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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Dhaka
ঢাকা
Capital and City
From top: 1. National Parliament, 2. Motijheel skyline, 3. Rose Garden Palace, 4. Khan Mohammad Mridha Mosque, 5. 'Rajoshik Bihar' sculpture in Ramna, 6. Supreme Court of Bangladesh, 7. RAJUK Bhaban, 8. Rickshaws on Dhaka Street, 9. Steamers and ferries on the Sadarghat, Dhaka Riverfront
Nickname(s): Rickshaw Capital of the World
Venice of the East
City of Mosques
Dhaka in Bangladesh

Dhaka in Bangladesh
Coordinates: 23°42′N 90°22′E / 23.700°N 90.367°E / 23.700; 90.367
Country Bangladesh
Division Dhaka Division
District Dhaka District
Establishment 1608 CE
Granted city status 1947
Government
 • Type City Corporation
 • Body DNCC and DSCC
 • DNCC Mayor Annisul Huq
 • DSCC Mayor Sayeed Khokon
Area[1][2]
 • Capital and City 306.38 km2 (118.29 sq mi)
Elevation[3] 4 m (13.12 ft)
Population (2011)[4][5]
 • Capital and City Increase8,906,039
 • Density 29,069/km2 (75,290/sq mi)
 • Metro[6][7] 18,898,000
 • Literacy rate[7] 74.6%
Demonym(s) Dhakaiya;
Dhakaite
Time zone BST (UTC+6)
Postal code 1000, 1100, 12xx, 13xx
National calling code +880
Calling code 02 [For Dhaka city only]
GDP PPP (2014) Increase$37 billion[8]
Police Dhaka Metropolitan Police
International airport Shahjalal International
ISO 3166-2 BD-13
Website Dhaka North City Corporation
Dhaka South City Corporation

Dhaka (Bengali: ঢাকা, pronounced [ɖʱaka]; /ˈdɑːkə/ DAH-kə or /ˈdækə/ DAK) is the capital and largest city of Bangladesh. The name of the city was spelled as Dacca, which was an anglicisation name until the current spelling was adopted in 1983 to match with Bengali pronunciation.[10] Located in an eponymous district and division, it lies along the east bank of the Buriganga River in the heart of the Bengal delta. The city is a microcosm of the entire country, with diverse religious and ethnic communities. Dhaka is the economic, cultural and political center of Bangladesh. It is a major financial center of South Asia. It is one of the world's most populated cities and within OIC countries, with a population of 17 million people in the Greater Dhaka Area.[5][11] It is also the 4th most densely populated city in the world.

At the height of its medieval glory, Dhaka was regarded as one of the wealthiest and most prosperous cities in the world.[12] It was the Mughal capital of Bengal.[13] The city's name was Jahangir Nagar (City of Jahangir) in the 17th century. It was central to the economy of Mughal Bengal, which generated 50% of Mughal GDP.[12] It was a cosmopolitan commercial center and the hub of the worldwide muslin and silk trade.

The Mughals decorated the city with well-laid out gardens, tombs, mosques, palaces and forts. Dhaka became known as the City of Mosques in Bengal.[13] It was also described as the Venice of the East.[14] The old city was home to various Eurasian merchant groups. The city hosted two important caravansaries of the subcontinent: the Bara Katra and Choto Katra, located on the riverfront of the Buriganga. Modern Dhaka developed from the late 20th century. Between 1905 and 1912, it was the capital of British Eastern Bengal and Assam..[15] In 1947, after ending of British rule, it became the administrative capital of the East Pakistan. It was declared as the legislative capital of Pakistan in 1962. In 1971, it became the capital of an independent Bangladesh.

Dhaka is home to most of the local business conglomerate. Many multinational companies also maintain offices in the city. Dhaka Stock Exchange is one of the largest in South Asia in terms of trading volume and market capitalization.[16] The city is home to a number of regional and international training and development organizations, such as permanent secretariat of BIMSTEC. The city has the largest number of cycle rickshaws and is known as the Rickshaw Capital of the World.

Etymology

The origins of the name for Dhaka are uncertain. Once dhak trees were very common in the area and the name may have originated from it. Alternatively, this name may refer to the hidden goddess Dhakeshwari, whose temple is located in the south-western part of the city.[17] Another popular theory states that Dhaka refers to a membranophone instrument, dhak which was played by order of Subahdar Islam Khan I during the inaugurating of the Bengal capital in 1610.[18]

Some references also say that it was derived from a Prakrit dialect called Dhaka Bhasa; or Dhakka, used in the Rajtarangini for a watch-station; or it is the same as Davaka, mentioned in the Allahabad pillar inscription of Samudragupta as an eastern frontier kingdom.[19] According to Rajatarangini written by a Kashmiri Brahman, Kalhana.[20] the region was originally known as Dhakka. The word Dhakka means watchtower. Bikrampur and Sonargaon—the earlier strongholds of Bengal rulers were situated nearby. So Dhaka was most likely used as the watchtower for the fortification purpose.[20]

History

Early history

 Ruins of Lalbagh Fort
Ruins of Lalbagh Fort
 A Bengali woman wearing muslin in Dhaka in 1789
A Bengali woman wearing muslin in Dhaka in 1789

The history of urban settlement in the area of modern-day Dhaka dates to the first millennium.[17] The region was part of the ancient district of Bikrampur, which was ruled by the Sena dynasty.[21] Under Islamic rule, it became part of the historic district of Sonargaon, the regional administrative hub of the Delhi and the Bengal Sultanates.[22] The Grand Trunk Road passed through the region, connecting it with North India, Central Asia and the southeastern port city of Chittagong.

Between 15th to 18th century

The Mughal Empire governed the region during the late 15th-18th century. Under Mughal rule, the Old City of Dhaka grew on the banks of the Buriganga River. Dhaka was proclaimed the capital of Mughal Bengal in 1608. Islam Khan Chishti was the first administrator of the city.[23] Khan named it "Jahangir Nagar" (City of Jahangir) in honour of the Emperor Jahangir. The name was dropped soon after the English conquered. The main expansion of the city took place under Mughal governor Shaista Khan. The city then measured 19 by 13 kilometres (11.8 by 8.1 mi), with a population of nearly one million.[24] Dhaka was one of the largest and most prosperous cities in South Asia.[25] It grew into a regional economic center during the 15th and 18th centuries, serving as a hub for Eurasian traders, including Bengalis, Marwaris, Gujaratis, Armenians, Arabs, Persians, Greeks, Dutchmen, Frenchmen, Englishmen and the Portuguese.[22][26][27] The city was a center of the worldwide muslin Colton and Jute industry, with 180,000 skilled weavers.[12] Mughal Bengal generated 68% of the Mughal Empire's GDP, which at the time constituted 29% of world GDP. Dhaka was the commercial capital of the empire.[12] The city had well-laid out gardens, monuments, mosques, temples, bazaars, churches and caravansaries. The Bara Katra was the largest caravansary. The riverbanks were dotted with tea houses and numerous stately mansions. Eurasian traders built neighborhoods in Farashganj (French Bazaar), Armanitola (Armenian Quarter) and Postogola (Portuguese Quarter).

British colonial period

With the defeat of the Nawab of Bengal at the Battle of Buxar in 1764, British East India company gained the right to collect taxes from the Mughal province of Bengal-Bihar. The city formally passed to the control of the British East India Company in 1793 and Dhaka got plugged into the imperial mercantile networks of the British Empire.[28] With the dawn of the Industrial Revolution in Great Britain, Dhaka became a leading centre of the jute trade, as Bengal accounted for the largest share of the world's jute production.[29]

 Dhaka, or Dacca, under British rule in 1861
Dhaka, or Dacca, under British rule in 1861

Dhaka suffered stagnation and decline began during the mid 19th-century. Its muslin industry was destroyed by high colonial taxation, restriction of trade and forced imports of British manufactured textiles. The city's weavers starved to death during Bengal famines.[12] The rise of the colonial capital Calcutta caused a sharp decline in the city's population. Dhaka became heavily impoverished. In 1824, an Anglican bishop described Dhaka as a city of magnificent ruins.[30] During the mutiny of 1857, the city witnessed revolts by the Bengal Army.[31] The British Indian rule was established following the mutiny. It bestowed privileges on the Dhaka Nawab Family, which dominated the city's political and social elite. The Dhaka Cantonment was established as a base for the British Indian Army. The British developed the modern city around Ramna, Shahbag Garden and Bahadur Shah Park. A modern civic water system was introduced in 1874.[32] The electricity supply began in 1901.[33]

 Ahsan Manzil was once the palace of the Dhaka Nawab Family; it is now a national museum
Ahsan Manzil was once the palace of the Dhaka Nawab Family; it is now a national museum

By the early-20th century, Dhaka projected itself as the standard bearer of Muslim minorities in British India; as opposed to the heavily Hindu-dominated city of Calcutta.[29] During the abortive Partition of Bengal in 1905, Dhaka became the short lived capital of Eastern Bengal and Assam. In 1906, the All India Muslim League was formed at the Ahsan Manzil, during a conference on liberal education hosted by Nawab Sir Khawja Salimullah. Bengal was reunited in 1911. The University of Dacca was established in 1921. DEVCO, a subsidiary of the Occtavian Steel Company, began widescale power distribution in 1930.[33]

Pakistan period

With the Partition of British India in 1947, Dhaka became the capital of East Pakistan. The city's population increased dramatically because of Muslim migration from across Bengal and other parts of the subcontinent, putting heavy strains on infrastructure.[34] Awami League was formed at the Rose Garden Palace in 1949 as the Bengali alternative to the domination of the Muslim League in Pakistan.[35] Growing political, cultural and economic rifts emerged between the two wings of the country. The Bengali Language Movement reached its peak in 1952.[36] Dhaka remained a center of revolutionary and political activity, as student activism and demands for autonomy increased. The Six point movement in 1966 was widely supported by the city's residents. The city had an influential press, with prominent newspapers like the Ittefaq and the Weekly Holiday. During the political and constitutional crisis in 1971, the military junta led by Yahya Khan refused to transfer power to the newly elected National Assembly, causing mass riots, civil disobedience and a movement for self-determination. On 7 March 1971, Awami League leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman addressed a massive public gathering at the Ramna Race Course Maidan in Dhaka, in which he warned of an independence struggle.[37][38] Subsequently, East Pakistan came under a non-co-operation movement against the Pakistani state. On Pakistan's Republic Day (23 March 1971), Bangladeshi flags were hoisted throughout Dhaka in a show of resistance.[39]

On 25 March 1971, the Pakistan Army launched military operations under Operation Searchlight against the population of East Pakistan.[40] Dhaka bore the brunt of the army's atrocities, witnessing a genocide and a campaign of widescale repression, with the arrest, torture and murder of the city's civilians, students, intelligentsia, political activists and religious minorities. The army faced mutinies from the East Pakistan Rifles and the Bengali police.[41] Large parts of the city were burnt and destroyed, including Hindu neighborhoods.[40] Much of the city's population was either displaced or forced to flee to the countryside.[42] In the ensuing Bangladesh War of Independence, the Bangladesh Forces launched regular guerrilla attacks and ambush operations against Pakistani forces. Dhaka was struck with numerous air raids by the Indian Air Force in December.[43] Dhaka witnessed the surrender of the west Pakistan forces by Bangladesh-India Allied Forces on 16 December 1971 with the surrender of Pakistan.[44]

After independence

The post-independence period witnessed rapid growth as Dhaka attracted migrant workers from across rural Bangladesh. In August 1975, Sheikh Mujib was assassinated in an internal coup d'état. There were further chaos and uprisings in November 1975. An actual military coup was undertaken on 24thMarch 1982 by the sitting Army chief of staff. In the 1980s, Bangladesh pioneered the formation of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and hosted its first summit in Dhaka.[45] A mass uprising in 1990 led to the removal of then Indian backed government and the return of parliamentary democracy. In the 1990s and 2000s, Dhaka experienced improved economic growth and the emergence of affluent business districts and satellite towns.[46]

Geography

Topography

 View of Dhaka from the International Space Station
View of Dhaka from the International Space Station

Dhaka is located in central Bangladesh at 23°42′N 90°22′E / 23.700°N 90.367°E / 23.700; 90.367, on the eastern banks of the Buriganga River. The city lies on the lower reaches of the Ganges Delta and covers a total area of 306.38 square kilometres (118.29 sq mi). Tropical vegetation and moist soils characterize the land, which is flat and close to sea level. This leaves Dhaka susceptible to flooding during the monsoon seasons owing to heavy rainfall and cyclones.[47] Dhaka District is bounded by the districts of Gazipur, Tangail, Munshiganj, Rajbari, Narayanganj, Manikganj.

Climate

Dhaka experiences a humid tropical climate most of the year. Under the Köppen climate classification, Dhaka has a tropical savanna climate. The city has a distinct monsoonal season, with an annual average temperature of 26 °C (79 °F) and monthly means varying between 19 °C (66 °F) in January and 29 °C (84 °F) in May.[48] Approximately 87% of the annual average rainfall of 2,123 millimetres (83.6 inches) occurs between May and October.[48] Increasing air and water pollution emanating from traffic congestion and industrial waste are serious problems affecting public health and the quality of life in the city.[49] Water bodies and wetlands around Dhaka are facing destruction as these are being filled up to construct multi-storied buildings and other real estate developments. Coupled with pollution, such erosion of natural habitats threatens to destroy much of the regional biodiversity.[49]

Parks and greenery

There are many parks within Dhaka city, including Ramna Park, Suhrawardy Udyan, Shishu Park, National Botanical Garden, Baldha Garden, Chandrima Uddan, Gulshan Park and Dhaka Zoo. There are lakes within city, such as Crescent lake, Dhanmondi lake, Baridhara-Gulshan lake, Banani lake, Uttara lake and Hatirjheel-Begunbari lake.

Hatirjheel-Begunbari, which was once a slum area, has turned into a new place of recreation for city dwellers. Hatirjheel covering 320 acres (129 ha) is transformed into a place of festivity at night but with serenity settling down. However, the parks and the recreation places are often crowded and lacks security and cleanliness aspects, which is yet one of the big issues.

Government

Capital city

As the capital of the People's Republic of Bangladesh, Dhaka is the home to numerous state and diplomatic institutions. The Bangabhaban is the official residence and workplace of the President of Bangladesh, who is the ceremonial head of state under the constitution. The National Parliament House is located in the modernist capital complex designed by Louis Kahn in Sher-e-Bangla Nagar. The Gonobhaban, the official residence of the Prime Minister, is situated on the north side of Parliament. The Prime Minister's Office is located in Tejgaon. Most ministries of the Government of Bangladesh are housed in the Bangladesh Secretariat.[53] The Supreme Court, the Dhaka High Court and the Foreign Ministry are located in the Ramna area. The Defence Ministry and the Ministry of Planning are located in Sher-e-Bangla Nagar.[53] The Armed Forces Division of Bangladesh Government and Bangladesh Armed Forces headquarters are located in Dhaka Cantonment.[53] Several important installations of Bangladesh Army are also situated in Dhaka and Mirpur Cantonments. Bangladesh Navy's principal administrative and logistics base BNS Haji Mohshin is located in Dhaka.[54] Bangladesh Air Force maintains the BAF Bangabandhu Air Base and BAF Khademul Bashar Air Base in Dhaka.[55]

Dhaka hosts 54 resident embassies and high commissions and numerous international organizations. Most diplomatic missions are located in Gulshan and Baridhara area of the city. The Agargaon area near Parliament is home to the country offices of the United Nations, the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and the Islamic Development Bank.

Civic administration

  • Dhaka City Corporation is a self-governing corporation which runs the affairs of the city. Dhaka municipality was founded on 1 August 1864,[56] and upgraded to "Metropolitan" status in 1978. In 1983 City Corporation was created to govern Dhaka.[57] Under new act in 1993, election was held in 1994 for the first elected Mayor of Dhaka.[58] In 2011, Dhaka City Corporation was split into two separate corporations – Dhaka North City Corporation and Dhaka South City Corporation for ensuring better civic facilities.[59] These two corporations are headed by two two mayor, who are elected by direct vote of the citizen for a 5-year period. Area within city corporations divided into several wards, which each have an elected commissioner. In total the city has 130 wards and 725 mohallas.
  • RAJUK is responsible for coordinating urban development in Greater Dhaka area.[60]
  • DMP is responsible for maintaining law & order within the metro area. It was established in 1976. DMP has 56 police stations as adminitrative units.[61][62]

Administrative agencies

Unlike other mega cities around the world, Dhaka is serviced by over two dozen government organizations under different ministries. Lack of co-ordination among them and centralization of all powers by the Government of Bangladesh, keeps the development and maintenance of the city in a chaotic situation.[63]

Agency Service Parent agency
Dhaka North City Corporation
Dhaka South City Corporation
Public service Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Co-operatives
 ∟ Local Government Division
Dhaka Metropolitan Police Law enforcement Ministry of Home Affairs
 ∟ Bangladesh Police
RAJUK Urban planning Ministry of Housing and Public Works
Dhaka Electric Supply Company Limited
Dhaka Power Distribution Company Limited
Power distribution Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources
 ∟ Power Division
Dhaka WASA Water supply Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Co-operatives
 ∟ Local Government Division
Dhaka Transport Coordination Authority Transportation Ministry of Road Transport and Bridges
 ∟Road Transport and Highways Division

Economy

 City Centre – currently the tallest building of Bangladesh, at Motijheel business district in Dhaka
City Centre – currently the tallest building of Bangladesh, at Motijheel business district in Dhaka
 Jamuna Future Park at Kuril, Baridhara in Dhaka, which is the largest shopping mall in South Asia
Jamuna Future Park at Kuril, Baridhara in Dhaka, which is the largest shopping mall in South Asia

Dhaka is the economic and business center of the country. The city's diverse economy registered a gross municipal GDP of US$128 billion (PPP) in 2017.[citation needed] Dhaka is one of the fastest growing startup hubs in the world.[64][self-published source?] The city is the seat of the country's central bank Bangladesh Bank and the Dhaka Stock Exchange. It has one of the largest concentrations of multinational companies in South Asia. Motijheel & Dilkusha is the main business district of the city. Commercial offices are also located at Kawran Bazar, Mirpur, Mohakhali, Gulshan, Bashundhara, Uttara and Banani area of the city. Education, healthcare, engineering and consultancy services are major sectors of city's economy. Administrative and security services are also concentrated in the city, due to numerous institutions of the Government of Bangladesh.

Major Bangladeshi companies headquartered in the Dhaka include Beximco, Rahimafrooz, Summit, Biman Bangladesh Airlines, Petrobangla, Akij Group, Bashundhara Group, Jamuna Group, Transcom Group, Aarong, PRAN-RFL Group and Square Pharmaceuticals among others. Dhaka is the center of the Bangladesh textile industry. The technologically advanced Bangladeshi pharmaceutical industry is also concentrated in Dhaka.

Industrial belts within Greater Dhaka is a major manufacturing hub, bounded by the Buriganga, Meghna, Dhaleshwari, Balu and Turag Rivers. Exports from the garments sector in Dhaka amounted to over 36 billion US dollars in 2017.[65][not in citation given] The city has a growing middle class, driving the market for modern consumer and luxury goods.[19][66] Restaurants, shopping malls and luxury hotels continue to serve as vital elements in the city's economy. The city has historically attracted numerous migrant workers.[67] Hawkers, peddlers, small shops, rickshaw transport, roadside vendors and stalls employ a large segment of the population[67][68] – rickshaw-drivers alone number as many as 400,000.[69] Half the workforce is employed in household and unorganised labour, while about 800,000 work in the textile industry. The unemployment rate in Dhaka was 23% in 2013.[70] The city has a per-capita income of US$4.600 (middle among the world's megacities);[71][not in citation given] and an estimated 29% of households live below the poverty line.[citation needed] Dhaka tremendously improved challenges of congestion and inadequate infrastructure. To fight rising traffic congestion and population, the national government has recently implemented a policy for rapid urbanization of surrounding areas and beyond by the introduction of a ten-year relief on income tax for new construction of facilities and buildings outside Dhaka.[72]

Demographics

NASA animation showing the urban growth of Dhaka from 1972 to 2001.

The city, in combination with localities forming the wider metropolitan area, is home to over 15 million as of 2013.[73] The population is growing by an estimated 4.2% per year, one of the highest rates amongst the Asian cities.[67] The continuing growth reflects ongoing migration from rural areas to the Dhaka urban region, which accounted for 60% of the city's growth in the 1960s and 1970s. More recently, the city's population has also grown with the expansion of city boundaries, a process that added more than a million people to the city in the 1980s.[67] According to the Far Eastern Economic Review, Dhaka will be home to 25 million people by the end of 2025.[74]

The literacy rate in Dhaka is also increasing quickly. It was estimated at 69.2% in 2001. The literacy rate had gone up to 74.6% by 2011[7] which is significantly higher than the national average of 51.77%.[75]

The city population is composed of people from virtually every region of Bangladesh. The long-standing inhabitants of the old city are known as Dhakaia and have a distinctive dialect and culture. Between 15,000 and 20,000 of the Rohingya, Santal, Khasi, Garo, Chakma and Mandi tribal peoples reside in the city.[76] Dhaka also has a large population of European, Chinese, Korean, Indian, Pakistani, Nepali, Burmese and Sri Lankan expatriates working in executive jobs in different industries. Dhaka is also home to over 300,000 Bihari refugees, who are descendants of displaced Muslims from eastern India during 1947 and sought refuge in East Pakistan. The correct population is ambiguous; although official figures estimate at least 40,000 residents,[77] it is estimated that there are at least 300,000 Urdu-speakers in all of Bangladesh, mostly residing in refugee camps in Dhaka.[78][79]

Bengali, the national language, is spoken by the predominant majority population of Dhaka. English is the principal second language and widely spoken by educated peoples. There is a minority Urdu-speaking population from India and Pakistan. Islam is the dominant religion of the city, with 90% of the population being Muslim, and a majority belonging to the Sunni sect. There is also a small Shia sect, and an Ahmadiya community. Hinduism is the second-largest religion and comprises 8.2% of the population. Smaller segments practice Christianity and Buddhism.[80] The city also has Ismaili, Sikh, Hrishi & Bahá'í Faith communities.

Culture

Arts and festivals

As the most populous city of Bangladesh, Dhaka has a vibrant cultural life. Annual celebrations for Independence Day (26 March), Language Martyrs' Day (21 February) and Victory Day (16 December) are prominently celebrated across the city. Dhaka's people congregate at the Shaheed Minar and the Jatiyo Smriti Soudho to remember the national heroes of the liberation war. These occasions are observed with public ceremonies and rallies in public grounds. Many schools and colleges organise fairs, festivals and concerts in which citizens from all levels of society participate.[81]

Pohela Baishakh, the Bengali New Year, falls annually on 14 April and is popularly celebrated across the city.[81] Large crowds of people gather on the streets of Shahbag, Ramna Park and the campus of the University of Dhaka for celebrations. Pahela Falgun (Bengali: পহেলা ফাল্গুন , first day of Spring of Bengali month Falgun, of the Bengali calendar, also celebrated in the city in a festive manner.[82]This day is marked with colourful celebration and traditionally, women wear yellow saris to celebrate this day. This celebration is also known as Basanta Utsab (Bengali: বসন্ত উৎসব ; Spring Festival). Nabanna is a celebration for harvest, usually celebrated with food and dance and music on the 1st day of the month of Agrahayan of Bengali year. Birthdays of Rabindranath Tagore and Kazi Nazrul Islam are observed respectively as Rabindra Jayanti and Nazrul Jayanti. Ekushey Book Fair, which is arranged each year by Bangla Academy and takes place for the whole month of February. This event is dedicated to the martyrs who died on 21 February 1952 in a demonstration calling for the establishment of Bengali as one of the state languages of former East Pakistan.

Muslim festivals of Eid ul-Fitr, Eid ul-Adha, Eid-E-Miladunnabi and Muharram; Hindu festivals of Durga Puja, Buddhist festival of Buddha Purnima; and Christian festival of Christmas witness widespread celebrations across the city.

 Bengali New Year celebrations
Bengali New Year celebrations

The most popular dressing style for women are sarees or salwar kameez, while men usually prefer western clothing to the traditional lungi with Panjabi. Jamdani saree of Dhaka is part of its cultural heritage, originate from the Mughal era. Jamdani sarees are 100% hand weaved and a single saree may take as long as 3 months to complete.[83]

Despite the growing popularity of music groups and rock bands, traditional folk music remains widely popular.[84] The works of the national poet Kazi Nazrul Islam and national anthem writer Rabindranath Tagore have a widespread following across Dhaka.[85] The Baily Road area is known as Natak Para (Theatre Neighbourhood) which is the center of Dhaka's thriving theatre movement.[86] Indian and Western music and films are popular with large segments of Dhaka's population.[87]

For much of recent history, Dhaka was characterized by roadside markets and small shops that sold a wide variety of goods.[88] Recent years have seen the widespread construction of shopping malls.[89] Two of the largest shopping malls in Dhaka and perhaps in the Indian subcontinent are Jamuna Future Park and Bashundhara City shopping mall.

Cuisines

 Fuchka/ফুচকা- a popular street food of Dhaka
Fuchka/ফুচকা- a popular street food of Dhaka

Dhaka is reputed for its unique traditional festivities and food delicacies from way back. It hosts a wide-ranging menu of distinctive dishes many of which were introduced during the regime of Sultani and Mughal Period. Due to different ruling periods, the cuisine of Dhaka is versatile and with a rich culinary tradition.

Like other parts of the country, everyday meals generally include plain steamed rice as staple food with fish, meat, vegetable curries and lentil soup is common accompaniment. Plain rice is often replaced by roti or parata. Curry is the most popular style of preparing dishes.

But Old Dhaka area has its own unique food tradition, known as Dhakaiya food. Old Dhaka is famous for its Morog (Chicken) Pulao, its different from traditional biriyani by using both tumeric and malai or cream of milk together.[90] Famous dishes of Old Dhaka are kebabs, naans, bakharkhani, kachchi and pakki biriyani, haleem, mutton bhuni kichuri, mutton tehari etc. Dhakai Bakarkhani is the traditional food or snack of the people of old Dhaka. It is famous for its quality and taste and it was highly praised by the royal court of the Mughal Empire in Delhi.[91] Along with Bangladeshi cuisine and South Asian variants, a large variety of Western and Chinese cuisine is served at numerous restaurants and eateries.[66] Often many restaurants customize fusion dishes which blends foreign and local cuisines to meet local taste. Local and international fast food shops and chains serve burgers, fries and other readily available foods. Street foods like Burhani, Lassi and Phuchka are highly popular among locals and tourists. fast-food chains like A&W, Burger King, KFC, Nando's, Pizza Hut, Pizza Inn and Sbarro have opened up their outlets in major areas of the city. Dhaka's delicacies such as Biriani from Haji's, Nanna's and Fakhruddin, Dhaka Cheese, Star Kabab still remain popular for dine. The city has numerous venerable Bengali confectionery chains, including Banoful, Alauddin, Bikrampur Mishti Bhandar and Rashmela.

Architectural landmarks and museums

Dhaka is home to over 2000 buildings built between the 16th and 19th centuries, which form an integral part of Dhaka's cultural heritage. Such as Binat Bibi Mosque, Lalbagh Fort, Ahsan Manzil, Tara Mosque, Chawk Mosque, Hussaini Dalan, Armenian Church, Curzon Hall, Dhaka Gate, Dhanmondi Shahi Eidgah, Rose Garden Palace, Choto Katra, Bara Katra, Dhakeshwari Temple, Swami Bagh Temple, Ramna Kali Mandir, Holy Rosary Church, Pogose School. There are still many colonial buildings at Dhaka Sadarghat, Armanitola, Farashganj areas of Old Dhaka. Binat Bibi Mosque was built in 1454 at Narinda area of Dhaka during the reign of the Sultan of Bengal, Nasiruddin Mahmud Shah (r. 1435 – 1459),[92] which is the oldest brick structure that still exists in the city.[93] Important landmark buildings constructed during British rule include Old Highcourt building, Bangabhaban, Curzon Hall and Mitford Hospital.

Architect Louis I Kahn's acclaimed modernist National Capital Complex, based on the geography and heritage of Bengal, was inaugurated in Dhaka in 1982 as one of the largest legislative complexes in the world, comprising 200 acres (800,000 m²).[94] Designed by American architect Robert Boughey, Kamalapur railway station is another architectural marvel, which was constructed in the early 1960's and started its operation from 1969.

There are many museums in the city. Such as Ahsan Manzil, Bangladesh National Museum, Liberation War Museum, National Museum of Science and Technology (Bangladesh), Bangabandhu Memorial Museum etc.

Media

Dhaka is also the press, media and entertainment center of Bangladesh. Bangladesh Betar is the state-run primary provider of radio services, and broadcasts a variety of programming in Bengali and English. Radio transmission started in Dhaka on 16 December 1939. In recent years many private radio networks, especially FM radio services, have been established in the city such as Radio Foorti FM 88.0, Radio Aamar FM 88.4, ABC Radio FM 89.2, Radio Today FM 89.6, DhakaFM 90.4, Peoples Radio 91.6 FM, Radio Bhumi FM 92.8, City FM 96.0 etc. Bangladesh Television is the state-run broadcasting network that provides a wide variety of programmes in Bengali and English. It started broadcasting on 25 December 1964. It also operates a sister channel BTV World since 2004. Sangsad Bangladesh is another government-owned TV channel that broadcasts parliamentary activity of Bangladesh since 25 January 2011. Cable and satellite networks such as ATN Bangla, ATN News, Banglavision, Channel i, Channel 9, Ekushey Television, Gaan Bangla, Gazi Television, Independent TV, NTV, RTV and Somoy TV are amongst the most popular channels. The main offices of most publishing houses in Bangladesh are based in Dhaka. Dhaka is home to the largest Bangladeshi newspapers, including the leading Bengali dailies Prothom Alo, Ittefaq, Inqilab, Janakantha, Amar Desh and Jugantor. The leading English-language newspapers include The Daily Star, Dhaka Tribune, The Financial Express, The Independent and New Age.[95]

Education

 Curzon Hall in the University of Dhaka
Curzon Hall in the University of Dhaka

Dhaka has the largest number of schools, colleges and universities of any Bangladeshi city. The education system is divided into 5 levels: Primary (from grades 1 to 6), Junior (from grades 6 to 8), Secondary (from grades 9 to 10), Higher Secondary (from grades 11 to 12) and tertiary.[96] The five years of Primary education concludes with a Primary School Completion (PSC) Examination, the three years of Junior education concludes with Junior School Certificate (JSC) Examination, and next two years of Secondary education concludes with a Secondary School Certificate (SSC) Examination. Students who pass this examination proceed to two years of Higher Secondary or intermediate training, which culminate in a Higher Secondary School Certificate (HSC) Examination.[96] Education is mainly offered in Bengali, but English is also widely taught and used. Many Muslim families send their children to attend part-time courses or even to pursue full-time religious education alongside other subjects, which is imparted in Bengali and Arabic in schools, colleges and madrasas.[96]

 Civil Engineering Building of BUET
Civil Engineering Building of BUET

There are 52 universities in Dhaka. Dhaka College is the oldest institution for higher education in the city and among the earliest established in British India, founded in 1841. Since independence, Dhaka has seen the establishment of numerous public and private colleges and universities that offer undergraduate and graduate degrees as well as a variety of doctoral programmes.[97] University of Dhaka is the oldest public university[98] in the country which has more than 30,000 students and 1,800 faculty staff. It was established in 1921 being the first university in the region. The university has 23 research centers and 70 departments, faculties and institutes.[99] Eminent seats of higher education include Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET), Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU), Jagannath University and Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University. Dhaka Medical College and Sir Salimullah Medical College are two of the best medical colleges in the nation.[100] Founded in 1875, Dhaka Medical School was the first medical school in Bangladesh (then British East Bengal), which became Sir Salimullah Medical College in 1962.[101] Other government medical colleges are Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College and Armed Forces Medical College, Dhaka.

 A block of BSMMU in Dhaka
A block of BSMMU in Dhaka

Alongside public institutes of higher education there are some forty-five private universities in Dhaka. Notable private universities are North South University, East West University, University of Asia Pacific, American International University – Bangladesh, BRAC University, Primeasia University, United International University and Ahsanullah University of Science and Technology (see:List of universities in Bangladesh), most of which are located in Mohakhali, Gulshan, Banani, Baridhara, Bashundhara, Uttara and Dhanmondi areas of the city.

The British Council plays an important role helping students to achieve GCSE and A Level qualifications from examination boards in the United Kingdom. This is in addition to holding several examinations for professional bodies in the United Kingdom, including the UK medical Royal Colleges and Accountancy.

Sports

Cricket and football are the two most popular sports in Dhaka and across the nation.[102] Teams are fielded in intra-city and national competitions by many schools, colleges and private entities. The Mohammedan Sporting Club and Abahani are two of the most famous football and cricket teams, maintaining a fierce rivalry, especially in the Bangladesh Football Premier League.[103] Dhaka Metropolis cricket team represents Dhaka city in the National Cricket League, a region-based domestic first-class cricket competition in Bangladesh. Dhaka Premier League is the only domestic List A cricket tournament now in Bangladesh. It gained List A status in 2013–14 season.[104] In domestic Twenty20 cricket, Dhaka has a BPL franchise known as Dhaka Dynamites.

Dhaka has the distinction of having hosted the first official Test cricket match of the Pakistan cricket team in 1954 against India.[105] The Bangabandhu National Stadium was formerly the main venue for domestic and international cricket matches, but now exclusively hosts football matches.[105] It was used during Pakistan colonial era for Test matches when no Bengalis were selected in team and a matting pitch was used. It hosted the opening ceremony[106] of the 2011 Cricket World Cup while the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium, exclusively used for cricket, hosted 6 matches of the tournament including two quarter-final matches.[107] Dhaka has also hosted the South Asian Games three times, in 1985, 1993 and 2010. Dhaka is the first city to host the games three times. The Bangabandhu National Stadium was the main venue for all three editions.[108] Dhaka also hosted the ICC World Twenty20, along with Chittagong and Sylhet, in 2014.

The National Sports Council, responsible for promoting sports activities across the nation, is based in Dhaka. Dhaka also has stadiums largely used for domestic events such as the Bangladesh Army Stadium, the Bir Sherestha Shaheed Shipahi Mostafa Kamal Stadium, the Dhanmondi Cricket Stadium and the Outer Stadium Ground.[109] The Dhaka University Ground and the BUET Sports Ground host many intercollegiate tournaments.[110] They are also used as practice ground by different football clubs and visiting foreign national football teams.

There are two golf courses in Dhaka. One is situated at Army Golf Club and another is situated at Kurmitola Golf Club.[111]

Transport

Road

 Cycle rickshaws are the most popular mode of transport in Dhaka
Cycle rickshaws are the most popular mode of transport in Dhaka
 Double-decker bus of BRTC
Double-decker bus of BRTC

Dhaka is connected to the other parts of the country through highway and railway links. Five of the eight major national highways of Bangladesh start from the city. They are- N1, N2, N3, N5 and N8. Dhaka is also directly connected to two longest routes of Asian Highway Network- AH1 and AH2, as well as to AH41 route. Highway links to the Indian cities of Kolkata, Agartala, Guwahati and Shillong have been established by the Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation (BRTC) and private bus companies which also run regular international bus services to those cities from Dhaka.[112][113] An elevated expressway system is under construction.[114] The Dhaka Elevated Expressway would run from Shahjalal International Airport-Kuril-Banani-Mohakhali-Tejgaon-Saatrasta-Moghbazar Rail Crossing-Khilgaon-Kamalapur-Golapbagh to Dhaka-Chittagong Highway at Kutubkhali Point. A longer second elevated expressway from Airport-Ashulia is currently undergoing feasibility study.[115] There are 3 inter-district bus terminals in Dhaka, which are located at Mohakhali, Saidabad and Gabtoli area of the city.

Dhaka suffers one of the worst traffic congestion in the world. Till date, the city lacks an organized public transport system. Construction of MRT and a BRT is currently going on to solve the problem. Cycle rickshaws and auto rickshaws are the main mode of transport within metro area, with close to 400,000 rickshaws running each day – the largest number for any city in the world.[116][117][118][119][66][68] However, only about 85,000 rickshaws are licensed by the city government.[67][120] Relatively low-cost and non-polluting cycle rickshaws, nevertheless, cause traffic congestion and have been banned from many parts of the city. The government has overseen the replacement of two-stroke engine auto rickshaws with "Green auto-rickshaws" locally called CNG auto-rickshaw or Baby-taxi, which run on compressed natural gas.[121]

Public buses are operated by the state-run Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation (BRTC) and by numerous private companies and operators. Scooters, taxis and privately owned cars are rapidly becoming popular with the city's growing middle class.Limited numbers of Taxis are available. It is planned to raise the total number of taxis to 18,000 gradually.[122] Uber has started mobile app based taxi service in the city.[123]

Air

 Runway and apron area of the Shahjalal International Airport
Runway and apron area of the Shahjalal International Airport

Shahjalal International Airport (IATA: DACICAO: VGHS), located 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) north of Dhaka city center, is the largest and busiest international airport in the nation.[124] The airport has an area of 1,981 acres (802 ha). The airport has a capacity of handling 15 million passengers annually,[125] and is predicted by the Civil Aviation Authority, Bangladesh to be enough until 2026.[126] In 2014, it handled 6.1 million passengers, and 248,000 tonnes of cargo.[127] Average aircraft movement per day is around 190 flights.[128] It is the hub of all Bangladeshi airlines. Domestic service flies to Chittagong, Sylhet, Rajshahi, Cox's Bazar, Jessore, Barisal, Saidpur and international services fly to major cities in Asia, Europe and the Middle East.[129][130]

Rail

Kamalapur railway station is the largest and busiest among the railway stations in the city. Designed by American architect Robert Boughey, the railway station situated in the north-east side of Motijheel, was established in the early 1960s and started its operation from 1969.[131] The station is the largest in the country and also one of the most modern and striking buildings in Dhaka. The state-owned Bangladesh Railway provides suburban and national services,[132] and the Maitree Express international service to Kolkata. Regular express train services connect Dhaka with major cities of Chittagong, Rajshahi, Khulna, Sylhet and Rangpur.

In 2013, suburban services to Narayanganj and Gazipur were upgraded using diesel electric multiple unit trains.[133][134]

The Dhaka Metro Rail feasibility study has been completed. A 21.5 kilometres (13.4 mi), $1.7 Billion Phase 1, metro route is being negotiated by the Government with Japan International Cooperation Agency. The first route will start from Uttara, northern suburb of Dhaka to Sayedabad, southern section of Dhaka.[135] The route consists of 16 elevated stations each of 180m long. Construction began on 26 June 2016.[136]

Waterways

The Sadarghat River Port on the banks of the Buriganga River serves for the transport of goods and passengers upriver and to other ports in Bangladesh.[137] Inter-city and inter-district motor vessels and passenger-ferry services are used by many people to travel riverine regions of the country from the city. Water bus services are available on Buriganga River and Hatirjheel and Gulshan lakes. Water buses of Buriganga River ferry passengers on Sadarghat to Gabtali route.[138] Water taxis in Hatirjheel and Gulshan lakes provide connectivity via two routes, one route between Tejgaon and Gulshan, another route between Tejgaon and Rampura areas.[139]

Twin towns and sister cities

Italy Venice, Italy since 2004[140]

See also

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Further reading

  • Sharuf Uddin Ahmed, ed. (1991). Dhaka -past present future. The Asiatic Society, Dhaka. ISBN 984-512-335-X. 
  • Karim, Abdul (1992). History of Bengal, Mughal Period (I). Rajshahi. 
  • Pryer, Jane (2003). Poverty and Vulnerability in Dhaka Slums: The Urban Livelihood Study. Ashgate Publishing. ISBN 0-7546-1864-1. OCLC 123337526 OCLC 243482310 OCLC 50334244 OCLC 50939515. 
  • Rabbani, Golam (1997). Dhaka, from Mughal outpost to metropolis. University Press, Dhaka. ISBN 984-05-1374-5. 
  • Sarkar, Sir Jadunath (1948). History of Bengal (II). Dhaka. 
  • Taifoor, S.M. (1956). Glimpses of Old Dacca. Dhaka. 

External links

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