Venice of the East
|Granted city status||19 April 2001|
|• Body||Barishal City Corporation|
|• Mayor||Abul Khair Abdullah|
|• Police commissioner||Md. Saiful Islam, BPM(Bar)|
|• Urban||58 km2 (22 sq mi)|
|Elevation||1 m (4 ft)|
|• Density||10,524/km2 (27,260/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+6 (BST)|
|National calling code||+880|
|Police||Barisal Metropolitan Police|
|Domestic airport||Barisal Airport|
Barisal (/ / or / /; Bengali: বরিশাল, pronounced [boɾiʃal]),[a] officially known as Barishal, is a major city that lies on the banks of the Kirtankhola river in south-central Bangladesh. It is the largest city and the administrative headquarter of both Barisal District[b] and Barisal Division. It is one of the oldest municipalities and river ports of the country. The city was once called the Venice of the East or the Venice of Bengal.
Barisal municipality was established in 1876 during the British rule in India and upgraded to City Corporation on 25 July 2002. Barisal is Bangladesh's third largest financial hub after Dhaka and Chittagong. The city consists of 30 wards and 50 mahallas with a population of 533,000 according to the 2023 national census and with the voter of about 250,000 according to the 2018 voter list of city election. The area of the city is 58 km2.
Barisal was conquered by Muhammad bin Bakhtiyar Khalji and was later a significant territory of the Delhi Sultanate and Bengal Sultanate. After the decline of the Suri Empire, the territory became a semi-independent area in the Mughal period because of heavy fighting between the Muslims and Hindu chiefs, although most parts of the city were totally under the control of the governors of the proto-industrialised Bengal Subah. In course of time, it fell under the Bengal Nawabs. Raja Ramranjan Chakravarty was put as a de jure king during the Bengal Presidency of the British, later passed to East Pakistan at independence and finally Bangladesh.
In ancient times, it was called Chandradwip (চন্দ্রদ্বীপ), while furing the Medieval Islamic times it was also known as Ismailpur & Bacola (বাকলা) in Europe. Ralph Fitch, the first ever Englishman, a leather merchant, known to have visited Bengal in the mid 1580s, described Barisal in his journal as, "From Chatigan in Bengal, I came to Bacola; the king whereof is a Gentile, a man very well disposed and delighted much to shoot in a gun. His country is very great and fruitful, and hath store of rice, much cotton cloth, and cloth of silk. The houses are very fair and high built, the streets large, and people naked, except a little cloth about their waist. The women wear a great store of silver hoops about their necks and arms, and their legs are ringed with silver and copper, and rings made from elephants' teeth."
The central city of this region is the city of Barisal. It is one of the biggest river ports in Bangladesh. It is a city with nearly 0.38 million people and a divisional headquarters, medical college, cadet college, some pharmaceutical industries, textile industries and the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority's head office. Barisal is fast growing city of the country stands on the Kirtankhola River. Country's first short landing and take off airport has been completed in Barisal and a private Airlines named Air Bengal has begun its regular air flight between Dhaka Hazrat Shahjalal Airport and Barisal.
"Barisal guns" is a natural phenomenon named after Barisal; it is kind of a booming sound heard near lakes and rivers which is due to seismic activity under water, first heard in this region by the British in the 19th century.
According to provisional results of the 2011 national census, the population of Barisal (areas under the jurisdiction of the Barisal city corporation) stands at 328,278. By gender, the population was 51.63% male and 48.37% female.
Most people in Barisal are Bengalis. The long-standing inhabitants of the city are known as Barisaliya and the most spoken Bengali dialect of this region is known as Barisali. Apart from them, the city population is composed of people from neighboring upazilas and districts (Patuakhali, Bhola, Pirojpur, Jhalakati, Barguna).
The majority of Barisal's people are Muslims (89.30%), mainly Sunni Islam of the Hanafi school. Other religious groups include Hindus (9.7%), and very few numbers of other religions, mainly Christians (0.98%) and Buddhists (0.01%).
Barisal city occupies an area of 58 km2.
Barisal District, with an area of 2790.51 km2, is bounded by Madaripur, Shariatpur, Chandpur and Lakshmipur districts on the north, Patuakhali, Barguna and Jhalokati District on the south, Bhola and Lakshmipur districts on the east, Jhalokati, Pirojpur and Gopalganj districts on the west. Several rivers flow across Barisal including the Kirtankhola, Arial Khan, Khoyrabad, Kalijira and Sandha.
|Average high °C (°F)||25.5
|Daily mean °C (°F)||17.9
|Average low °C (°F)||12.0
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||10.3
|Average rainy days||2||4||4||8||12||16||20||19||13||7||3||1||109|
|Average relative humidity (%)||81||78||76||80||83||88||90||89||89||87||84||83||84|
|Source: Bangladesh Meteorological Department|
Points of interest
Durga Sagar in Madhabpasha
Shohel Chattar, Bibir Pukur Par
Padma Pukur, Barisal
Bell's Park aka Bangabandhu Udyan
30 Godown Freedom Fighters Monument
Barisal collectorete building
Barisal city at night
Durga Sagar: with an area of about 2,500 hectare, is the largest pond or dighi of southern Bangladesh. It is located at Madhabpasa village of babuganj upazila, about 11 km away from Barisal town. Locally it is known as Madhabpasha Dighi. According to a desire of Rani Durgavati, mother of Raja Joynarayan, the dighi was dug in 1780 (1187 BS). There are coconut trees around the dighi which together with the dighi are bounded by brick-walls. In the middle of the dighi, there is an island with bushes. Migratory birds usually come here during winter. The surrounding areas of the dighi has now been turned into a picnic spot. Madhabpasha was a capital of the kingdom of Chandradvipa.
Lakhutia: located approximately 8km from Barisal’s central business district, the Roy family estate is known as ‘Lakhutia’ (note: there are several variations of the spelling of this word, including ‘Lakutia’ and ‘Lakhotia’). The Lakhutia zamindar estate was founded by Roop Chandra Roy in the late 17th century. Apart from the main mansion itself, the estate has several Shiva temples and large ponds on the vast property. The Lakhutia mansion – including the Roy family’s personal property, was effectively destroyed during the extraordinary violence of the 1950 East Pakistan Riots, and then again later during the 1971 Bangladesh genocide. While most of Lakhutia was destroyed during the 1950 and 1971 riots and genocide, the historical site and sparse remains of the mansion remain one of Barisal’s main tourist attractions.
- Durga Sagar
- Baitul Aman Jame Masjid Complex
- Oxford Mission Church
- Bell's Park aka Bangubandhu Udyan
- Rupatoli area
- 30 Godown
- Planet Park
- Muktijoddha Park
- Narikel Bagan & Horticulture (Agriculture Training Institute)
- Lakhutia Zamindar Bari
- Korapur Miah Bari Masjid
- Shankar Math
- Town Hall
- Sher-e-Bangla Memorial Museum
- Bir Sreshtho Captain Mohiuddin Jahangir Library and Museum
- Jibanananda Das Museum
- Dapdapia Bridge
- Bibir Pukur
- Shahid Shukkur-Gafur Memorial Park, Amanatganj
- Taltali Bridge, Amanatganj
- Padma Pukur (Pond of Lotus)
- Kali Mandir founded by the Poet Mukunda Das
- BadhyaBhumi Monument (বধ্যভূমি স্মৃতিসৌধ)
- Bangladesh Rice Research Institute Regional Centre (Coconut Garden)
Barisal's buildings are too diverse to be characterised by any particular architectural style, and have been built over a long period of time.
Some well known heritage buildings are:
- Guthia Baitul Aman Jame Mashjid Complex
- Kamalapur Mosque
- Rammohan Samadhi Mandir
- Sujabad Kella
- Sangram Kella
- Sharkal Fort
- Girja Mahalla
- Bangabondhu Uddyan
- Ebadullah Mosque
- Kasai Mosque
- Oxford Mission Church
- Shankar Math
- Kali Bari of Mukunda Das
- Joint Mosque at Bhatikhana
- Aswini kumar town hall
- Durgasagar Dighi
- One domed Qasba Mosque
- Fakir Bari Jame Mosjid
- Housing Estate Jame Mosjid
- Barisal Zilla School Building
Cricket and football are the two most popular sports in Barisal while tennis and kabaddi are also popular. There is a national stadium in the city known as Barisal Divisional Stadium (also known as Abdur Rab Serniabad Stadium). It is a multi-purpose stadium and has a capacity of 15,000 spectators. It is currently used mostly for cricket matches. It is also used for football and other sports. Besides different organization share to stage a show there occasionally. Notable players from Barisal who have played for the national team include Shahriar Nafees, Sohag Gazi, Kamrul Islam Rabbi and Fazle Mahmud.
There is a regional sports training centre under Bangladesh Krira Shiksha Pratisthan (BKSP) situated at Rahamatpur in Barisal Barisal is also home to the Bangladesh Premier League franchise Fortune Barishal.
Barisal River Port is the second largest river port of Bangladesh. It is the most popular way of communication for the people of Barisal to Dhaka, the capital city. It is also a popular transport system with other districts like Bhola, Barguna, Lakshmipur.
Barisal is connected to most other regions of the country via the N8 national highway. There are two bus terminals in Barisal, Nathullabad Central Bus terminal and Rupatali Bus Terminal, which connect Barisal to other districts.
Barisal is home to many educational institutions. Govt. Brojomohan College is the oldest institution of higher education in the city, founded in 1889. There is a public university University of Barisal and two private universities, a government medical college Sher-e-Bangla Medical College (SBMC), a textile engineering college Shaheed Abdur Rab Serniabat Textile Engineering College and an engineering college Barisal Engineering College. There are also educational institutions like Barisal Zilla School, Barisal Cadet College, Govt. Syed Hatem Ali College, Government Women's College, Govt. Barisal College, Amrita Lal Dey College, Barisal Govt. Girls High School, Barisal Model School and College and Barisal Asmat Ali Khan Institution (A.K. School). Besides these there are three teacher training colleges, a Government Polytechnic institute, two technical institutes, a homeopathic college and a social welfare training centre.
Major institutions include:
- Amrita Lal Dey College
- Barisal Cadet College
- Barisal Engineering College
- Barisal Government Women's College
- Barisal Govt. Polytechnic Institute
- Barisal Zilla School
- Brojomohun College
- Government Syed Hatem Ali College
- Shaheed Abdur Rab Serniabat Textile Engineering College
- Sher-e-Bangla Medical College
- University of Barisal
Barisal is a center for the newspaper, periodical and book publishers. Some locally published newspapers and periodicals are:
- Daily Ajker Barisal
- Daily Ajker Barta
- Daily Ajker Poribartan
- Daily Banglar Bone
- Daily Barisal Barta
- Daily Barisal Bhorer Alo
- Daily Barisal Pratidin
- Daily Bhorer Angikar
- Daily Biplobi Bangladesh
- Daily Dakkhinanchal
- Daily Motobad
- Daily Satya Songbad
- Daily Shahnama
- Bakerganj Parikrama
- Chirantan Bangla
- Gournadi Parikrama
- Jago Nare
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