Chittagong (), officially known as Chattogram, is a major coastal city and financial centre in southeastern Bangladesh. The city has a population of more than 2.5 million while the metropolitan area had a population of 4,009,423 in 2011, making it the second-largest city in the country. It is the capital of an eponymous District and Division. The city is located on the banks of the Karnaphuli River between the Chittagong Hill Tracts and the Bay of Bengal. Much of Chittagong Division is located within the ecological Indo-Burma zone on the boundary of the India Plate and Burma Plate. This makes Chittagong the crossroads of the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia.
The natural harbour of Chittagong is an ancient gateway to the region of Bengal. It was noted as one of the largest Eastern ports by the Roman geographer Ptolemy in the 1st century. As part of the rich seafaring tradition of the Bengali people, coastal Chittagong was settled and ruled by different regional kingdoms. Arab traders saw well-developed currency, banking and shipping in Chittagong during the 9th century. Early cosmopolitan Muslims established dominance over the port as an entrepôt of maritime trade, while Arakan, Bengal and Tripura competed for control of the wider hinterland. Muslim conquest took place in the 14th century. Chittagong became the principal port of the Bengal Sultanate. It was used by several leading medieval global explorers, including Ibn Battuta and Niccolò de' Conti. Later, Mrauk U, with assistance from Portuguese trading posts, gained control of the area. The Mughal conquest of Chittagong reestablished Bengali control and ushered an era of stability and trade. The city was renamed as Islamabad. This diverse history is reflected in the rural Chittagonian dialect of Bengali, which has a nearly 50% Arabic-origin vocabulary, as well as Persian and Portuguese loanwords.
Ceded to the British East India Company in 1760, Chittagong became the chief port of Eastern Bengal and Assam under the British Raj, as well as a hub of railways. A notable anti-colonial uprising took place in 1930. It was an important base for Allied forces during the Burma Campaign in World War II. Rapid industrialization followed the war, as Chittagong became part of East Pakistan. During the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971, Chittagong was site of the country’s declaration of independence.
The Port of Chittagong is the largest seaport in Bangladesh, located by the estuary of the Karnaphuli River in Patenga, near the city of Chittagong. It is a deepwater seaport dominated by trade in containerised manufactured products (especially garments, jute and jute goods, leather products, fertilisers and seafood), raw materials and to a lesser extent passengers. It is one of the two main sea port of Bangladesh - most of the export and import of the country are handled via this port.
Window berthing system was introduced at the seaport on August 6, 2007, enabling the sea port to provide the arrival and departure times of all ships. Two berths at the port terminal are kept in reserve for emergency. In 2006 the port handled 27 million tonnes of cargo and 0.8 million tonnes of containers. The port handled 1.5 million TEUs (twenty equivalent units) containers in 2010-11, up from 12.12 lakh TEUs in the previous year, according to the CPA Traffic Department. (continued...)
Photo credit: Mohammed Abdullah
Boli Khela or Bali Khela is a traditional form of wrestling in Bangladesh, particularly popular in the Chittagong area considered as a national game of the district.