Officially called Barishal, the city is in south-central Bangladesh, and lies in the delta of the Padma and Jamuna rivers on the bank of the Kirtankhola river.
Considered the largest city and administrative headquarter of both Barisal district and Barisal Division. Barishal is one of the oldest municipalities and river ports of the country.
According to a 2011 national census, the population of Barisal stands at nearly .38 million people with 51.63% male and 48.37% female.
The literacy rate is 75.3% which is higher than the national average of 56.5%.
The four major languages that are spoken: standard Bengali, barisali dialect (which doesn’t have a written form), English, and marginalized Bengali which is a mix of northern Bengali dialects spoken by migrant workers from different parts of Bangladesh.
Religion-wise, the majority are Muslims (89.30%), Hindus are 9.7%, and others are Christians (.98%) and Buddhists (.01%).
Since 2015, the Catholic minority has its own Roman Catholic Diocese of Barisal.
Barishal is considered a rice-producing center of BD. Balam (a kind of Basmati) is the most popular rice in Barisal.
Since the city is surrounded by rivers, fish is plenty. There’s even a Bengali saying “Dhan, nadi, khal ai teen e Barisal” which means “paddy, river, and canal are the three things that make Barisal.”
Coconut is a common fruit as it’s near the coast.
Barisal got its name from a natural phenomenon known as Barisal guns, which are booming sounds heard near lakes and rivers which is due to seismic activity underwater, first heard by the British in the 19th century.
Barisal was conquered by Muhammad bin Bakhtiyar Khalji and was later a territory for the Delhi and Bengal Sultanate.
The territory became a semi-independent area in the Mughal period because of heavy fighting between Muslim and Hindu chiefs. It later fell under the Bengal Nawabs.
During ancient times, Barishal was called Chandrodip. During Medieval Islamic times it was called Ismailpur and Bacola in English.
Ralph Fitch was the Englishman to visit Bengal during the mid-1580s and described Barisal as very great and fruitful.
The city is often called the “Venice of the East,” “Venice of Bengal” or the “Paradise of Bengal.”
Some famous points of interest include Miah Bari Masjid, Sharkal Fort, Oxford Mission Church, and Durga Sagar which is the largest lake in Southern Bangladesh.