BAGAN, 26 October 2016: Restoration of nearly 400 earthquake-hit ancient temples and pagodas in Bagan will start after New Year celebrations.
Some 400 pagodas and temples, out of a total of 3,252 across the Bagan plain, were damaged when a 6.8 magnitude earthquake struck Myanmar, 24 August.
Irrawaddy News reported that officials from Bagan’s Department of Archaeology, National Museum and Library will be responsible for repairs at 389 damaged pagodas with foreign experts providing support.
Bagan’s Department of Archaeology director, Aung Aung Kyaw, was quoted saying the findings of the detailed assessment will be presented, this week, and based on the outcome work should start early next year, possibly in early January.
The first priority is to repair 36 pagodas that could collapse if nothing is done, followed by 53 temples that are in urgent need of restoration work but are not in danger of collapse.
Finally temples that suffered minor damage will be repaired. The restoration will take up to five years to complete.
Bagan is an ancient city located in Mandalay Region, built between the 9th and 11th centuries, during an era when some 55 Buddhist kings ruled the Bagan Dynasty.
Myanmar’s branch of the World Heritage Site Committee plans to nominate the Bagan Archaeological Zone for UNESCO’s World Heritage list in 2017 for consideration at the agency’s annual convention in 2019.
Officials claim the earthquake did not delay the application process with UNESCO. It is likely to be accepted within two years as earlier estimated.
Bagan welcomed about 250,000 tourists in 2015 and it is expects visits to the ancient city could reach 500,000 by 2018.