Panam city is one of the most endangered historic sites in the world and is a subject of significant archaeological and artistic interest.
The silent city is situated at Sonargaon of Narayanganj district around 40 kilometres off the capital, Dhaka.
Sonargaon, the city of gold was a historic administrative, commercial and maritime center in Bengal. It was the seat of the medieval Muslim rulers and governors of eastern Bengal.
The city was described by numerous historic travelers, including Ibn Battuta, Ma Huan, Niccolò de' Conti and Ralph Fitch as a thriving center of trade and commerce. It served as the capital of Sultan Fakhruddin Mubarak Shah, Isa Khan and the Baro-Bhuyan Confederacy.
Most of Sonargaon’s masonry buildings suffer from rising damp while biological and insect damage has affected the architectural woodwork.
Monuments and structures of Panam, built blending the Indo-European architectural styles, reflect the socio-economic condition and lifestyle of merchants and the elite class in the British colonial period, said Architect Abu Sayeed, president of Institute of Architects.
At present there are more than 50 buildings in both sides of a road established in the late of the 19th century. The city was established as a trading center of cotton fabrics during British rule.
Hindu cloth merchants built their residential houses following colonial style with inspiration derived from European sources.
Today this area is protected under the department of archaeology of Bangladesh. The city area was surrounded by Pankhiraj Khal (lake).
The real owners left the buildings in 1965 during the war between India and Pakistan. The silent city's monuments suffered from illegal occupation since then.
The New York-based World Monument Fund in 2006 included Panam Nagar in its World Monuments Watch List of 100 Most Endangered Sites.
According to the organisation, the structures in the former capital of Bengal will be totally ruined and lost to posterity unless preservation measures are taken immediately.