World heritage

Paharpur and Bagerhat
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Paharpur and Bagerhat

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Language(s): English

Summary/Historical Context

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Paharpur and Bagerhat represent two aspects of ancient Bangladesh culture, Buddhism and Islam, and these two World Heritage Sites provide evidence of active cultural exchanges between East and West.


The Paharpur Vihara, known as Somapura Mahavira (the Great Monastery) was built by the Pala Emperor Dharmapala (770 - 810 AD) in the Rajashi District in the north of Bangladesh. This site is evidence of the development of Mahayana Buddhism in Bengal from the seventh century onwards. The monastery is quadrangular in form, with a colossal temple of a cross-shaped floor plan in the centre of the courtyard and 177 monastic cells along the enclosure walls on the four sides. This layout, and the decorations of carved stones and terracotta plaques, reflect the building's religious function, which is greatly influenced by Buddhist architecture from Cambodia and Java (Indonesia). Paharpur Vihara was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1985.


The Mosque-City of Bagerhat, known historically as Khalifatabad, was built by the saint-general Ulugh Khan Jahan in the Khulna District in the south of Bangladesh in the early 15th century. In this local capital of 50 square kilometres along the Bhairab (Brahmaputra) River, 360 mosques, public buildings, mausoleums, bridges, roads, watertanks and other public buildings were built in baked bricks. Shait Gumbad Mosque and Khan Jahan's Mausoleum are just two examples of these historic buildings. The city's construction shows considerable technical achievement. In 1985 Bagerhat was inscribed on the World Heritage List.

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Place/Country: Bangladesh
Series: INA-UNESCO collection
Type: Documentary
Credits: Government of Bangladesh, producer.
Published in:
Rights/Droits: UNESCO; Government of Bangladesh

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