St Paul’s Catholic Church

Church in Mongla

Built only in 1992, St Paul’s is an unusual piece of architecture: a Catholic church disguised as a mosque, with touches of Buddhist artwork. Embroidered wall hangings depict a Bangladeshi Christ and there are some bold (but plain) stained-glass windows. You’ll notice statues of Christian saints, but also depictions of the Buddhist lotus-flower symbol as well as the crescent of Islam. The church forms part of St Paul’s School, which was founded by Italian missionaries in 1954.

You can purchase beautiful embroideries from the attached sewing centre (open 9am to noon and 2pm to 4pm, closed Sunday). The church is about 1.5km from the town centre. From the main ferry ghat, take the principal thoroughfare heading south out of town, and simply ask for St Paul's School along the way. The church has a separate entrance from the school around the block; take the narrow lane running by the pond. The resident gardener has the keys, and will often take time out to show you around.