Hanoi, Vietnam -- (SBWIRE) -- 09/23/2013 -- While Yangon is the modern capital of Myanmar and Mandalay is the spiritual and cultural capital, if you want to look at the geopolitical and historical capital of this great country, you need to look to the Northwest, to the historical city of Bagan for you to truly appreciate the historical heart of Myanmarese culture. Just like with any post colonial political entity, Myanmar’ borders were crafted due to British political expediences instead of its actual ethnic cultural and historical lines. In fact, a lot of the current headaches in the continent of Africa would be solved if modern borders were set using historical, ethnic and cultural lines instead of colonial era administrative regions. Be that as it may, Myanmar’s current borders don’t truly do justice to its cultural borders throughout history. By traveling to Bagan, you would see first hand the precolonial splendor and power of Myanmar during the dark ages in Europe as well as gain a unique peek into precolonial Myanmarese history which makes it definitely worth the trip.
There’s just something mind boggling about Bagan. We’re talking about hundreds of hundreds of pagodas. It takes a lot of manpower, resources and organizational planning plus effort to construct a pagoda, much less a hundred of them. In addition to this, Bagan also is the location of the historical capital of Myanmar’s arguably greatest local kingdom. Bagan both as an architectural depository as well as a historical location is witnessed to the confluence of geopolitical forces arising from India to the west and China to the Northeast. As you can well imagine, like being caught between a rock in a hot place the location of Bagan and the Myanmarese kingdom at that time was quite a precarious one. This location was also a hotbed of economic and cultural influences. Indian, Thai, Vietnamese and Chinese traders came from all sides to do business. It would not be inaccurate to describe precolonial Bagan at its height as a melting pot and as a crossroad for Southeast Asia at that time. Just like any cosmopolitan area that acts as a trade and political crossroad, there was a lot of affluence in the rich material culture that came with it.
Precolonial Myanmarese History
To truly understand the place that you are visiting, you should always try to look at its history. You can really never understand why people do the things that they do and believe the things that they believe in if you don’t look at their history. Hisotyr lays the groundwork of any culture's identity. This is true with Americans and British and this is definitely true with the Myanmarese. As mentioned above, the modern borders in Mynamar is pretty much a colonial era invention. As such, there are many different ethnic groups within Myanmar that are struggling for autonomy or outright independence. By visiting Bagan, you can get a glimpse of its history and why there are such current ethnic tensions within Myanmar. Just like with any country, just because it has a solid boundary doesn't mean that it collates with its cultural and ethnic boundaries as well. This is especially true of the Balkans as well as the Caucasus in many parts of Africa.
Add Bagan’s Exotic Excitement to Your Myanmar Travel Itinerary
Many travelers in Myanmar cap off their visit to this exotic and historical destination. By getting into a hot air balloon and viewing the ancient city of Bagan from seven hundred feet, the view would blow you away and it’s a great way to cap off your trip to one of Southeast Asian’s best kept travel secrets. Your Myanmar travel plans will not be complete without staying at least a day or two at Bagan. You really do soak in and absorb Myanmarese culture and history through this city.
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