There is no doubt regarding how great architecture can profoundly impact our day-to-day experiences. It also plays a pivotal role in the development of a country. It creates balance, uplifts quality of life, and boosts the economy forward. But what makes a piece of architecture great and wonderful? – Other than exhibiting durability, utility, and beauty, wonderful architecture should always reflect the cultural aspect of how it came into existence and transmit a rich set of values with it. When architecture embraces all these into its making, only then does it become truly wonderful. If we take these philosophies into account, in Bangladesh we have some architectural marvel as well. From the eye-pleasing modern design of the National Parliament Building to the timeless allure of 15th-century establishments, you can easily get lost in the splendor of their architectural beauty and engineering. That said, here are four architectural wonders of Bangladesh.
National Parliament Building, Dhaka
Designed by one of the most acclaimed architects in the world Louis I. Kahn, the National Parliament Building stands tall as one of the most elegant architectural wonders of Bangladesh. The design philosophy behind this marvelous piece of creation was to represent the heritage and culture of Bangladesh which it has portrayed gracefully by incorporating aesthetics that are exclusive to the country. One of which is the inclusion of artificial lakes around the structure depicting the riverine beauty of Bengal. The exterior of the structure, however, is heavily influenced by regular geometric shapes which you can see all over the walls of the buildings.
And you will be amazed to see how the exterior features of the structure influence the visuals of the interior. The large openings of regular geometric shapes bend the light into different forms and project it to the interior. The main building located at the center of the complex is divided into three parts: Main plaza, South Plaza, and The Presidential Plaza and nine individual blocks with multiple levels and different functionalities are also interlinked with each other by lift, stairs, circular areas, and so on. All of this uniqueness makes it one of the most iconic buildings not only in Dhaka but also in Bangladesh. If you ever want to see something wonderful, you don’t have to go any farther than Sher-e-Bangla Nagar where it is located.
Lalbagh Fort, Old Town, Dhaka
Dating from the 17th-century, the Lalbagh Fort of old Dhaka is an astonishing piece of architectural beauty. Although never completed and unoccupied for a long period of time, this Mughal piece of architecture hasn’t lost its charm and to date, remains one of the most beautiful architectural wonders of Bangladesh. It has all the quirks of the classic Mughal architecture and exudes a sentiment that surpasses time itself. The use of valuable white marble and red sandstone can be seen predominantly throughout the construction of the buildings. Since some parts were destroyed long ago, the actual total area of the fort at that time is still unknown to this day.
For a long period of time, everyone thought the fort complex consisted of three main buildings: the mosque, the tomb of Bibi Pari, and the Diwan-i-Aam. However, a recent finding revealed the existence of several other structures. Among these buildings, Diwan-i-Aam was the most interesting for multiple reasons. The Subadar of Bengal Shaista Khan used to live in this place and it was loaded with amenities such as Hammamkhana (bathroom) equipped with a water heating mechanism and terracotta pipes. There is also the existence of a mysterious tunnel which is so puzzling that whoever enters is said to never return. Go and visit this amazing place if you want to experience the Mughal architectural beauty.
The Sixty Dome Mosque, Bagerhat
Marking its establishment in the middle of the 15th-century, this piece of medieval beauty is older than the Lalbagh Fort. Not only is it one of the three UNESCO World Heritage Sites, it is also the largest mosque in Bangladesh from the sultanate period. The most interesting thing about this mosque is that it is called Sixty Dome Mosque despite the fact that it comprises a total of 81 domes.
The wall of this mosque is very thick and constructed of tapered bricks. This Tughlaq style mosque has a hut-shaped roofline and the interior is divided into several aisles and bays by 60 slender stone columns supporting the roof. There are 18 arched doorways to enter the grand prayer space. Although some are for ventilation and light, these ultimately give the interior of the mosque a dark and somber appearance. All in all, this mosque represents the magnificent beauty of Tughlaq style architecture and certainly makes it one of the most stunning architectural wonders of Bangladesh. If you ever go to Bagerhat, don’t forget to visit this 15th-century mosque, located in the Mosque City of Bagerhat, only 5km away from the main town.
Kantajew Temple, Dinajpur
Nothing is more popular and mesmerizing than the story of Radha-Krishna and their evergreen love. But what would it look like if someone built something in memoriam of their memorable love? Look no farther than Kantajew Temple in Dinajpur. Built by Maharaja Pran Nath in the 18th-century, this temple is one of the most spectacular religious structures and also amongst the most gorgeous architectural wonders of Bangladesh.
Once there were nine spires on the temple but unfortunately, an earthquake destroyed all of them. What makes it special is the terracotta art that can be seen all over its walls and turrets on either side of the pediment. Also, the wide multi-cusped arches, the Persian muqarnas works, and the extensive terracotta art on the exterior and interior of the temple make it one of the most detailed and ornamental pieces of architecture to have ever existed in Bangladesh. Don’t miss the chance to visit the temple if you want to see terracotta art at its finest.
The establishment of these amazing architectural edifices didn’t happen in a vacuum neither did it happen overnight. Each and every one of these structures carries a cultural significance on which it was built showcasing an amazing feat of engineering along with it. Make some time to visit these architectural wonders of Bangladesh if you truly want to know the cultural roots of the country.