Mogok City

City of Mogok

The lake and the pagoda-covered mountains surrounding the city are as spectacular as the gems of Mogok. Is Mogok preparing for the celebration of his 80th anniversary? Local people are hoping that the festivities will put'Rubinland' on the touristic agenda. Plans have started for the 800-year jubilee of gem stone discoveries and the ensuing creation of Mogok, which today accounts for 90 per cent of the world's ruby production. It will take place from March 29-31 at Mhone Kwin Feld in the centre of Mogok and includes a show by renowned artist Mogok Pauk Pauk and evenings of renowned local singer.

"Mogok, known as'Rubinland', is a city renowned worldwide for the excellence of its ruby. Mogok gem trading dates back 800 years," said Dr. Thet Thet Khine, Mogoker-born and a member of the Mogok 800-year celebrations comittee.

U Thein Lwin, in his work Padamyar Myay (Ruby Land), sketches the most widely acknowledged tale of the foundation of Mogok. It tells that three missing fighters in 1217 found Ruby at the foot of a crumbled heap. Returning to their home town of Momeik with the scarlet gemstones, the fighters invited the man from São Paulo who then ordered his guard to build a town on the site of today's Mogok.

The ethnical cultures, their traditions, their foods, flowers as well as their flora are also important tourist attractions," said Dr. Thet Thet Khine. However, U Min Thura, a Mogok inhabitant and information official of the Jubilee Commission, said that Mogok' s quarrying of gems goes back even further - to the Bagan period of the ninth world war.

Myanmar Encyclopedia indicates that Mogok ruby has been used in King's jewellery for over 1000 years. However, just like the fate of the aforementioned kingly gemstones, specific proofs of a shift in the time line of the first detection of gemstones in Mogok are in short supply. However, there is little doubts that the booty of Rubinland has been contributing immeasurable riches to mighty kings and elite for hundreds of years, said U Min Thura.

While Mogok is known for its ruby, its inhabitants hardly enjoys the wealth of their home because the mines are tampered with by wealthy peopl. Mogok is situated in a hilly Shan River plain 200 kilometers from Mandalay and is known for the production of high grade ruby and other gemstones such as Sapphire, Garnets and Moonstone.

Mogok' 166,000 inhabitants are a mixture of Burmese, Shan, Palaung, Lisu, Pa-O, Chin, Kokang and Golkha, many of whom work in the city's coal and gem trade. Over the past ten years, young Mogok citizens have left their home town in pursuit of work, most of whom have moved to Yangon to work in the services sectors, or to Tanai to work in the mine.

Many inhabitants of Mogok depend on the extraction, trade, sawing and polish of precious stones for their livelihood - work that can often be hazardous and exploit. The Htar Pwe (Gem Market) is one of the city' s major characteristics, where vendors from Mogok and the surrounding cities meet to buy raw stones.

Mogok could at last put the 800-year festivities on the touristic agenda and provide jobs in the youth travel business, said U Min Thura. "Increasing numbers of overseas and domestic visitors would be a blessing for those companies involved in mining," he added. However, a condition that the Ministry of Hotels and Travel and the Mandalay Government grant a permit for visiting Mogok is an obstacle to the development of Mogok.

Hluttaw's agent from Mogok has asked the Mandalay administration to relax tourist travelling limits in good season for the festivities. Mogok' still isn't on their itinerary.... But we want to help the city through this three-day celebration," said Dr Thet Thet Khine.

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