.

tanzirian Jul 3, 2007 12:04 AM

Dhaka Tour - Old Dhaka

Old Dhaka is southernmost part of the city, lying on the north bank of the Buriganga River. This was the extent of the city until 1905. With demand for new construction and low priority given to architectural conservation, not many of the city’s historic monuments survive. Among Mughal monuments, the Lalbagh Fort has been fairly well preserved, in addition to several mosques. Also from the Mughal period, a couple of formerly impressive caravanserais exist in a ruinous state. Besides mosques, there are a number of historic temples and churches. There are many beautiful and grand, but decaying, colonial era buildings, especially mansions. Of these, the Ahsan Manzil has been restored and serves as a museum.

Some images from around Old Dhaka:

Hussaini Dalan is the main worship site for the Shia community:

The Dhakeshwari Temple complex is the main worship shite for the Hindu community (this particular diety may be the origin of the name "Dhaka"). by Tanvir Mahtab, on Flickr

The Star Mosque (Tara Masjid) is the most notable example of a type of mosaic tile decoration that was once popular (the tiles date from the early 1900s, but the mosque is older): by Tanvir Mahtab, on Flickr

The Balda Gardens were built by a wealthy landlord...

... while the Rose Garden was built by a rival. by Tanvir Mahtab, on Flickr

Although the current city of Dhaka dates from the early 1600s, there were habitations in this area prior to that time. One wall of a mosque in the Old Dhaka dates from the 1400s, making it the oldest building in the city.

zawmyonaing Dec 3, 2007 1:20 PM

thanks for your photos of Bangladesh's historic buildings,Persian, colonial design to modern design .Your congress buildings is very artistic &to be impressive to your architecture.
Who is one of the famous architectural design creators or your country???

tanzirian Dec 6, 2007 4:50 AM

^^ Hello, thanks for your comments. In regard to your question, there aren't any famous architects today that I know of by name...but there are some real estate firms like Bashundhara, Concord, Unique etc who build many of the midrises going up today. Fazlur Rahman Khan, one of the important architectural engineers of the 20th cent, came from Bangladesh. He designed the cross bracing system of the John Hancock Tower in Chicago, the bundled tube structure of the Sears Tower, and suspended roof of the Jeddah Hajj Terminal. These basic engineering innovations have been used in many buildings especially highrises / skyscrapers.

Ayreonaut Dec 7, 2007 7:53 AM

Nice pictures, what is the population of the city?

tanzirian Dec 11, 2007 4:46 AM


Originally Posted by Ayreonaut (Post 3211731)
Nice pictures, what is the population of the city?

Approximately 15 million.

In the coming days and weeks, I will be posting some more collected photos of Dhaka, grouped by major area, so check back if interested :)

TheMeltyMan Dec 11, 2007 5:58 AM

Dhaka is huge. Its tough to tell how sprawling it is from these pics, but its on par with pretty much any of the supergiant Asian metropolises. Very unique architecture though.

Rico Rommheim Dec 11, 2007 6:21 AM

What an interestingly bizarre city! Very peculiar! :tup:

Ayreonaut Dec 11, 2007 9:39 AM

I figured it must be big, it's one of the densest countries in the world, I think its got around 200 million, but I'm not too sure of that.

Edit: Wiki says Bangladesh has 150 million

tanzirian Dec 14, 2007 4:56 AM

Dhaka Tour - Ramna (following posts)

The pics in this and next and few posts are of the Ramna area of Dhaka. Located north of the Old Town, Ramna is one of the most attractive areas of Dhaka IMO. This area was initially laid out when Dhaka briefly served as provincial capital of East Bengal (1905-1912) and more fully developed during the East Pakistan period. Today the area is home to some of the some of the most respected universities (Dhaka University, BUET, Dhaka Medical College), the Supreme Court, a number of important cultural institutions including the National Museum and Bangla Academy, Dhaka Sheraton (the first international standard luxury hotel when it opened in the 1960s as the Intercontinental) plus a number of important hospitals, parks, memorials, and HQs of a number of government organizations. Some older buildings from the Mughal and even pre-Mughal period can be found hidden away in some corners. As before, these pics were collected by several people at SSC - I do not know who the original photographers were.

tanzirian Dec 14, 2007 5:02 AM

Located in Ramna, the historic buildings of Dhaka University are in an attractive Indo-Saracenic style (pictured below, the Physics and Chemistry Departments; my parents worked in the second building): of Chemistry, University of Dhaka by Arephin Alfa, on Flickr

tanzirian Dec 14, 2007 5:05 AM

Some pictures of the Supreme Court complex, built in a Mughal-inspired aesthetic: Court of Bangladesh by Dipanjon Halder, on Flickr

tanzirian Dec 14, 2007 5:14 AM

Shaheed Minar is an important monument commemorating lives lost during a movement to keep Bengali as the official language. This monument was a rallying point for people in the build up to independence from Pakistan (photos by no n@me) :

tanzirian Dec 14, 2007 5:29 AM

Some images from around Ramna. The pictures show Bengali New Year's festivities (Pohela Boishakh, mid April).

The second pic is by Sajan 164. by Tanvir Mahtab, on Flickr

tanzirian Dec 14, 2007 6:11 AM

I consider Ramna to be the most walkable area of Dhaka. This area also has many attractive buildings, old and new.

The Nimtali Gate was built in the 1700s:

A partial side view of the Old High Court Building, which was actually built as the grand residence of the British governor of East Bengal and Assam:

Bangla Academy Building in Ramna (the Academy is the national authority for the Bengali language; it also hold's Dhaka's largest annual book fair):

The tomb and mosque complex of Khwaja Shahbaz dates from the 1600s (the tomb is pictured here):

Although Ramna as it exists today dates from the early 1900s, there are older buildings in this area, as pictured above. In fact Ramna has the oldest fully intact building in Dhaka, a mosque that pre-dates the Mughal period.

tanzirian Dec 19, 2007 5:38 AM

The north part of the Ramna area is home to the National Museum, two important hospitals, HQ of Bangladesh Radio, Intercontinental Hotel, etc. Going further north leads to the Kawran Bazar area which I will post on later.

The Intercontinental Hotel (pictured a few years ago as the Sheraton) was the first luxury hotel in the city when it opened in 1966. After a stint as the Sheraton, it is now in the process of reverting to the Intercontinental brand, after a major renovation. This picture is by sajjadnayan.

The National Museum features ancient sculptures from the Pala and Sena dynasties, paintings from highly regarded 20th century Bangladeshi artists like Zainul Abedin, and other exhibits. A new national museum building is currently being considered. National Museum by Tanvir Mahtab, on Flickr

Surrealplaces Jan 22, 2008 2:38 AM

Cool pics, especially the older buildings.

tanzirian Feb 4, 2008 5:23 AM

^^ Thanks.

Dhaka Tour - Motijheel

East of Ramna is Motijheel, developed from the 1950s as the first modern downtown of the city. Motijheel remained the main commercial center of the city until the 1990s, when areas further to the north became the main foci of development. Since then Motijheel has declined somewhat, and today isn't the most attractive area of town. However, there are still some important institutions headquartered here and there is some interesting modern architecture. Also, Motijheel is still home to Dhaka's current tallest building.

Bangabandhu National Stadium is the primary venue for soccer and track events in the city - pic by Bappsgallery.

Dhaka City Centre is currently the tallest building in the city (pic from Wikipedia): by Tanvir Mahtab, on Flickr

Passengers at Kamalapur Rail Station - the principal rail terminal in the city.

tanzirian Feb 5, 2008 4:03 AM

Motijheel area - Nagar Bhaban (ie City Hall, headquarters of the Dhaka City Corporation). IMO this is a very well designed post-modern structure. At some later point I'll post additional pictures of some of the architectural details.

Motijheel area - Rajuk Bhaban (headquarters of the Capital Development Authority; photo from Wikimedia). This was the tallest building in Dhaka when it was constructed in the 1950s, and has some nice Art Deco-ish elements.

Motijheel area - Bangabhaban (Bengal House), official residence of the President (photo by Dhaka Tribune). I find this to be a very elegant example of Mughal-inspired architecture (the Supreme Court building being another good example). Some of original structure dates from the colonial period, but the current styling is principally a product of the East Pakistan period. by Tanvir Mahtab, on Flickr

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