Video Tour of Bagan, Myanmar

During our time in Bagan we made our home base in Nyaung U, which is northeast of the city. Nyaung U is a bustling river town with much more “action” then the ‘Bagan Archaeological Zone’. More hotels and restaurants to choose from during our stay.

Main Tourist Street in Nyaung

This was a history stop and therefore you need to know some facts about Bagan’s past in order to understand what you are going to see in the video.

Note: Information taken for internet sources.

Intro:

The Bagan Archaeological Zone is a main draw for the country’s nascent tourism industry. It is seen by many as equal in attraction to Angkor Wat in Cambodia. [Editor’s note: We have been to both now and I would NOT say Bagan is up to Angkor’s standards].

History:

From 1044 to 1287, Bagan was the capital as well as the political, economic and cultural nerve center of the Pagan Empire. Over the course of 250 years, Bagan’s rulers and their wealthy subjects constructed over 10,000 religious monuments (approximately 1000 stupas, 10,000 small temples and 3000 monasteries) in an area of 104 square kilometres (40 sq mi) in the Bagan plains.

The culture of Bagan was dominated by religion. The religion of Bagan was fluid, syncretic and by later standards, unorthodox. It was largely a continuation of religious trends in the Pyu era where Theravada Buddhism co-existed with Mahayana Buddhism, Tantric Buddhism, various Hindu schools as well as native animist traditions. The Pagan Empire collapsed in 1287 due to repeated Mongol invasions (1277–1301).

Damage from earthquakes

20th century to present:

Located in an active earthquake zone, had suffered from many earthquakes over the ages, with over 400 recorded earthquakes between 1904 and 1975. The last major earthquake came on 8 July 1975, reaching 8 MM in Bagan and Myinkaba, and 7 MM in Nyaung-U. The quake damaged many temples, in many cases severely and irreparably. Today, 2229 temples and pagodas remain.

Many of these damaged pagodas underwent restorations in the 1990s by the military government, which sought to make Bagan an international tourist destination. However, the restoration efforts instead drew widespread condemnation from art historians and preservationists worldwide. Critics are aghast that the restorations paid little attention to original architectural styles, and used modern materials, and that the government has also established a golf course, a paved highway, and built a 61-meter (200-foot) watchtower. Although the government believed that the ancient capital’s hundreds of (unrestored) temples and large corpus of stone inscriptions were more than sufficient to win the designation of UNESCO World Heritage Site, the city has not been so designated, allegedly mainly on account of the restorations.


Now that you have a quick background of the Bagan, check out the tour!

Please follow along on my trip though Myanmar!

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