Mrauk-U restoration fraught with problems

Monuments in Mrauk-U improperly restored. Source: The Irrawaddy 20160224

A news report from the Irrawaddy highlights various problems with a recent campaign to restore the monuments of Mrauk-U in western Myanmar: improper restoration techniques, unauthorised construction and mismanagement of funds.

Monuments in Mrauk-U improperly restored. Source: The Irrawaddy 20160224
Monuments in Mrauk-U improperly restored. Source: The Irrawaddy 20160224

The Million Dollar Mismanagement of Mrauk U
The Irrawady, 24 February 2016

At Mrauk U, Living Heritage and Crumbling Splendor in Need of Conservation
The Irrawady, 26 February 2016

At Mrauk U, Living Heritage and Crumbling Splendor in Need of Conservation
The Irrawady, 26 February 2016

Throughout outgoing President Thein Sein’s term, the Arakan State government spent 1.5 billion kyats (over US$1.2 million) to preserve the remnants of the ancient Arakanese Mrauk U kingdom, according to the state’s annual audit report.

Yet some officials connected with the project allege that it has been fraught with mismanagement. Khin Than, chairperson of Mrauk U-based Heritage Trust, claims that halls within two famous temple complexes—the Ko-thaung and Shite-thaung pagodas—were damaged by government contractors’ negligence. New shrines were built alongside originals, she added—constructed out of concrete and sandstone.

Archaeologists and scholars of Mrauk U, which boasts more than 1,500 documented temples, have advocated for its classification as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but fear that unscrupulous renovation of the ancient locale will put such an achievement further from reach.

Full story here and here.

Related Posts

Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.