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Bagan, Myanmar 

Bagan, Myanmar is an ancient city located on the banks of the Ayeyarwaddy River, approximately 300 miles north of the capital city of Yangon. Thousands of temples, pagodas and shrines were built in Bagan from the 11th to the 13th century, and remain well preserved today, making it one of the most extensive archaeological sites of the period any where in the world. In addition, Bagan is considered to be a very significant religious site, as it claims to be the resting place of several relics of the Buddha. Although Myanmar’s reputation on the international front is certainly not great, the people are remarkably friendly, and the political situation is improving, albeit at a relatively slow pace. However, Myanmar remains one of the countries least affected by Western culture.


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Visa Requirements

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Tips to the Traveler

A Brief History of Bagan

The city of Bagan was originally founded on the Ayeyawaddy River in 849 AD, and once served as the capital of the first kingdom in ancient Burma. The ascension of King Anawratha to the throne in 1044 marked the beginning of Bagan’s “golden era”. During this era Buddhism took a firm hold in Burma, with King Anawratha’s conversion in 1056, and was subsequently followed by a battle with the Mon King Manuba of Bago over the rights to the Tripitaka, sacred Buddhist scripts. After a siege of Bago, which lasted a few months, King Manuba ultimately surrendered the Tripitaka to King Anawratha, who in turn sacked Bago and transported the sacred scripts back to Bagan on 32 white elephants. In addition, the army succeeded in capturing some 30,000 prisoners of war, primarily skilled artists and craftsman who would help to shape the kingdom’s architectural style in the years to come. This is the reason for the obvious Mon influence in most of the temples, pagodas, and shrines at Bagan. During this period, Bagan experienced a tremendous level of growth, and it was during this “golden age” that most of the construction was completed at Bagan. This construction continued up until the late 13th century when Mongolian horsemen under Kublai Khan pillaged and burned Bagan. This defeat marked the end of an era, as Bagan ultimately dissolved into a number of smaller kingdoms.

Visa Requirements

Tourist visas for Myanmar are available for a fee of US $18.00, and are valid for 28 days. Visas should be arranged at the embassy prior to departure. For tourist visas the applicant should bring 2 passport-sized photos, and a computer-generated itinerary showing paid return travel accommodations.

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