Chittagong

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Chittagong
—  Metropolis  —
Clockwise from top: Port of Chittagong, Karnaphuli River Channel, Shah Amanat Bridge, Commonwealth War Cemetery, Government House
Chittagong is located in Bangladesh
Chittagong
Location of Chittagong in Bangladesh
Coordinates: 22°22′0″N 91°48′0″E / 22.36667°N 91.80000°E / 22.36667; 91.80000
CountryBangladesh
DivisionChittagong Division
DistrictChittagong District
Establishment1340[1]
Granted city status1863[2]
Government
 • City MayorM. Manzur Alam
Area[3]
 • Metropolis168 km2 (65 sq mi)
Population (2008)[4]
 • Metropolis2,579,107
 • Density15,351/km2 (39,760/sq mi)
 • Metro5 680 000 (2,011e)
 • DemonymChittagongians
Time zoneBST (UTC+6)
Postal code4000
GDP (2008)$25.5 billion[5]
GDP growth (2008)6.3%[5]
Calling code31
WebsiteChittagong City Corporation
 
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Chittagong
—  Metropolis  —
Clockwise from top: Port of Chittagong, Karnaphuli River Channel, Shah Amanat Bridge, Commonwealth War Cemetery, Government House
Chittagong is located in Bangladesh
Chittagong
Location of Chittagong in Bangladesh
Coordinates: 22°22′0″N 91°48′0″E / 22.36667°N 91.80000°E / 22.36667; 91.80000
CountryBangladesh
DivisionChittagong Division
DistrictChittagong District
Establishment1340[1]
Granted city status1863[2]
Government
 • City MayorM. Manzur Alam
Area[3]
 • Metropolis168 km2 (65 sq mi)
Population (2008)[4]
 • Metropolis2,579,107
 • Density15,351/km2 (39,760/sq mi)
 • Metro5 680 000 (2,011e)
 • DemonymChittagongians
Time zoneBST (UTC+6)
Postal code4000
GDP (2008)$25.5 billion[5]
GDP growth (2008)6.3%[5]
Calling code31
WebsiteChittagong City Corporation

Chittagong (pronounced:IPA: [tʃɪtəgɑŋ] also known in Bengali as Chaţţagrama চট্টগ্রাম) is the principal seaport and second largest city of Bangladesh, located at the estuary of the Karnaphuli River on the Bay of Bengal in the southeastern region of the country. Set amidst hills and a deep-water natural harbor, it is considered to be one of Bangladesh's most scenic and greenest cities. It is also situated close to the borders of Burma (Myanmar) and Northeast India. It is a pluralistic city of ethnic and religious diversity.[6] In 2011, the Chittagong Metropolitan Area had an estimated population of more than 6.5 million people.[7][8]

Historically, the ancient natural harbor of Chittagong served as a seaport and gateway for Bengal and the eastern subcontinent for centuries. The port was visited by numerous historical travellers, including Xuanzang, Ibn Battuta, Niccolò de' Conti and Admiral Zheng He.[9][10][11][12] The Portuguese called it Porto Grande De Bengala.[13][14] Under British rule in the late-19th century, the modern harbour developed with the construction of the Assam Bengal Railway. In 1930, Chittagong witnessed the revolutionary armoury raids of Masterda Surya Sen. During World War II, it served as an important base for Allied Forces fighting in the Burma Campaign. After the partition of British India in 1947, it became part of East Pakistan. In 1971, at the onset of the Bangladesh Liberation War, the declaration of Bangladesh’s independence was proclaimed from Chittagong.

Chittagong is often regarded as the commercial and industrial capital of Bangladesh. The Port of Chittagong is an important driver of the Bangladeshi economy, handling over 90% of the country's international trade. The city is home to thousands of Bangladeshi businesses and industries, including many of the oldest and largest companies of the country, as well as globally competitive special industrial zones- the Chittagong EPZ and Karnaphuli EPZ.[15] It also hosts the Chittagong Stock Exchange, one of Bangladesh's two main financial markets. Chittagong is one of the fastest growing cities in the world.[16] [17] In recent years, many neighboring countries, including India and China, have eyed Chittagong as a future regional transit hub. The port city is seen as crucial to the economic development of landlocked southern Asia, including Northeast India, Nepal, Bhutan, Southwest China and parts of Burma.[18][19][20] Chittagong intends to emerge as a major regional economic hub. The city is undertaking various infrastructure development schemes, including the construction of a deep sea port on Sonadia Island, special economic zones and planned road and rail networks with cities in neighbouring countries.[21][22]

Contents

Etymology[edit]

The anglicized name Chittagong probably emerged from a mixture of the Bengali (Chattagram and Chatgaon) and Arakanese (Tsi-tsi-gong) names of the city. Medieval Arab traders referred to the port as Shetgang, which evolved from the term Shatt al-Ganga, meaning "Mouth of the Ganges". Ma Huan, who accompanied Zheng He's voyage to Bengal in the 14th century, transliterated it into Chinese as Cheh-ti-gan.[23] Jean Bernoulli, in his book Description Historique et Geographic de L'Inde (1786), explains that the anglicized name Chittagong came from the Arabic word "Shetgang", which evolved from the term Shatt al-Ganga, meaning "Mouth of the Ganges". For centuries, Arab traders referred to the settlement as the main port of the Ganges delta and Bengal,[24] whence the medieval practice of calling the city itself Bengala.[23]

The Bengali names of the city are Chatgaon and Chattagram. The origins of these words are unclear, however several theories do exist. More than six hundred years ago an Islamic preacher Hazrat Badar Aawlia arrived in this city from the seas and chose Cheragi Pahar as his vantage point to spread the message of Islam among the locals. It was at the apex of this hill that the he lit a chati (lamp) and called out (ajaan) for people to join him in saying prayer to God. Chittagong's etymology can then be traced unmistakably back to "chati." And the hills are at the core of Chittagong's mythology.[25] Another theory is that the first group of brahmins to have settled in this region were 'chatt-upadhyays'. Hence this region came to be known as chatto-gan or Chattan Gaon (Chatto/Chattan=Rock or stone)(gan or gaon is the prakrit/Bengali term for village). A fact confirming this theory is that the majority of the kayastha of this region were of the kashyap gotra, which is also the gotra of the Chattopadhyays. The Arakanese name comes from the phrase tsi tsi gong, which means "the war that should never be fought".

History[edit]

9th century carvings at Borobudur, Java. In antiquity, the Samatata-Harikela region (present-day Chittagong) had strong maritime links with Southeast Asia.[26][27]
Ibn Battuta visited Chittagong in the 14th century. Arab merchants dominated trade on the Bay of Bengal during the Middle Ages.
The Chinese treasure fleet of Admiral Zheng He docked in Chittagong during Ming imperial voyages to Bengal in the 15th century [28]
A Dutch painting of Chittagong harbour, late-1600s

Located in the trans-Meghna region, the present-day Chittagong District was part of the ancient Ganges basin civilization, which was known to the ancient Greek and Roman world as Gangaridai. The natural harbor served as a sea port since the first millennium BCE. The earliest historical records of the Port of Chittagong date back to the 4th century BCE, when sailors from the area embarked on voyages to the Malay Archipelago. The 2nd century Graeco-Roman geographer Ptolemy wrote of it as as one of the most impressive ports of the East. The 7th century traveling Chinese scholar Xuanzang described it as "a sleeping beauty emerging out of the misty water".[29]

The region was part of the ancient Bengali Buddhist kingdoms of Harikela and Samatata. According to Tibetan chronicles, the area was the capital of the Buddhist king Gopichandra and was the birthplace of several Tantric traditions. Arab and Persian traders arrived in the 8th century, and the region emerged as a major trading center on the maritime silk route, renowned for its rice and textiles. Chittagong also attracted many Sufi missionaries, who settled in the region and played an instrumental role in the spread of Islam.[29][30]

A map of the Chittagong region from 1724

Sultan Fakruddin Mubarak Shah of Sonargaon conquered Chittagong in 1340. Sultan Giasuddin Mubarak Shah constructed a highway from Chittagong to Chandpur and ordered the construction of many lavish mosques and tombs. After the defeat of Mahmud Shah in the hands of Sher Shah in 1538, the Arakanese Kingdom of Mrauk U conquered Chittagong. From this time onward, until its conquest by the Mughals, the region was under the control of Portuguese merchant communities, which established settlements along the Karnaphuli River and at Satgaon. The Kings of Arakan dispatched Magh pirates (a notorious name for Arakanese) to region, who in collusion with the Portuguese, dominated trade in the region for the next 128 years.

The Mughal commandar Shayestha Khan and his son Buzurg Umed Khan expelled the Arakanese from the area in 1666 and established Mughal rule there. After the Arakanese expulsion, Islamabad, as the area came to be known, made great strides in economic progress. This can mainly be attributed to an efficient system of land-grants to selected diwans or faujdars in order to clear massive areas of hinterland and start cultivation. The Mughals, similar to the Afghans who came earlier, also built mosques having a rich contribution to the architecture in the area. What is called Chittagong today also began to have improved connections with the rest of Mughal Bengal. The city was occupied by Burmese troops shortly in First Anglo-Burmese War in 1824 and the British increasingly grew active in the region and it fell under the British Indian Empire in the 19th century. The people of Chittagong made several attempts to gain independence from the British, notably on 18 November 1857 when the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th companies of the 34th Bengal Infantry Regiment stationed at Chittagong rose in rebellion and released all the prisoners from jail but were suppressed by the Kuki scouts and the Sylhet Light Infantry (10th Gurkha Rifles).[30]

Chittagong grew at the beginning of the twentieth century after the partition of Bengal and the creation of the province of Eastern Bengal and Assam.[31] The construction of the Assam Bengal Railway to Chittagong facilitated further development of economic growth in the city. However, revolutionaries and opposition movements grew during this time. Many people in Chittagong supported Khilafat and Non-Cooperation movements.

1930 Chittagong Uprising[edit]

Revolution was never far from the surface and one group of Bengali youths under the leadership of Surya Sen formed the secret Republican Army. He set up camps for revolutionary youths to train in guerilla tactics against the British occupation of India. The members of the revolutionary groups believed in armed uprisings for Indian independence to liberate India from the oppressive and exploitative British colonial rule. Their leader was Masterda Surya Sen. The group included Ganesh Ghosh, Lokenath Bal, Nirmal Sen, Ambika Chakrobarty, Naresh Roy, Sasanka Datta, Ardhendu Guha, Harigopal Baul, Tarakeswar Dastidar, Ananta Singh, Jiban Ghoshal, Anand Gupta, Pritilata Waddedar, Kalpana Dutta and Suresh Dey. Also among them was 14-year-old Subodh Roy (d. 27 August 2006). He too was jailed in the Andaman Islands but released in 1940.

Surya Sen devised the strategy of capturing the two main armouries in Chittagong and then destroying the telegraph and telephone office, followed by capital punishment of the notorious members of the "European Club", the majority of whom were government or military officials involved in maintaining British Raj in India. Firearms retailers were also to be raided; and rail and communication lines were scheduled to be disrupted. The plan was put into action at 10 o'clock on 18 April 1930. As per plan, the armoury of the police was captured by a group of revolutionaries led by Ganesh Ghosh and another group of ten, led by Lokenath Baul took over the Auxiliary Force armoury. Unfortunately they could not locate the ammunition. The revolutionaries also succeeded in dislocating telephone and telegraph communications and disrupting the movement of the trains. Total sixty five revolutionaries took part in the raid, which was undertaken in the name of the Indian Republican Army, Chittagong branch. After the successful raids, all the revolutionary groups gathered outside the police armoury where Surya Sen took a military salute, hoisted the National Flag and proclaimed a Provisional Revolutionary Government. The revolutionaries left Chittagong town before dawn and marched towards the Chittagong hill ranges, looking for a safe place[32]

After a few days, the police traced some of the revolutionaries. They were surrounded by several thousand troops while taking shelter in the Jalalabad hills on the outskirts of Chittagong on the afternoon of 22 April 1930. Over 80 British troops and 12 of the revolutionaries were killed in the ensuing gunfight. Surya Sen decided to disperse into neighbouring villages in small groups and the revolutionaries escaped accordingly. Very few revolutionaries fled to Calcutta while some revolutionaries were arrested in Chittagong.

Many of the revolutionaries managed to reorganize the broken group. On 24 September 1932, 8 young rebels led by Pritilata Waddedar attacked the European Club. Twenty-two officials and 220 non- officials were killed by the revolutionarists in separate incidents during 1930-32.

The so-called "first armoury raid case" (i.e. The Great Chittagong Uprising) concluded in January 1932 and the judgement was delivered on 1 March 1932. The sentences were deportation for life for 12, three years' imprisonment for 2 and the rest of a total of 32 persons on trial were acquitted. The Chittagong revolutionaries suffered a fatal blow when Masterda Surya Sen was arrested on 16 February 1933 from Gairala village, because of a tip-off from a traitor in the group. The traitor, Netra Sen, was stabbed to death at his home by the revolutionaries before he could collect his Rupee 10,000 reward. Masterda Surya Sen was tried and was hanged on 12 January 1934[33] after immense torture. His body was not cremated but thrown into Bay of Bengal by the British.

A Bengali movie Chattagram Astragar Lunthan was made on the Great Chittagong Uprising of 1930 or Chittagong armoury raid in 1949. It was directed by Nirmal Chowdhury. A Hindi movie, Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey was made on the Chittagong armoury raid in 2010. It was directed by Ashutosh Gowarikar starring Abhishek Bachchan and supported by Deepika Padukone. It was based on the book Do and Die: The Chittagong Uprising 1930-34 by Manini Chatterjee. Another Hindi film, Chittagong was made in 2010 and released in October 2012. It was directed by Dr. Bedabrata Pain, a former scientist in NASA who resigned from NASA to make this film. Manoj Bajpai was the lead actor and played the role of Surya Sen.

World War II[edit]

RAF bombers in Chittagong airport during World War II.
The US Navy in Chittagong, 1944

During World War II, Chittagong's cantonment as well as air and sea ports served as important military bases for Allied Forces fighting in the Burma Campaign. The city was struck with several air raids by the Japanese Air Force in April and May 1942.[34][35] The war had a major negative impact on the city, with the growth of refugees and uneveness in fortune, reflected in the Great Famine of 1943.[30]

Post WWII and Bangladesh[edit]

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip in Chittagong, 1961

After the war, rapid industrialisation and development saw the city grow beyond its previous municipal area, particularly in the southwest up to Patenga, where Chittagong International Airport is now located.[30] The former villages of Halishahar, Askarabad and Agrabad became integrated into the city. The Chittagong Development Authority (CDA) was established by the government of East Pakistan in 1959 to manage this growth and drew up a master plan to be reviewed every five years to plan its urban development. By 1961 the CDA had drawn up a regional plan covering an area of 212 square miles (550 km2) and a master plan covering an area of 100 square miles (260 km2).[30] Over the decades, especially after the losses of 1971, the master plan developed into several specific areas of management, including the Multi-Sectoral Investment Plan for drainage and flood-protection of Chittagong City and a plan for easing the traffic congestion and making the system more efficient.[30]

In 1971, during the Bangladesh Liberation War, Chittagong suffered massive losses in people and buildings given that they denied the occupation army access to the port. The first public announcement was made over the radio from the Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra located at Kalurghat, Chittagong. Following the independence of Bangladesh, the city underwent a major rehabilitation and reconstruction programme and regained its status as an important port within a few years.[30]

Geography and climate[edit]

Under the Köppen climate classification, Chittagong has a tropical monsoon climate.[36] Chittagong is located at 22°22′0″N 91°48′0″E / 22.36667°N 91.80000°E / 22.36667; 91.80000 on the banks of the Karnaphuli River. It has a total area of 157 square kilometres (61 sq mi). The city is known for its vast hilly terrain that stretches throughout the entire district and eventually into India. Chittagong does not contain any natural lakes, but it does have artificial lakes.

Climate data for Chittagong
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Record high °C (°F)31.7
(89.1)
33.9
(93)
37.2
(99)
38.9
(102)
36.7
(98.1)
36.7
(98.1)
34.4
(93.9)
33.9
(93)
35.0
(95)
34.4
(93.9)
34.9
(94.8)
31.1
(88)
38.9
(102)
Average high °C (°F)26.0
(78.8)
28.0
(82.4)
30.6
(87.1)
31.8
(89.2)
32.3
(90.1)
31.5
(88.7)
30.9
(87.6)
31.1
(88)
31.5
(88.7)
31.5
(88.7)
29.8
(85.6)
27.0
(80.6)
30.2
(86.4)
Daily mean °C (°F)20.0
(68)
22.1
(71.8)
25.5
(77.9)
27.6
(81.7)
28.5
(83.3)
28.4
(83.1)
28.0
(82.4)
28.1
(82.6)
28.3
(82.9)
27.8
(82)
25.1
(77.2)
21.3
(70.3)
25.9
(78.6)
Average low °C (°F)13.9
(57)
16.2
(61.2)
20.3
(68.5)
23.4
(74.1)
24.7
(76.5)
25.2
(77.4)
25.1
(77.2)
25.1
(77.2)
25.1
(77.2)
24.0
(75.2)
20.3
(68.5)
15.6
(60.1)
21.6
(70.9)
Record low °C (°F)5.2
(41.4)
6.6
(43.9)
10.2
(50.4)
13.6
(56.5)
14.3
(57.7)
18.1
(64.6)
19.4
(66.9)
19.9
(67.8)
17.2
(63)
12.7
(54.9)
10.0
(50)
7.5
(45.5)
5.2
(41.4)
Precipitation mm (inches)5.6
(0.22)
24.4
(0.961)
54.7
(2.154)
147.4
(5.803)
298.6
(11.756)
607.3
(23.909)
727.0
(28.622)
530.6
(20.89)
259.3
(10.209)
184.8
(7.276)
67.5
(2.657)
11.9
(0.469)
2,919.1
(114.925)
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm)0126111719171372196
 % humidity70677175788486878582787778
Source #1: Weatherbase (normals, 30 yr period)[37]
Source #2: Sistema de Clasificación Bioclimática Mundial (extremes),[38] BBC Weather (humidity and sun)[39]

Demographics[edit]

Chittagong city had a population of 6.5 million as of 2011,[8][40] male 54.36% and female 45.64%. Population density per square km is 15276. The literacy rate in the city is 60%.[8] Islam is the most common religion among the people. Muslims form 83.92% of the population. Other major religions are Hinduism (13.76%); Buddhism (2.01%), Christianity (0.11%) and others 0.2%.[30]

Civil administration[edit]

The Chittagong city areas are divided into several wards and mahallas, under the jurisdiction of the Chittagong City Corporation. Chittagong City Corporation is governed by the city mayor, who is an elected representative for a 5 years term along with 41 male general ward councilors and 14 female ward councilors. The 41 male ward councilors are elected from the 41 general wards in the city where the residents vote and elect their ward councilor as their elected representatives for a 5 year period. Moreover, 14 female ward councilors are also elected by only the female voters of the 14 female wards to represent the city's female dwellers.[41] The Chittagong Development Authority (CDA) is responsible for implementing the city's Master Plan.

Chittagong Metropolitan Police is the main law enforcing agency in the metropolis. Established in 1978, it employs around 5,000 personnel, having 30 police stations under it. Rapid Action Battalion-7 is present in Chittagong

People and Culture[edit]

Chittagong has attracted people from around the world.[30] The various waves of settlements left a lasting impact on the language and culture of the city.[30] The origins of the people of the city are diverse and multi-ethnic. Bengalis constitute the largest ethnic group, followed by adivasi ethnicities such as the Chakmas and Marmas. Many Ismailis and Indo-Iranians settled in the city during the 1940s and 50s. and The descendants of Portuguese settlers, who are often Firingi, also continue to live in Chittagong, as Catholic Christians, in the old Portuguese enclave of Paterghatta. Here, majority of the urban people are involved in the import-export, trade-commerce and various industrial and business activities along with many other private and government sector occupations like other port Cities of the globe.[30]

Lungi or punjabi-pajama is the most common costume for men and Saree for women. Rice and fish is the staple food of the people. Because of close affinity to the sea, seafood is quite popular. Vegetables commonly found in the market are gourds, pumpkins, various legumes, etc. Fruits include jack fruits, ice-apples, coconuts, bananas, custard apple, etc.Shutki mach/dried fish is a specialty. Chatgaiya songs are one of the top local favorites. Dance is another famous cultural sector of Chitttagong.

Chittagong is the home town of Dr. Mohammad Yunus, founder of Grameen Bank, the pioneer of Microcredit, who won Nobel Prize in Peace in 2006.

Dialect[edit]

Many Chittagong natives speak Chittagonian (চাটগাঁইয়া Chaţgaiã), an Indo-European language of the Eastern Indo-Aryan group. A large number of Arabic words and transformed Arabic words are used in this dialect. This is due to the arrival of traders and missionaries from the Arabian Peninsula hundreds of years ago. Many speakers consider their language to be a dialect of standard Bengali, the official language of Bangladesh. However, the two languages are not mutually intelligible, meaning that those who only know how to speak Standard Bengali will not understand Chittagonian speakers, and vice versa - normally the metric for languagehood among linguists. There is, however, a dialect continuum between Chittagonian and neighboring dialects of Bengali, meaning that speakers of each neighboring dialect can largely understand each other, while speakers of more distant dialects cannot. Chittagonian has approximately 14 million speakers. According to the status of Top 100 Languages by Population by Ethnologue, Chittagong ranked in 67th Language of the world.[42]

Architecture[edit]

Anderkilla mosque, a historical mosque

The architectural features of Chittagong can be found in mosques, shrines, dargah, buildings and other masonry. The most revered place in Chittagong is the Shrine of Bayazid Bostami, a saint born in Bostam, Iran. The dargah sharif of Hazrat Shah Sufi Amanat Khan is one of the most renowned dargahs of Chittagong. The Shahi Jama-e-Masjid and Qadam Mubarak Mosque are two of the most impressive buildings in the city. The mosques features unique mosque architecture. The Anderkilla Zame Mosque and Jamia Tul Falah Mosque, two largest mosques of Chittagong are conspicuous as the they represent beautiful mosque architecture with numerous arches. The 18th century Chatteshwari Temple is a prominent Hindu place of worship. The Chittagong Circuit house was built by the British in 1913. Many old Portuguese structures are seen in different parts of the city which reminds it's multi-cultural and multi-ethnic heritage. Under British rule, The eastern railway Headquarters was set up in Chittagong. Many Victorian style structures in the city still reminds of the British presence in this city. Zia Memorial Museum, situated in the port city of Chittagong and housed in the old circuit house building, represents beautiful architectural features of South Asia. The building was constructed on a small hill in 1913. These structures show that the architectural history of Chittagong can be traced back to hundreds of years ago.

Economy and development[edit]

The sea-borne exports consist chiefly of ready made garments, knitwear, frozen food, jute and jute products, leather and leather products, tea, and chemical products. There is also a large trade by country boats, bringing chiefly cotton, rice, spices, sugar and tobacco. Sailing ships built in Chittagong include the Betsey, the Argo, and the Mersey. Ship breaking was introduced to the area in 1969. This industry is concentrated at Faujderhat, a 16 kilometres (9.9 mi) long beach 20 kilometres (12 mi) north-west of Chittagong. Chittagong is also home to a large number of industries from small to heavy.

Around 40% of the heavy industrial activities of the country is located in Chittagong city and adjacent areas, which include drydocks, dock yards, an oil refinery, steel mills, power plants, cement clinker factoriess, automobile industry, pharmaceutical industry, chemical plants, Cable manufacturing, textile manufacturing, jute mill, urea fertilizer factory along with other private sector medium size industrial developments and activities.[40]

Currently, there are three export processing zones (EPZ) in Chittagong, two state owned and another private. The main Chittagong Export Processing Zone, operated by the Bangladesh Export Processing Zone Authority (BEPZA), is the largest export processing zone in Bangladesh with 453 acres of land, located in South Halishahar. In June 2010, the London-based magazine The Financial Times ranked it the 3rd Best Cost Competitive Zone in the world and the 4th in the Best Economic Potential for Fiscal Year 2010-11.[43] Karnaphuli Export Processing Zone, also operated and owned by BEPZA, is located in North Patenga, with an area of 222 acres. The other private EPZ Korean Export Processing Zone was established and operated by a South Korean company Youngone Corporation. The Korean Export Processing Zone and is expected to attract foreign direct investment worth $1 billion.[44]

The city of Chittagong had been long neglected by the Bangladeshi government, until around 2000 when exports grew by 21.13% to an all-time high of $8.02 billion.[45] Chittagong is the site of Bangladesh's busiest port which handles 80% of all Bangladeshi imports and exports. The strategic location of the port has allowed for interest by investors to help improve the city.

The city is home to many of the largest and oldest companies in Bangladesh, including M. M. Ispahani, A K Khan & Company, Habib Group, Jamuna Oil Company, BSRM, Padma Oil Company, KDS Group, PHP Group, Meghna Petroleum, Bangladesh Shipping Corporation, Kabir Steel, Western Marine Shipyard, Clewiston Group, T. K. Group, Intraco Group and etc. The Chittagong Tea Auction is one of the major exchanges of the global tea industry, along with the Calcutta, Mombasa and Colombo auctions. Most of the International trading are believed to be done from Khatunganj, Asadganj & Chaktai area. The Sawdagars (Traditional local merchants) of Chittagong still control the entire Bangladesh Market in this import oriented country. Agrabad is often known as Chittagong's chief commercial region. All major banks like HSBC, Standard Chartered, Citibank, Mercantile Bank Limited, Premier Bank, Dutch Bangla Bank, BRAC Bank, Dhaka Bank Limited, Bangladesh Bank, Eastern Bank, Sonali Bank, Rupali Bank and all other banks operating in Bangladesh have offices in and around the city. Numerous investments have allowed for a construction boom similar to Dhaka. Over the years, scores of hotels, shopping malls, and other modern buildings have sprung up to change the face of the city. Ongoing developments include various multi-story shopping malls and a World Trade Center.[46]

In 2000, manufacturing industry of Chittagong contributed 15% of the total GDP.[47] According to CityMayors Statistics[5] Chittagong registered a tremendous GDP of $25.5 billion in 2010 with an annual growth rate of 6.3%. It is estimated that in 2020 the GDP of Chittagong will be $39 billion.[48]

The Chittagong Stock Exchange was established in 1995 as the second stock exchange in Bangladesh. It is located in the commercial area of Agrabad.

Famous residents[edit]

Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus

Media and communications[edit]

There are several newspapers, including daily newspapers, opposition newspaper, business newspapers based in Chittagong. Daily newspapers include Dainik Azadi,[49] Peoples View,[50] Purbokon, Life, Karnafuli, Jyoti, Rashtrobarta and Azan. Furthermore, there are a number of weekly and monthly newspapers. These include weeklies are Chattala, Jyoti, Sultan and the monthlies are Sanshodhani, Purobi, Mukulika, Simanto. The only press council in Chittagong is the Chittagong Press Club. Government owned Bangladesh Television and Bangladesh Betar have transmission centers in Chittagong. Chittagong has been featured in all aspects of popular culture such as television, movies, journal, music and books. Almost all the TVs and radios of Bangladesh have coverage in Chittagong. Renowned Bollywood film director Ashutosh Gowariker directed a movie based on the 1930s Chittagong Uprising[51] where Abhishek Bachchan played the lead role.[52][53]

Tourism[edit]

Chittagong Hill Tracts, one of the tourist attractions of Bangladesh

The city of Chittagong is a major tourist attraction in Bangladesh. Its green hills and forests, its broad sandy beaches and its fine cool climate always attract the holiday-makers. Described by the Chinese traveler poet, Huen Tsang (7th century AD) as "a sleeping beauty emerging from mists and water" and given the title of "Porto Grande" by the 16th century Portuguese seafarers. Chittagong is filled with dense green forests, endless rolling hills, a moderate climate and breathtaking beaches. Since the 7th century, Chittagong has been mentioned in many documents as a seaport of mystical beauty and magnificent charm. The bustling harbor stands in stark contrast to the tranquility and peaceful surroundings of the city.

The city has experienced many hotels and guesthouses coming in recent years. Many high end private hotels such as Hotel Agrabad, Hotel Well Park Residence, The Peninsula Chittagong, Hotel Harbour View, Hotel Meridian, Avenue Hotels and Suites etc.[54] In the recent years more than 20 hotels have launched operation in the port city to meet standards of foreign businessman, clients, dealers and tourists. Most of these hotels are located in Agrabad Commercial Area, Nasirabad, CDA Avenue etc.

The Marriott, Westin and Radisson are among the upcoming five-star hotels in Chittagong.[55][56][57]

Chittagong Hill Tracts[edit]

Patenga beach

The Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) comprising an area of 13,180 km2 in south-eastern Bangladesh, is the only hill intensive area of Bangladesh. CHT consisting Rangamati, Khagrachari and Bandarban districts is home to country's largest concentration of at least 11 different ethnic groups and is a unique part of the country both in terms of landscape and its people.[58] The ethnic groups are bound together by a shared history, years of peaceful cohabitation, and a common future. They differ from the majority Bengali population of Bangladesh in their physical features, culture and religion. However, nearly all the tribal peoples also include traditional tribal elements in their formal religious beliefs and practices.[59]

Patenga beach[edit]

Foys lake
Zia Memorial Museum

Patenga Beach is one of the popular tourist spots for visitors in Chittagong. The beach lies approximately twenty-two kilometers away from the city of Chittagong, and is reachable by a straight, long road through a beautiful forest. It is located near landmarks which include the Shah Amanat International Airport and the BNS Isha Khan Naval Base. Patenga Beach is located at the 'Karnaphuli' River mouth and stretches across the Bay of Bengal. Another tourist attraction near Patenga beach is the Butterfly Park.[60]

Foy's Lake[edit]

Chittagong Ethnological Museum

Foy's Lake is a human-made lake in Chittagong, Bangladesh. The lake was once just a lake and spillway constructed by Assam-Bengal Railway engineer. It was dug in 1924 and was named after the English engineer Mr. Foy.[30] The lake is next to Batali Hill, the highest hill in Chittagong Metropolitan area. An amusement park, managed by the Concord Group, is located here which features usual theme park rides and attractions as well as boat rides on the lake, landscaping, restaurants, concerts with floating stages, scenic walking trails and many other fun activities. It also features a resort and a water park.[30]

Heritage Park[edit]

There is a heritage park called Shaheed Zia Memorial Complex and Mini Bangladesh at Chandgaon which reflects the most notable structures and instances of Bangladesh. This 71-metre tower in Mini Bangladesh in Chittagong has a restaurant on the top that rotates once every 90 minutes.[61] The museum includes a revolving restaurant. One can perceive of the country's architectural beauty, ethnic traditions and archaeological inheritance through having a glimpse of the heritage park. Replica of major structures of the country, includes Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban (parliament building), National Memorial of Savar, Ahsan Manzil, Curzon Hall of Dhaka University, Paharpur Monastery, Kantajew Temple of Dinajpur, Lalbagh Fort and Sona Masjid. The park also has different rides for children.[62]

Ethnological Museum of Chittagong[edit]

The Ethnological Museum of Chittagong located in Agrabad, established in 1965, is the only ethnological museum in the country. It offers the visitors the chance to acquaint with the lifestyles and heritage of various ethnic groups of the country. The museum authority had collected rare elements used in everyday lives of different ethnic groups, of which some had already become extinct while some were on the verge of extinction. The museum contains four galleries and a small hall. Three galleries of the museum feature diverse elements of twenty nine ethnic groups in Bangladesh, while the rest of the gallery displays the lifestyles of some ethnic groups of India, Pakistan and Australia.[63] The sculptures of the people of different ethnic communities and a piece of broken Berlin Wall attracts visitors, who can get impression of different festivals, livelihoods, and cultures of the communities from the murals set up at the hall room. These are reminiscent of the museum in the film Planet of the Apes. Around 200-300 people visit the museum everyday.

WWII cemetery and Circuit House[edit]

The War Cemetery on Badshah Mia Road contains the graves of 755 soldiers, and is protected and maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.[64] There are a number of museums in Chittagong. The most prominent is the Zia Memorial Museum which is housed in the old circuit house building. President Ziaur Rahman was assassinated there on 30 May 1981. This commemorative museum houses the Late President Ziaur Rahman's mementos and personal belongings. It was established in 1993 with 12 galleries.[65]

Education[edit]

Chittagong University of Engineering & Technology (CUET), one of the four public engineering universities in Bangladesh

Chittagong University, Chittagong University of Engineering and Technology & Chittagong Veterinary and Animal Sciences University are three public universities in Chittagong. Chittagong Medical College is the only government medical college in Chittagong. Chittagong is home to two of the nation's most prominent public universities, and is the site of one of Bangladesh's largest universities, the University of Chittagong, established in 1966. Chittagong University of Engineering & Technology is the only public Engineering University in Chittagong division and one of the four public engineering universities in Bangladesh, established in 1968.

The city also hosts several other private universities and medical colleges. Asian University for Women, Begum Gulchemonara Trust University, East Delta University, International Islamic University, Premier University, Southern University, University of Science & Technology Chittagong are some of them.

Chittagong has public, denominational and independent schools. Public schools, including pre-schools, primary and secondary schools and special schools are administered by the Ministry of Education and Chittagong Education Board. Chittagong has government and non-government primary schools, international schools and English medium schools.

Health[edit]

Chittagong Medical College and Hospital

Chittagong Medical College Hospital is the largest government-run health service provider. This huge medical has so many wards, cabins and units. At present this facility also provides medical treatment of ICU and CCU for the serious patients. Other medical service institutes include General Hospital, Upazila Health Complex, Family Welfare Center, TB Hospital, Infectious Disease Hospital, Diabetic Hospital, Mother and Children Hospital and Police Hospital. Notably, the total health service of Chittagong is intensificating day by day. At present, many non government hospitals and clinics also belong to the city. Chittagong Metropolitan Hospital, Surgiscope Hospital, CSCR, Centre Point Hospital, National Hospital . are some of the private hospitals and clinics.

Transport[edit]

Transport in Chittagong is similar to that of the capital, Dhaka. Large avenues and roads are present throughout the metropolis. There are various bus systems, taxis, and as well as smaller 'baby' or 'CNG' taxis, which are basically tricycle-structured motor vehicles. There are also traditional manual rickshaws, which are very common. As the population of the city began to grow extensively, the Chittagong Development Authority (CDA) has undertaken some transportation master plans to ease the traffic congestion in Chittagong. Under this plan the CDA along with the Chittagong City corporation have constructed some flyovers and expanded the existing roads within the city. There are also some other major expressways and flyovers under-construction, most notably the Chittagong City Outer Ring Road along the coast of Chittagong city. This ring road includes a marine drive along with five feeder roads and is also meant to strengthen the embankment of the coast.[66][67][68][69][70] The government has also approved the construction of an under-water expressway tunnel under the Karnaphuli river to ensure better connectivity between the northern and southern parts of Chittagong, which is going to be the first of its kind in Bangladesh.[71]

The Dhaka-Chittagong Highway, a major arterial highway, is the only way to get in the city through land. It is a very busy and a risky highway, currently it is a 2-lane highway, with upgrading to 4 lanes being implemented.[72]

Chittagong can also be accessed by rail. It has a station on the meter gauge eastern section of the Bangladesh Railway. The headquarters of this railway are located here. There are two main railway stations in Station road and in Pahartali Thana. Trains are available traveling to the Bangladeshi cities of Dhaka, Sylhet, Comilla, and Bhairab. The Chittagong Circular Railway was introduced in 2013 to ease the traffic congestion as well as to ensure better public transport service to the commuters within the city. The railway includes high speed DEMU trains with a carrying capacity of 300 passengers. These DEMU trains also ply on the Chittagong-Laksham route which connects the city with Comilla.[73][74]

Shah Amanat International Airport serves as Chittagong's only airport, located at South Patenga. It is the second busiest airport in Bangladesh, having international service to Middle Eastern destinations such as Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Jeddah, Ras Al Khaimah, Muscat and Kolkata. At present, Middle Eastern low-cost carriers like Flydubai, AirArabia, RAK Airways, Oman Air operate flights to this destinations. It was formerly known as MA Hannan International Airport, but was renamed on 2 April 2005 by the Government of Bangladesh.

Sports[edit]

Chittagong has produced numerous cricketers, footballers and athletes who have performed in national level. Tamim Iqbal, Akram Khan, Minhajul Abedin, Aftab Ahmed, Nafees Iqbal, Nazimuddin, Faisal Hossain are some of the most prominent figures among them. Cricket is the most popular sport in Chittagong, while football, tennis, kabaddi are also popular. A number of stadiums are located in Chittagong with the main stadium being the multipurpose MA Aziz Stadium. It has a seating capacity of 20,000 and hosts football matches in addition to cricket.[75] MA Aziz Stadium was the stadium where Bangladesh achieved its first ever Test cricket victory—which came against Zimbabwe in 2005.[76] The stadium now focuses only on football, and is currently the main football venue of the city. Zohur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, is currently the main cricket venue of the city, which was awarded Test status in 2006, hosting both domestic and international cricket matches. The city hosted two group matches of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011, both of them taking place in Zohur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium.[77] Other stadiums include Women's Complex Ground. Major sporting clubs such as, Mohammedan Sporting Club and Abahani Sporting Club are also located here.

Chittagong is also home to the Bangladesh Premier League franchise Chittagong Kings.

Sister cities[edit]

See also[edit]

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]

Chittagong travel guide from Wikivoyage

Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.  Coordinates: 22°22′N 91°48′E / 22.367°N 91.800°E / 22.367; 91.800