Capital of Burma MapMap of Burma
Bombardier BBC NEWS | Asia Pacific | Burma's new capital revealed
Burma's army leaders have shown their new capital to the outside for the first ever. Naypyidaw, or residence of royalty, will be constructed about 460 km northern of the old capital Rangoon. So far only a few outside parties have been able to go there, but the international press have been summoned to the capital to see the massive Armed Forces Day procession.
Burma's rugged and crowded streets give way to the slippery eight-lane highways as you get closer to the new capital. The city of Naypyidaw is being constructed on a huge and flamboyant site in an area of several hundred kilometers squared in a bush landscape. They are being designed for all those who had to move out of the former capital Rangoon a year and a half ago.
Burma's lonely guide, General Than Shwe, now resides here. We had a brief look at him this mornin' as he visited thousand of parade forces on Armed Forces Day. Certainly in its secluded new capital, the army still shows no sign of easing its influence on Burma.
Moulmein, Myanmar's first capital city, back on the map - IN SHOOL
Moulmein, in former days known as " Little England ", could be better described today as "Little Yangon". Moulmein and Yangon were both capital of the once-brish Burma settlement, now Myanmar, and this has given both towns a treasury of colorful architectural treasures. After the first Anglo-Burmese conflict, the Britons selected Moulmein as their capital because of the safety port at the estuary of the Salween River into the Gulf of Martaban.
Moulmein, today Mawlamyine, is sheltered by the Bilu Islands, which lies above the Salween and separates the city from theulf. From 1826 to 1852 the British in Moulmein constructed administrative buildings, church and a huge jail. The majority of these architectonic jewels, even the jail, are still used today as administrative buildings, which is even more serious after 150 years.
"We plan to do something with the colorful buildings," said Aung Naing Moe, director of the Mon Ethnic Museum in Moulmein. "But at the moment we are more interested in carrying out some archeological excavations in Thaton and Martaban related to the Mon culture," he said. Moulmein and Yangon agree on another thing, the Mon.
The two towns were initially populated by the Mon, an ethnical group that in the Middle Ages moved to the main coastlines of Myanmar and Thailand. They founded the towns of Pathein, in the Irrawaddy River valley, Yangon and Bago, in the eastern banks of theulf.
Her dominance in lower Myanmar ended with the ascent of Tabin Shwe-ti, who became king of Pagan in 1531 and quickly began to conquer all competing empires. In 1540, he conquered Martaban, the last Moner. Martaban's total devastation could account for why there is so little to see today of this "once tremendously rich" seaside city, which lies on the Salween River just south of Moulmein.
"I found Martaban's square, the palatial sideboard and the trench wall," said San Win, a Mon resigning from the Myanmar Ministry of Culture's Historical Depart. San Win also wants to dig up another site, that of Thaton, the first Mon colony, which he says could be the primal "Suvarnabhumi" or the mythical "Golden Land".
Some other Myanmar scholars have questioned this notion. "The name of Suvarnabhumi comes from India at a period when India's traders were sailing east and receiving goods in trade for gold," said Toe Hla, deputy chair of the Myanmar Historical Commission. "That'?s why they named Southeast Asia Suvarnabhumi." Thaton or Martaban would be welcome as new touristic places, Suvarnabhumi or not.
Today, Martaban from the north tip of Moulmein has little more than a beautiful panorama of a pagoda-covered hill. Until a few years ago Moulmein was a limited tourist attraction for Westerners for security reasons. Safety issues seem to have moved to the state of Rakhine (home of Ngapali Island Beaches Resort), where in 2012 cultist force between Buddhist and Islamic societies erupted.
"Because of the difficulties in the Rakhine last year, travel operators had to find a new tourist destination in Ngapali, making Moulmein more and more popular," said Ye Man, General Director of the Strand Hotel in Moulmein. Usually the route for most West European visitors in the Mon state involves a stop at the Golden Rock Pagoda, Moulmein and a detour to Hpa-an, the capital of the neighboring state of Karen (Kayin).