Wednesday, 25 February 2015 03:04

U Paing inside

Mandalay is surrounded by ancient capitals which were founded by different royal dynasties during the 12th to 19th centuries.


The Pyu Empire ruled from Bagan starting in approximately 849CE until the 1297CE victory of the second invasion of the Mongols under Kublai Khan.   After the fall of the Bagan kingdom a period of anarchy ensued until a new royal capital was established in Sagaing from 1315 until 1364.


A further new Shan kingdom emerged in Inwa/Ava under King Thadominbya in 1364. Five different kingdoms called Inwa home until 1839 when it was hit by a series of earthquakes and was demolished beyond repair.


The capital was moved to Amarapura by King Tharrawaddy in 1842.  In 1852, King Mindon began building Mandalay as his new capital city, and Amarapura officially ceased being the capital on 23 May 1859.


Most of the capitals are now in ruins because of the impermanence of their wooden structures (in keeping with Buddhist traditions), warring states and natural disasters, but there are still thousands of well-tended white stone or golden stupas to explore which glimmer from hilltops and road sides everywhere, and parts of ancient structures to help picture what was once there.  These ancient capitols of Myanmar deserve the UNESCO designation of World Heritage Sites.

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