Archaeologists urge no-fire zone at Mrauk-U site

No Comments
People look at an unexploded rocket in Mrauk U township in Rakhine State on March 16. Source: Frontier Myanmar 20190320
People look at an unexploded rocket in Mrauk U township in Rakhine State on March 16. Source: Frontier Myanmar 20190320
People look at an unexploded rocket in Mrauk U township in Rakhine State on March 16. Source: Frontier Myanmar 20190320

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.

Source: Archaeologists urge no-fire zone at Mrauk-U site | The Myanmar Times

See also:

Armed conflict at Mrauk-U damages temples and displaces villagers

No Comments
View from hazy sunset over silhouette Ratanabon Paya in Mrauk-U, Myanmar
View from hazy sunset over silhouette Ratanabon Paya in Mrauk-U, Myanmar
View from hazy sunset over silhouette Ratanabon Paya in Mrauk-U, Myanmar. Stock photos from Shutterstock / isarescheewin

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.

Source: Weekend Fighting in Myanmar’s Rakhine Drives 400 Villagers From Their Homes

See also:

Draft law on heritage sites needs to be stronger, civic groups say

No Comments
Source: Myanmar Times 20190204
Source: Myanmar Times 20190204

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.

Source: Draft law on heritage sites needs to be stronger, civic groups say | The Myanmar Times

Bagan ready for heritage listing experts

No Comments
Source: Myanmar Times 20190125
Source: Myanmar Times 20190125

via Myanmar Times, 25 January 2019:

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

Source: Bagan ready for heritage listing experts | The Myanmar Times

From cursed treasure to British warplanes: the buried mysteries of Myanmar

No Comments
Source: Frontier Myanmar 20190120

via Frontier Myanmar, 20 Jan 2019: A rundown of Myanmar’s archaeological mysteries – some legendary, but some also real and have been featured on this website previously: the search for buried Spitfire warplanes in Yangon, the search for the Dhammazedi bell, and the tomb of the Ayutthaya King Uthumphon near Mandalay.

Source: Frontier Myanmar 20190120

Source: Frontier Myanmar 20190120

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.

Source: From cursed treasure to British warplanes: the buried mysteries of Myanmar | Frontier Myanmar

Restoration project reopens ‘best view in Yangon’

No Comments
via Nikkei Asian Review, 20181208

 

via Nikkei Asian Review, 08 December 2018:

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.

Restoration project reopens ‘best view in Yangon’

Source: Restoration project reopens ‘best view in Yangon’ – Nikkei Asian Review

Shan caves awarded as smoke-free heritage site

No Comments
Buddha statues inside the Shwe Umin Pagoda Paya, Myanmar. Source Nick Fox / Shutterstock

via Myanmar Times, 26 November 2018: The Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance recognizes the Pindaya Buddhist Caves complex for its efforts in making it a smoke-free site.

Buddha statues inside the Shwe Umin Pagoda Paya, Myanmar. Source Nick Fox / Shutterstock

Buddha statues inside the Shwe Umin Pagoda Paya, Myanmar. Source Nick Fox / Shutterstock

The Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance has honoured Pindaya Caves in Shan State with an award for promoting a healthy environment and preserving the uniqueness of its culture by being a smoke-free heritage site.

The Southeast Asian anti-tobacco advocacy group gave the award to Pindaya Caves at the 6th Regional Meeting of Smoke-Free Cities in the Asia-Pacific Region and the Summit of Smoke-Free Leaders in Hoi An, Vietnam, last week.

Source: Shan caves awarded as smoke-free heritage site | The Myanmar Times

Burmese days: Yangon monuments to the rare Chinese who made their fortunes in colonial era

No Comments
Chin Tsong Palace in Yangon. Source: South China Morning Post 20181102

via South China Morning Post, 02 November 2018: Interesting story about heritage houses in Yangon built by Chinese tycoons in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Chin Tsong Palace in Yangon. Source: South China Morning Post 20181102

Chin Tsong Palace in Yangon. Source: South China Morning Post 20181102

Ethnic Chinese accounted for less than 3 per cent of the population of Burma in 1881, a figure that had increased to 8.9 per cent by 1911, at which time Indians made up 56 per cent of the population, according to figures cited in Mapping Chinese Rangoon. By 1931, the Indian population of Rangoon exceeded one million, while the ethnic Chinese population was less than 200,000.

Although the races were not legally forced to live separately, downtown Rangoon was essentially divided into three quarters: the European quarter east of Sule Pagoda Road, the Indian quarter west of Sule Pagoda Road, and the Chinese quarter west of the Indian quarter (starting around Shwedagon Pagoda Road) down to 19th Street – now the culinary heart of Yangon’s Chinatown.

A westward stroll down Maha Bandoola Road takes the visitor past still visibly Indian neighbourhoods, with their mosques and Hindu temples; these slowly make way for Chinatown, with its Guan Yin and Kheng Hock Keong temples, and restaurants serving typical southern Chinese cuisine – noodles and pork, chicken and rice, and the ubiquitous fried rice and fried noodles.

Rangoon’s overseas Chinese were drawn to opportunities the city’s booming commercial port offered. While some came by land, crossing into upper Myanmar from Yunnan province, the majority were Cantonese speakers from Guangdong and Hokkien speakers from Fujian, who came by sea.

Source: Burmese days: Yangon monuments to the rare Chinese who made their fortunes in colonial era | South China Morning Post

Nearly a Dozen Buddha Images Damaged Inside Ancient Rakhine Temple

No Comments
Source: Mrauk-U Archaeological site Facebook group

via The Irrawaddy, 19 October 2018: Another tragic news of vandalism, this time from Mrauk-U. A dozen statues from Laymyethnar Pagoda were smashed by unknown vandals.

Source: Mrauk-U Archaeological site Facebook group

Source: Mrauk-U Archaeological site Facebook group

Authorities and conservationists in Rakhine State suspect local vandals for the damage of nearly a dozen Buddha images inside a 14th century temple Wednesday night in the ancient Arakanese royal capital of Mrauk-U.

Eleven of 28 Buddha images inside Sin Cha Seik Ward’s Lay Myat Hnar Temple were damaged, said Daw Khin Than, who chairs a government-supported conservation group in Mrauk-U.

From the 15th to 19th centuries Mrauk-U was the seat of a succession of Arakanese kings who at their height controlled much of modern-day western Myanmar, including Rakhine State, and eastern Bangladesh. Much of the ancient city remains well preserved and some 380 historic temples are scattered among the lush hills of northern Rakhine.

Source: Nearly a Dozen Buddha Images Damaged Inside Ancient Rakhine Temple

See also: