A vast expanse of green in the heart of the city's brick-and-mortar matrix, the Maidan is where Kolkata's residents congregate for walks, spirited cricket and football matches, family outings, dates, tonga rides and general idling. The grounds are flanked by the Victoria Memorial and St Paul's Cathedral to the south and the Hooghly riverbanks to the west. A tram line cuts through the greens, and hopping onto of the carriages for a slow ride is great fun.
Historically, the Maidan was created in in 1758, in the aftermath of the ‘Black Hole’ fiasco. A moated ‘second’ Fort William, it was shaped in octagonal, Vaubanesque form, and the whole village of Gobindapur was flattened to give the new fort’s cannons a clear line of fire. Though sad for then-residents, this created a 3km-long park that is today as fundamental to Kolkata as Central Park is to New York City. Fort William itself remains hidden within a walled military zone.