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Chittagong (Bengali: চ্রাম, Chôţţogram) is Bangladeshmarker's main seaport and its second-largest city. The capital of the eponymous districtmarker and divisionmarker, it is situated in the southeastern portion of the country, and was built on the banks of the Karnaphuli River, which ends nearby, in the Bay of Bengalmarker. The city has a population over 2.5 million, and is constantly growing. According to a report released by International Institute for Environment and Development, a UK-based policy research non-governmental body, Chittagong is one of among the 3 Bangladeshi cities, which have made it (10th) into the list of 100 fastest growing cities in the world. Much of the city is surrounded by hilly terrains. The Chittagong Hill Tracts range is situated nearby.

Being the country's primary port, Chittagong is the main route for almost all of Bangladesh's import and export, generating a major portion of the country's annual revenue and being its commercial center Its harbor contains extensively developed port facilities and is particularly suitable for ocean steamers. Two large environmental centers ("ecoparks"), catering to ecology and forestry-related research, have recently been built in neighboring Sitakundamarker and Bashkhali.


Chittagong has been a seaport since ancient times. Arabs traded with the port from the 9th Century AD. The Chittagong region was under the Vesali kingdom of Arakan during the Sixth to Eighth Centuries and under the Mrauk Umarker kingdom of Arakan in the 16th and 17th Centuries. Chittagong had been under the control of the Arakanese or kings of Arakan for hundreds of years. An account by historian Lama Taranath has revealed a Buddhist king Gopichandra had his capital at Chittagong in the Tenth Century, and according to Tibetan tradition, Chittagong was the birthplace of the Buddhist Tantric Tilayogi, who lived and worked in the Tenth Century. In the Fourteenth Century, explorer Ibn Battuta passed through Chittagong during his travels.

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 regained Chittagong. From this time onward, until its conquest by the Mughals, this region was under the control of the Portuguese and the Magh pirates (a notorious name for Arakanese) for 128 years.

Ships moored off Chittagong in the late 1820s.

The Mughal Commandar Bujurg Umed Khan expelled the Arakanese from the area in 1666 and established Mughal rule there. They renamed Chittagong as Islamabad. The city was occupied by Burmesemarker troops shortly in First Anglo-Burmese War in 1824 and the British increasingly grew active in the region and it fell under the British Empire. The people of Chittagong made several attempts to gain independence from the British, notably on November 18, 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).

Chittaong grew at the beginning of the twentieth century after the partition of Bengal and the creation of the province of Eastern Bengal and Assam. 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 received news of communal riots and massacres of Muslims in Calcuttamarker and other parts of India in 1925. Terrorism was never far from the surface and one group of Hindu youths under the leadership of Masterda Surya Sen formed the secret Republican Army and set up training camps were youths to train in terrorist tactics against the British. During this time the leaders of the women revolutionaries were Pritilata Waddedar, Bina Das, Lila Ray, Kalpana Dutta, and others The hostility culminated on the night of 18 April 1930, when the revolutionaries led by Surya Sen looted the Armoury and the Magazine House of the Auxiliary Corps, and occupied the telephone and telegraph offices, thus disconnecting all communications. However the rebellion was suppressed and Sen was arrested and hanged 20 February 1933, ending terrorist activities in Chittagong.

US Navy sailors in Chittagong, 1944

During World War II, the British used Chittagong as an important military base. Frequent bombardment by the Japanese air force, notably in April 1942 and again on 20 and 24 December 1942, resulted in military relocation to Comillamarker. Neverless 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.

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 Airportmarker is now located. The former villages of Halishahar, Askarabad and Agrabad became intergrated 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 and a master plan covering an area of . 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 plan for drainage and flood-protection of Chittagong City and a plan for easing the traffic congestion and making the system more efficient.

The port was blocked during the liberation war

During the Bangladesh War of Liberation of 1971, Chittagong suffered massive losses in people and buildings given that they denied the occupation army access to the port. The first public announcement ever made over the radio declaring Independence and the start of the War of Liberation was also made in in the city, 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 retained its functioning as a port within a few years.

Geography and climate

Under the Köppen climate classification, Chittagong has a tropical monsoon climate. Chittagong is located at on the banks of the Karnaphuli River. It has a total area of . The city is known for its vast hilly terrain that stretches throughout the entire district and eventually into Indiamarker. Chittagong does not contain any natural lakes, but it does have artificial lakes.

Civil administration

Court building
Chittagong is the divisional headquarters for the Chittagong Divisionmarker. The divisional commissioner is the highest ranking government official and is the chief coordinator of all 11 districts. He is assisted with 3 additional divisional commissioners. Chittagong Districtmarker also has a deputy commissioner. The city areas are divided into several wards and mahallas, under the jurisdiction of the Chittagong City Corporation.

People and culture

The people of the city are diverse and multi-ethnic, and the native Bengali and Tibeto-Burman populations have had significant influence from Arab, Afghanmarker, and Mughal traders and settlers, all of whom had travelled in the city after arriving on its shores many hundreds of years ago. There are many Tibeto-Burman tribes that have been influenced by Bengali culture also living there, such as the Chakma tribe. The descendants of Portuguesemarker settlers, known as the Firingi, also continue to live in Chittagong, as Catholic Christians, in the old Portuguesemarker enclave of Paterghatta. Chittagong is home to many of the historic Christians of Bangladesh. In 1927, the city was made the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Chittagong.Chittagong is also home to several of the most renowned universities of Bangladesh namely Chittagong University (ESTD 1966), Chittagong University of Engineering and Technology(CUET).There is also another renowned private university namely INTERNATIONAL ISLAMIC UNIVERSITY CHITTAGONG which is situated in Chawkbajar and Kumira. Private universities such as University of Science and Technology Chittagong established in 1992 located in Foy's Lake, Southern University Bangladesh, Mehedibagh, Chittagong established in the year 1998 being notable examples. The multi-national Asian University for Women was established in 2008 with an inaugural class of 130 young women from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, India, Pakistan and Cambodia.

The city also has many madrasas (Islamic educational schools) within its borders.

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.


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-markers. Described by the Chinese traveler poet, Huen Tsang (7th century A.D) as "a sleeping beauty emerging from mists and water" and given the title of "Porto Grande" by the 16th century Portuguese seafarers.

Patenga is a popular tourist spot. The beach is very close to Bangladesh Naval Academy of Bangladesh Navy, and Shah Amanat International Airport. The beach width is narrow and swimming in the seas is not recommended. Part of the seashore is built-up with concrete walls. Also large blocks of stones have been laid out to prevent erosion. During 1990s a host of restaurants and kiosks have sprouted out around the beach area. After the sun-down, drug-peddlers start to approach visitors. Also, alcohol peddling is very common. Lighting of the beach area has enhanced the security aspect of visiting in the evening.

Foy's Lake is a man-made lake in Chittagong, Bangladesh. It was dug in 1924 and was named after the Railway engineer Foy. An amusement park, managed by the Concord group, is located here. The lake is next to Batali Hill, the highest hill in Chittagong Metropolitan area

Economy and development

Port of Chittagong
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. Ship breaking was introduced to the area in 1969. This industry is concentrated at Fauzdarhat, a long beach north-west of Chittagong. Chittagong is also home to a large number of industries from small to heavy. It has automobile industries, oil refinery, pharmaceutical plants, chemical plants, export processing zones, steel mills etc. The privately owned Korean export processing zone is also located in Chittagong.

The city of Chittagong had been long neglected by the Bangladeshi government, until the turn of the century when exports grew by 21.13% to an all time high of $8.02 billion.. 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. Major business houses of Bangladesh such as M.M Ispahani, A.K Khan and Co. , Habib Group, PHP Group, KDS Group , S. Alam Group, Mostafa Group and T.K Group are all residents of Chittagong.
Ship breaking near Chittagong, Bangladesh

Most of the International trading are believed to be done from Khatunganj & Asadganj area. The Sawdagars (traditional businessman) of Chittagong still controls the entire Bangladesh Market in this import oriented country.

Agrabad is often known as Chittagong's chief commercial region. Several companies such as HSBC and Standard Chartered have offices stationed in the city. Numerous investments have allowed for a construction boom similar to Dhakamarker. Over the years, scores of hotels, shopping centers, and other modern buildings have sprung up to change the face of the city. Ongoing developments include various multi-story shopping malls and a Chittagong World Trade Centre.

According to CityMayors Statistics[46326] Chittagong registered a GDP of $16 billion in 2005 with an annual growth rate of 6.3%. It is estimated that in 2020 the GDP of Chittagong will be $39 billion..


Cheragi Pahar Circle
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. The university is located in a remote place from the city (22 km north) of Chittagong. Therefore, it has free shuttle trains service from 7:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M. for students. There are bus services for the faculties and other staffs. With a modest beginning of 4 departments in 1966, the University of Chittagong has grown to 8 individual faculties, 35 departments, 3 institutes and 3 research centers. It has 3 affiliated Medical colleges under the Faculty of Medicine and 1 Veterinary Medicine College under the faculty of Veterinary Medicine. The veterinary medical college has recently been upgraded into a separate University. As such the number of faculties at present is 7. Current student enrolment is more than 15,000.

The other public university is Chittagong University of Engineering and Technology, established in 1968. CUET, with only about 2100 students and 8 academic departments, strongly emphasis in theoretical, applied, and interdisciplinary scientific and technological education. In addition to these, the university undertakes research works sponsored by local industries and national/international organizations, such as United Nations Organizations, Commonwealth Foundation, University Grants Commission, etc. As a center of excellence, CUET is not only continuing as the focal point for the development and dissemination of engineering and technological know-how within the country, but also it is involved to solve complicated practical problems of national importance faced by the planners, engineers and technologists of the country. The University is situated by the side of the Chittagong-Kaptai road some 25 kilometers off from the center of Chittagong City.

Recently Chittagong Govt Veterinary College(CGVC) has been upgraded to Chittagong Veterinary and Animal Sciences University(CVASU) which is consisting of one faculty with 300 students providing theoretical, out campus work based learning and excellent scientific and technological education. It is the first university in Bangladesh of this type. Moreover, International Islamic University Chittagong (IIUC) is one of the best private university situated at Chittagong, Bangladesh.

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 Board of Education.


Transport in Chittagong is similar to that of Bangladesh's capital, Dhaka. 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.

Chittagong has a station on the narrow gauge eastern section of the Bangladesh Railway. The headquarters of this railway are located here. There are main two railway stations in Station road Chittagong. Trains are available traveling to the Bangladeshi cities of Dhaka, Shylhet, Comilla, and Bhairav.
Shah Amanat International Airportmarker serves as Chittagong's international airport. It is the second busiest airport in Bangladesh. It has international service to destinations such as Abu Dhabimarker, Dubaimarker, Sharjahmarker, Jeddahmarker, Kuwaitmarker, Bahrainmarker, Qatarmarker, Ras Al Khaimahmarker, Kolkatamarker, Yangonmarker, Muscatmarker, Bangkokmarker and Kuala lumpurmarker. It was formerly known as MA Hannan International Airport, but was renamed on April 2, 2005 by the Government of Bangladesh.


Many Chittagong natives speak Chittagonian (চাটগাঁইয়া Chaţgaiã), an Indo-European language of the Eastern Indic group. 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.

Sister Cities

See also


  1. Chittagong web page

External links

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