Capital of Burma CountryCity of Burma
The last royal capital of the Burmese kingdom, Mandalay is its religious heart and owns some of the country's most beautiful pagodas.
Myanamar, Inwa near Mandalay: Burma's hidden capitol
Myanmar's past has been as suppressed as that of its own for half a hundred years for a non-nation. It ended its frontiers to the rest of the globe and with it came culture and culture. Prior to my arrival here, I had generally only ever known about the 1962 army june that took over the land, its violations of women's freedoms and jail.
Certainly I didn't know anything about the ages before the invasion of the Brits and so it was a big shock to be taken to the remains of an antique town and said that it was the Burmese capitol for about 360 years (back and forth) between the fourteenth and nineteenth century. This is much longer than any other capitol in this state.
Its name is Inwa and it is about 20 kilometers from Mandalay. It is particularly interesting because it was constructed on an man-made islet, created around 1300 by linking the Irrawaddy and Myitnge rivers with a channel. Inwa was once encircled by a giant stone walls, apparently forming the shape of a sitting beast.
The remains of the town are quite extensive, and after taking a small ferry to the isle, many horse-drawn sleighs are awaiting to show you around. Ancient Bagaya monastery is made entirely of tea tree and in good shape for something from the 1770s.
Nowadays the 27 metre high watch tower looks awkward and can no longer be climbed. There is the great Maha Aungmye Bonzan Monastery, constructed in 1822, which has rooms and corridors all connected where the cold mountain atmosphere is enclosed by the rock. Occasionally, the old ramparts give you a clue when they appear again behind some tree.
There are old churches on the side of the country lanes, which protect the old Buddha sculptures inside. There' s not an entire town nowadays. In 1839 a string of disastrous quakes devastated most of Inwa and the King decided not to reconstruct but to move to the near-by town of Amapura.
However, it has reemerged and modern living is taking place all over the isle. As with much of Myanmar, the old parts of the country's past have not been too much flooded by progres. This means that although not all buildings are in good shape, you can get a better feeling for the past than in advanced world.
But at least I can find out and see for myself.