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Mandalay is the second largest city and the last royal capital of Myanmar. It is located 445 miles (712 km) north of Yangon on the eastern bank of Ayeyarwady River. It has a population of one million and is the capital of the Mandalay Region (formerly Mandalay Division). When it was founded in 1857, the royal city was officially named Yadanabon which means "The City of Gems". The palace was constructed in 1857 and completed in 1861, in Myanmar traditional architectural style. The city was completely damaged in World War II, including the royal palace, which has been reconstructed. Mandalay is the cultural center of Myanmar and it is surrounded by other ancient royal capitals. It is also famous for exquisite handicrafts such as hand-woven embroidery in silk and cotton, the incredible process of making gold leaves, wood and stone carving and, bronze casting.

Maha Muni Pagoda

Tradition says that the Image has been cast during the life-time of the Gautama Buddha and that the Buddha himself embraced it 7 times thereby, bringing it to life. Consequently, devout Buddhists hold it to be alive and refer to it as the Maha Muni Sacred Living Image. Revered as the holiest pagoda in Mandalay, It was built by King Bodawpaya in 1784. The image is in a sitting posture and it is 12 feet and 7 inches (3.8 m) high. As the image was brought from Rakhine State it was also called the Great Rakhine Buddha. Every early morning, monks and people come to the pagoda to wash the image’s face and to make offerings of water, food, flowers, candles and incense. The Great Image is also considered as the greatest, next to the Shwedagon Pagoda, in Myanmar. A visit to Mandalay is incomplete without a visit to Maha Muni Pagoda.

Mandalay Hill

It has for long been a holy mount. Legend has it that the Buddha, on his visit, had prophesied that a great city would be founded at its foot. The Hill has 230 metres in elevation and there is a scenic view of Mandalay, the plains surrounding it, the Shan Mountain, as well as the Ayeyarwaddy River. This place is famous for its beautiful sunsets.

Mandalay Palace

Originally it was constructed in 1857, but the whole magnificent palace complex was destroyed by a fire during World War II. However, the finely built palace walls, the city gates with their crowning wooden pavilions and the surrounding moat still represent an impressive scene of the Mandalay Palace, "Mya-nan-san-kyaw Shwenandaw", which has been rebuilt in 1990. A model of the Mandalay Palace, Nanmyint-saung and Cultural Museum are located inside the Palace grounds.

Shwenandaw Monastery

This monastery is an ornately carved and fully gilt teak building with glass mosaic work inside. There is a replica of the royal throne in the shrine room. Originally it was an apartment of the palace. In this apartment King Mindon died after a prolonged illness. His son and successor King Thibaw moved this apartment in 1880 to the present place and turned it into a monastery for his royal father to get religious merit.

Kuthodaw Pagoda

It was built by King Mindon in 1857 and this pagoda was modeled on the Shwezigon Pagoda in Bagan. This pagoda is surrounded by 729 upright stone slabs on which are inscribed the entire Buddhist Scriptures as edited and approved by the Fifth Buddhist Synod. It is popularly known as "the World's Biggest Book" for its stone scriptures.


Atumashi Monastery

The " Atumashi Kyaung ", which literally means the inimitable monastery, is also one of the well known sights in Myanmar. The original structure was destroyed by a fire in 1890 although the masonry plinth survived. It was indeed an inimitable one in its time. The reconstruction project was started by the government on the 2nd of May 1995 and completed in June 1996.

Zeygyo Market

Zeygyo Market, covering 12 acres (4.86 hectares), was founded during the reign of King Mindon. It was the principal distribution center for beans, citrus fruit, cotton, nuts, onions, rice, tobacco and wheat as well as the main market for jewelry and handicrafts such as silver and gold embroidery. The market was totally destroyed by fire in 1897 and rebuilt in 1903 with a masonry structure designed by an Italian, Count Conte Caldrari. In the 1990s, the colonial structure was pulled down and replaced with a Chinese-style shopping center.


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