Most people do not even know that this amazing place exists. Bagan (or Pagan) is an ancient city in Myanmar (Burma) with a fascinating history. Writing, literature, fine arts, and architecture of modern Myanmar have originated from here. Bagan is often referred to as the City of Four Million Pagodas (or temples). No wonder — just take a look at the photo!
The Ruins of the Four Million Pagodas
The ruins of Bagan cover an area of 16 square miles. It is the richest archeological site in South-East Asia. Most of the buildings in Bagan have been built from 1000 to 1200 AD. The great city has 2230 architectural monuments left. About 1000 temples have been destroyed and 600 have been washed away by the currents of the Irrawaddy River during summer floods. Given the number of monuments of historical importance, the city rightly bears its nickname of the “City of Four Million Pagodas”.
A Bit of History
The city’s original name was Arimaddana Pura (which means the “City that Tramples on Enemies”). The rapid growth of Bagan was a stunning historical phenomenon. A powerful state has developed — by historical standards — almost in no time having conquered the world with its magnificent pieces of art, flourishing religion, and a perfect administrative system. Scientists are puzzled with the possible reasons for such a rapid development because no documentary evidence has survived.
Bagan became the capital of the First Burmese Empire in 874. Throughout the long history of this place, rulers have been repeatedly replaced here. Later, monks made Bagan the religious and cultural center of the state when they proclaimed Buddhism as the state religion. In the 12th and 13th centuries, the city became a true cosmopolitan center of Buddhism. Monks and students from India, Sri Lanka, as well as Thai and Khmer Kingdoms came here. In 1287, the kingdom was captured by the Mongols when they refused to pay tributes to Khan Kublai. Abandoned by the Burmese king and by the Mongols, the city ceased to function as a political center, but it still flourished as a center of religion and science. Today, Bagan is a place of great historical importance and is a must-see place for everyone.
You will not have to pick a special season to visit Bagan since it never rains here so the weather is always the same, always nice and sunny. Thousands of tourists come to Bagan every year to admire this beautiful place.