via Myanmar Times, 05 April 2019: Following the Cambodia model of cultural heritage and tourism support.
A chinese company is interested in building a theatre in the Bagan heritage zone in Mandalay Region, according to the Department of Archaeology and National Museum in Bagan.
Officials of the Yunnan Culture Industry Investment Holding Co visited Bagan in late March to discuss constructing and opening a theatre. Their objective is to cooperate with resident artists, including ethnic people, to enhance the culture and heritage of Bagan, said U Aung Aung Kyaw, director of the department.
“They came here to make a preliminary study. Our rules, regulations, procedures and the nature of our cultural heritage were explained to them. In Bagan, after sight-seeing in the daytime, there is nothing to do at night, so from a tourism point of view, there might be a need for such a theatre. There are both good and bad points about the idea,” he said.
via Myanmar Times, 02 April 2019: The Myanmar Department of Archaeology, National Museum and Library will commission a survey to look at the effects of the recent armed conflict at the Mrauk-U temples. On a related story (below), a monk petitioned the governor to stop positioning forces on a hill where a historical pagoda is located.
A survey will look at the effects of recent armed clashes on the Mrauk-U historical zone, which is being considered for listing as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, said U Than Htike, director of the Department of Archaeology, National Museum and Library.
Despite the recent fighting between the Tatmadaw (military) and ethnic Arakan Army, the application to list Mrauk-U in Rakhine State as a world heritage site will be submitted in September and the survey will be conducted when the conflict ends.
via the Myanmar Times, 20 Mar 2019: Tensions in Mrauk U as people stay indoors and tourists have cleared out.
Archaeologists want the Mrauk-U cultural heritage zone to be declared off limits to combatants after an artillery shell damaged one of its ancient pagodas during a recent clash between government forces and the Arakan Army.
The Myanmar Archaeology Association urged combatants to avoid the area as it is being prepared for listing as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In last Friday’s clash, an artillery shell hit the historic Mye Hte Pagoda and the security gate of a cultural conservation zone near Tukkathein Pagoda.
Myanmar is a signatory to the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, which urges conflicting parties against targeting cultural heritage areas, using them as forts, or fighting in those areas.
via various news sources, 18-19 March 2019: Reports of armed conflict between the Arakan Army and the Myanmar armed forces in Rakhine. Local villagers have been displaced to flee the conflict zones, while some temples of the Mrauk-U archaeological site have been damaged from weapons fire. Myanmar is currently preparing to nominate Mrauk U as a world heritage site.
Not only residents of Mrauk-U, but also archaeologists are concerned about the effects of the ongoing hostilities in their ancient township.
Battles between Myanmar and Arakan forces damaged some of the township archeological heritage buildings and have become an obstacle to efforts to include the monuments on the UNESCO World Heritage list, residents and archaeologists said.
Hundreds of ancient but well-preserved temples and pagodas that dot the area’s hills are remnants of a powerful empire that existed there from the 15th century to the late 18th century.
“The damage inside the archaeological heritage areas caused by the ongoing fighting could be irreparable,” said Khin Than, chairwoman of the group Mrauk-U Heritage Trust.
“I am concerned that these irreplaceable archaeological treasures won’t be able to survive if there is heavy artillery firing and bombing by airstrikes,” she said. “Locals who live inside the archaeological zone also want peace and stability. Nobody wants war.”
The A-Naut-Myae-Htae pagoda was hit by fallen mortar shells during a night of shooting and shelling in Mrauk-U on March 15, said Than Htike, director of Mrauk-U’s Archaeological Department.
A security tent near the Shite-Thaung pagoda, an iconic monument among Rakhine’s archeological sites, was hit by heavy artillery, while bullets fell in the vicinity, which is designated as an archaeological zone, he said.
via Myanmar Times, 04 Feb 2019: Under the draft Protection and Preservation of Cultural Heritage Law, management of heritage sites would be decentralised to the region and states instead of by the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Culture. I wonder how this might affect the management of the World Heritage sites.
Mandalay residents, civil society organisations (CSOs) and non-governmental groups said the draft amendments of the Protection and Preservation of Cultural Heritage Law needs to be made stronger by including a mechanism for public participation.
The committee for the amendment of the law, which was enacted in 1998, is headed by U Myat Thu, minister for Planning and Finance of the Mandalay Region government.
Last week, the draft was discussed by members of the Pyithu Hluttaw (Lower House) Bill Committee, the Myanmar Archaeology Association and Bagan-Nyaung-U CSOs. The draft is now ready for debate in the Pyithu Hluttaw.
The Department of Archaeology and National Museums is ready to answer questions on the Bagan heritage area from the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), says the department’s director. Richard Mackay, an expert from the council, conducted a survey last September for a report that will be submitted to UNESCO regarding Myanmar’s application to list the ancient city as a World Heritage Site. “We are preparing to answer the questions of the ICOMOS expert, who wants more information before su
DYNASTIC WARS, encounters with pirates and mercenaries, wars with the British and the Japanese occupation have shaped the texture of Myanmar – and left some of its biggest mysteries deep underground. These are a few of the most tantalising.
Wardill and his team are more than a year into restoration of the colonial-era Tourist Burma building. The elegant structure was erected in 1905 by an Indian merchant, who called it the Fytche Square Building, and transformed in 1918 by Ba Nyunt, a local businessman, into Yangon’s first locally owned department store, the Burmese Favourite Company. In 1920, Ba Nyunt’s son Tin New set up the Dagon Magazine Company on the premises, which became a prestigious outlet for local writers.
In 1947, the building was converted for use by the government, initially housing civil servants administering a rations scheme, and eventually passed to the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, which used the ground floor as a visitor information center called Tourist Burma — the name by which the building is now generally known. Since 2005 it has been empty and rotting following the government’s shift from Yangon, formerly known as Rangoon, to Naypyidaw, the new capital of Myanmar, formerly known as Burma.