Chittagong (Bengali: চট্টগ্রাম, Chaṭṭagrām) is the major sea-port and second largest city of Bangladesh. It is located in Chittagong District in the south-eastern portion of the country near Myanmar (Burma). The city was built on the banks of the Karnaphuli River, which ends nearby, in the Bay of Bengal. Chittagong has a population of over 3.5 million, and is continuing to grow. One of the cleanest cities of Bangladesh, it has had an ancient reputation of great mystique and beauty.
The largest sea port of the country, a coveted post which it has held for thousands of years, Chittagong is the main route for almost all of Bangladesh's import and export, and thus generates a huge amount of revenue each year, attracting many investors, both foreign and national. Its harbour also contains extensively developed port facilities, and is particularly suitable for ocean steamers.
The people of the city are diverse and multi-ethnic, and the majority has originated from the Arabs, Afghans, and Mughals, all of whom had travelled and settled in the city after arriving on its shores many hundreds of years ago. The descendents of Portuguese settlers, known as the Firingi, also continue to live in Chittagong, as Catholic Christians, in the old Portuguese enclave of Paterghatta.
The city is also Bangladesh's commercial and manufacturing centre, and home to the country's largest companies, for example M.M. Ispahani, A.K. Khan & Co. Ltd, and the P.H.P. Group. There are large factories located just outside the northern part of the city, and a large eco-park catering to ecologists and forestry-related genetic science has been opened recently in neighbouring Sitakunda.
Chittagong is also home to a few of the most renowned universities of Bangladesh, the International Islamic University of Chittagong, the Chittagong University, established in 1966, the Chittagong College being notable examples. It is the hub of knowledge in the South and many madrassahs (Islamic educational centres) of excellent stature adorn its borders.
The city has also continued to be an influential centre of Islamic ideology, theology, art, architecture, and influence in Bengal, ever since Islam's introduction in the region over 1,200 years ago. Islamic centres and institutions of interest include the Anderkella Jameh Masjid, a beautiful and vast Mosque predating to the Mughal period, the colourful and multi-domed Chandanpura Masjid, the 17th-century Shahi Jameh Masjid of Mughal origin, and the modern and magnificent Jamaat-ul-Falah Masjid, soon to be Bangladesh's largest mosque and Islamic centre.