Sonargaon-Panam City

World Monuments Watch
Sonargaon, Bangladesh

2006 and 2008 World Monuments Watch

As the capital of the fifteenth-century Bengal ruler Isa Khan, and once an important trading and political center, Sonargaon boasts architecture of the Sultanate, Mughal, and colonial periods. The Sonargaon historic city, located near the present-day capital of Dhaka, includes several Mughal monuments—among them the Sonakanda River Fort, the Panch Pir Mazar Shrine, and Ibrahim's and Abdul Hamid's Mosque. British colonial architecture preserved in Sonargaon includes the Ananda Mohan Piddar House, and other street-front houses. For travelers making their way along the 2,500-kilometer Grand Trunk Road from Peshawar in the Hindu Kush, Sonargaon marked the end of the line. Threats to the site include flooding, vandalism, unauthorized occupation, illegal development, poor maintenance, and earthquakes. The low-lying terrain of Bangladesh is especially vulnerable to the impacts of global climate change, particularly flooding and rising sea levels. Currently, most of Sonargaon's masonry buildings suffer from rising damp and biological and insect damage to architectural woodwork. Structural failure is evident in some buildings. At several significant monuments, restoration works have been undertaken in an ad hoc fashion by the nation's Department of Archaeology; however that institution lacks sufficient funding to carry out the considerable conservation work needed at the site, and requires additional support to develop plans for the city's future.

Last updated:
July 2008

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