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Dhaka is the capital and most populous city of Bangladesh in southern Asia. The urban area had 15.391 million people as of 2011. Set beside the Buriganga River, it’s at the center of national government, trade and culture. The 17th-century old city was the Mughal capital of Bengal, and many palaces and mosques remain. American architect Louis Khan’s National Parliament House complex typifies the huge, fast-growing modern metropolis.
Dhaka is the financial, commercial and the entertainment capital of Bangladesh, and accounts for up to 35% of Bangladesh's economy. Since its establishment as a modern capital city the population, area, social and economic diversity of Dhaka have grown tremendously, the city is now one of the most densely industrialized regions in Bangladesh. Dhaka is a major beta-global city, as it hosts the headquarters of several international corporations. By the 21st century, it emerged as a megacity. The Dhaka Stock Exchange has over 750 listed companies. The city hosts over 50 diplomatic missions and the headquarters of BIMSTEC. The city's culture is known for its cycle-rickshaws, cuisine, art festivals and religious diversity. The old city is home to around 2 000 buildings from the Mughal and British periods, including notable structures such as the Bara Katra and Choto Katra caravansaries.
Etymology[edit | edit source]
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 Hindu goddess Dhakeshwari, whose temple is located in the south-western part of the city. 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.
Some references also say 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. According to Rajatarangini written by a Kashmiri Brahman, Kalhana, 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.
History[edit | edit source]
Dhaka, Bangladesh's vibrant capital city, has a rich and varied history spanning millennia. Dhaka's history is a fascinating journey through the ebb and flow of cultures, religions, and civilizations. This article delves into Dhaka's historical tapestry, unravelling the layers that have shaped this city into the dynamic cultural and economic center that it is today.
Ancient Roots:[edit | edit source]
The history of Dhaka can be traced back to the ancient period when it was known as Dhaka-kola. The region served as an important center for trade and commerce, connecting the hinterlands with the Silk Road. Over the centuries, various empires, including the Mauryas, Guptas, and Pala dynasties, exerted their influence on the area, contributing to its cultural and architectural evolution.
Medieval Period:[edit | edit source]
Dhaka rose to prominence during the medieval period under the Delhi Sultanate and later the Bengal Sultanate. It became a strategic administrative and commercial center, attracting merchants and artisans from across the Indian subcontinent and beyond. The city's growth was accelerated during the Mughal era when it became a provincial capital under the rule of Emperor Akbar. The Lalbagh Fort, an iconic Mughal structure, stands as a testament to this period, though it was left incomplete due to historical circumstances.
Colonial Influence:[edit | edit source]
The arrival of European colonizers in the 17th century marked a new chapter in Dhaka's history. The city passed through Portuguese, Dutch, and finally British hands. Under British rule, Dhaka evolved into a significant center for trade and administration. The British legacy is evident in the architectural marvels scattered across the city, including the Ahsan Manzil and the Dhaka University campus.
Partition and Independence:[edit | edit source]
Dhaka played a pivotal role in the struggle for independence, culminating in the birth of Bangladesh in 1971. The Jatiyo Sangsad Bhaban, designed by renowned architect Louis Kahn, witnessed the proclamation of independence. The Liberation War Museum stands as a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made during this tumultuous period.
Modern Dhaka:[edit | edit source]
In the post-independence era, Dhaka has undergone rapid urbanization and transformation. The city has emerged as a major economic, political, and cultural hub in South Asia. Its skyline is adorned with modern skyscrapers, and the streets buzz with the energy of a growing population.
References[edit | edit source]
|Geography Portal — Everything about geography, continents, regions, geology, water and climate...
|Bangladesh Portal — All articles about Bangladesh.