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Armenian church in Dhaka
Armenian churches of old Dhaka, an ancient Christian places of worship. It was established in 1781. It is located in the old city Armanitola. If necessary, trade in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, many Armenian capital has arrived. The Armenians were in place prior to the construction of churches, a cemetery. The church donated the land for the tip Menace kaytchik. The financial crisis in 1880, the church was closed alarm. In 1897, an earthquake devastated the church is the house of the clock. Armenian community in the church cemetery.
Following the domination of their homeland by Persian powers of the time, Armenians were sent by their new rulers to the Bengal region for both political and economic reasons. Although the Armenian presence in South Asia is now insignificant, their presence in Dhaka dates back to the 17th century. Armenians came to Dhaka for business, and have been acknowledged for displaying a passion for trade comparable to that of the Bengalis of the time. In Dhaka, Armenian merchants traded in jute and leather, and profitability in these businesses convinced some to move permanently to Bangladesh. The area where they lived became known as Armanitola.
In faith, the Armenians were Christians belonging to Greek or Orthodox Church. They built churches wherever they settled. Armenian churches and secular monuments in Chinsura, Saidabad, Murshidabad, Calcutta and Dhaka are still extant. The early Armenian settlers built a small chapel in the midst of their community graveyard. By the end of the 18th century the Armenian community had grown considerably and the chapel was found inadequate for the needs of the community.
So the chapel was replaced by the Holy Resurrection Church with major donations by Agah Catchick Minas who donated the land and Michael Sarkies, Astwasatoor Gavork, Margar Pogose and Khojah Petrus for construction costs. Before this church had been built the Armenians were interned beside the Roman Catholic Church at Tejgaon. The church was completed in 1781 and consecrated by His Grace Bishop Ephreim.
The belfry was added in 1837 through donations of another merchant, Johannes Carapiet Sarkies. In the fifty years following the church’s construction, a clock tower was erected on its western side. Allegedly, the clock could be heard four miles away, and people sychronised their watches with the sound of the tower’s bell. The clock stopped in 1880, and an earthquake destroyed the tower in 1897. In 1910, a parsonage was added and the floor of the church was decorated with marble, and electric lights, a donation by Arathoon Stephen of Calcutta.
The plan of Armenian church is rectangular. Features include an arched gate and an arched door. There are a total of four doors and 27 windows. The main floor is divided into three parts: a pulpit enclosed by railings, a middle section with two folding doors, and an area separated by a wooden fence for seating women and children. There is a spiral staircase into the church.
In the old graveyard, amongst the 350 people buried there, a statue stands at the grave of Catachik Avatik Thomas, portraying his wife. The statue was bought from Kolkata and the grave is inscribed with the words “Best of Husbands.”
Today, the Armenian church is usually closed. It has been the subject of BBC and AFP documentaries, and has received recognition from the Bangladeshi government as an archaeological site under the jurisdiction of the department of architecture.
Have you ever visited the Armenian Church in Dhaka? Share your experience with us in comments!