Myanmar looks at listing Bagan as a UNESCO World Heritage

Myanmar is developing a comprehensive strategy to secure the inscription of the country’s ancient city of Bagan into the world heritage list, according to recent official reports.

“If Bagan is recognized as a world heritage site, systematic measures can be taken to preserve Bagan’s ancient cultural sites and job opportunities for local people will be created, enabling the country to earn more revenue from tourists,” the report quoted Deputy Minister of Culture Daw Sandar Khin as saying.

DSCF1713A meeting on introducing the strategy called for preservation of the landscape, traditional lacquer art, heritage-oriented administration of the area and development of hotel zones outside the historical site.

Bagan was the first kingdom to unify regions that would later constitute modern Myanmar. From the 11th to 13th centuries, more than 10,000 Buddhist temples, pagodas and monasteries were built. Today, only around 2,000 temples and pagodas exist. Bagan is certainly one of ASEAN most spectacular heritage sites and a true jewel which needs to be protected.

Many heritage specialists rose in the past their concern at ways Myanmar former military government looked at protecting the historical site. Some pagodas were painted in new colours, some others crowned with a modern golden stupa, not to mention a modern tower providing stunning views over the site. UNESCO inception would then help to respect more Bagan’s historical evolution.

The ancient Buddhist edifices of Bagan attract thousands of tourists every month. Bagan welcomed over 300,000 foreign tourists in 2013 and should receive between 450,000 to 500,000 international visitors this year.

In June 2014, Myanmar’s three Pyu ancient cities were inscribed into the World Heritage List for the first time. The three ancient cities are located in the vast irrigated landscapes in the dry zone of the Ayeyawaddy River Basin and reflect the Pyu Kingdom that remained prosperous for over 1,000 years between 200 BC and 900 AD.