Sixty Dome Mosque - A 15th Century Marvel
Widely considered to be one of the most impressive Muslim structures in Bangladesh, if not the entire Indian subcontinent, the Sixty Dome Mosque in Bagerhat is a major tourist attraction in the area, forming part of the cultural UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the Historic Mosque City of Bagerhat. The Sixty Dome Mosque, which is also referred to as the Saith Gunbad Masjid or Shait Gumbad Mosque, in fact consists of more than seventy domes, with the roof being supported in the interior by a multitude of columns and arches, forming a myriad of aisles and bays.
The mosque was built in the 15th century by Khan Jahan Ali, a Muslim Saint of Turkish origin who was a ruler in the area at the time. The thick brick walls of the Sixty Dome Mosque taper to the roofline in the Tughlaq dynasty style of architecture. It is rectangular in shape with eleven arched doorways on the east side, seven doorways each on the north and south sides and a single door on the west, as well as a circular tower on each corner. The mosque has a total of ten mihrabs indicating the direction of Mecca and is primarily decorated with terracotta.
The Sixty Dome Mosque was originally surrounded by protective walls with two gates, but only the magnificently arched eastern gate remains, giving some indication of the magnitude of the walls when they were intact. Although time and the elements have taken their toll on this magnificent structure, it is nonetheless worth visiting when exploring the fascinating country of Bangladesh.