Abstract In this paper, circular contourlet transform (CCT) is proposed, designed and realized. As in the classical contourlet transform (CT), a double filter bank structure is also considered in this work but in different manners. A circularly-decomposed filter bank is first used to capture the points of discontinuities in the image edges, and then followed by a directional filter bank to obtain smoothed contours. The resulting CCT contains a critically sampled filter bank that decomposes images into any power of two's number of directional subbands at multiple scales. The designed CCT is realized by 2-D lattice allpass sections with separable and non-separable 2-D functions of z1 and z2. The resulting structure preserves both modularity and regularity properties which are suitable for VLSI implementations. Objectively, the performances of the realized CCT are tested and proved to be better than the classical CT in detail image preservation. The resulting subband images also indicate the superiority of the proposed CCT.Keywords: Circular contourlet transform, Contourlet transform, Laplacian pyramid, Directional filter bank, 2-D lattice allpass sections, Multiresolution (multiscale & multidirection) analysis.