Thursday, 8 January 2009

Old Dhaka: Armenian Church

The Lonely Planet guide wasn't lying when it said that this church is an "oasis of tranquillity". It is definitely a place of peace and calm among the mayhem, madness, noise and bustle that is Dhaka. It comes as such a surprising sight among the grubby apartment blocks and squashed together shops with boys playing badminton on the street out the front.

The ginger trimmed with white building that is the Armenian Church of the Holy Resurrection was mostly built in 1781 after an Armenian colony settled in Dhaka in the 17th century. Today nine families remain.

On entry what struck me most was the large number of graves, and there was more on the opposite side of the church. Not only did they fill the grounds but were also under the verandah. Many of the graves still had text that could be read. Some was in English, some in Bangla, maybe not looking at the photo below.

The interior is simple but stunning. with red and blue detail contrasting with the white walls and roof. There was also a lovely circular set of stairs in one corner. It is still used. Armenian Christmas Day is on January 6th but the service is to be held tomorrow on January 9th since that is the day businesses are closed here. We were even invited to return for the service for which a visiting priest is being used.

The caretaker, who has been there for twenty years, welcomes visitors and shows them around. he is also prepared to share what he knows and answer questions you may have. I made a small donation in return.


jammanora said...

I have been here. It was a lovely experience.

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