Sylhet (Bengali: সিলেট) is a major urban center in north-east Bangladesh. It is the principal city and administrative capital of Sylhet Division. The city is located on the banks of Surma River in the Barak Vallery and has a population of 500,000 people, making it the fourth largest city in Bangladesh.
Sylhet is known in Bengal as the ''City of Sufis'' and the ''City of Saints''. It is home to the mausoleums and mosques of Shah Jalal and Shah Paran, Bengal's most revered Sufi saints. Every year, the city receives hundreds and thousands of pilgrims to the Dargahs of Shah Jalal and Shah Paran, earning a reputation as the ''spiritual capital of Bangladesh''. Sylhet is also famed for its natural setting, amidst rainforests, waterfalls, hills and river valleys.
Located in the heart of Bangladesh's tea country, Sylhet is a hub of the tea industry. Many Sylhetis have emigrated abroad over the years, and the city receives some of the highest annual remittance inflows in Bangladesh, particularly from the British Bangladeshi community. These remittances have fuelled a real estate and construction boom. Sylhet is also a center of the Bangladeshi oil and gas sector, with the country's largest natural gas reserves located in Sylhet Division.
As the northeastern frontier of Bengal and its crossroads with Assam, Sylhet had developed a distinct Bengali cultural identity. This includes the distinct Sylheti Bengali dialect and Sylheti cuisine, as well as Sylheti mystic culture, which celebrates religion and pluralism in Bengal. Rabindranath Tagore, the great Bengali poet and first Asian Nobel laureate, took tremendous inspiration from these traditions, particularly from the poetry and songs of Hason Raja.
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