The area around the present small township of Bagerhat, known in the Middle Ages as the Mosque-city of Khalifatabad, seems to have been an unfriendly tract in the remote past to attract urban habitation. In view of its location near the sea coast of the Bay of Bengal, densely wooded with low mangrove forest and its attending hazards, it has always been a relatively negative tract in the population map as long as the sea and the forest were close. Despite these natural hazards and the inhospitable climate a flourishing Muslim colony sprang up in 15th century around a stately Mosque, now known as the Shait Gumbad Masjid. Unfortunately the identity of the great saint-general who established for the first time a Muslim colony in this forbidding area is shrouded in obscurity beyond his name engraved on his grave as Ulugh Khan Jahan. The surviving buildings at old Khalifatabad, dominantly mosques, present a style that is distinct from the rest of the contemporary building style of the country, but bear affinity to the Tughlaq architecture around Delhi, erected a century earlier. The author Dr. Nazimuddin Ahmed has briefly presented in this guidebook an account of the surviving monuments in and around Bagerhat with whatever scrap of history and tradition that are associated with the great man. This illustrated guidebook also highlights the problems of their preservation and the various efforts initiated by the national government and UNESCO/UNDP for their preservation.
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