UNESCO backs Bagan restoration

BAGAN, 28 January 2016: Ministry of Culture’s Archaeological Department says restoration of Bagan’s pagodas damaged in storms, last year, will be completed soon.

Global New Light of Myanmar reported the city gained emergency funding from UNESCO to the tune of USD30,000 for the restoration of temples that were damaged by November storms last year.

The Bagan Conservation Group and the Archaeological Department are joining forces to carry out restoration. Efforts will focus on ancient wall paintings inside the pagodas and on masonry according to the department deputy managing director, U Thein Lwin.

inside no 3Priorities are Sular Mani, Taunggu Ni and Lawka Hteitpan pagodas, as they require urgent restoration on relics and wall murals.

According to Ministry of Culture, the Indian government is also assisting with the restoration of the Ananda Pagoda, removing dirt and imperfections from wall paintings, as well as restoring the brick walls of the pagoda and the grounds around it to their original state.

Evening events and tourist services are prohibited from being held in  the grounds of Myanmar heritage buildings, and legal action will be taken against government departments and travel companies that use pagodas for commercial activities. Some travel firms advertise to their clients that they can arrange gala dinners and parties for corporate and incentive groups in pagoda courtyards or gardens.

According to the most recent records kept by the department, the Bagan Archaeological Zone covers about 42 sq km (16 miles) and has more than 3,000 pagodas. The authority is counting its temples at Bagan to ensure the ancient city can present accurate data for a UNESCO World Heritage listing.

In 2014, Bagan attracted 240,000 tourists who generated USD4.1 million in tourism-related revenue.

Bagan Tour Guide Association estimates international visitor arrivals to the ancient city could reach 500,000 by 2018, double visits in 2015.

The country’s Ministry of Culture is attempting to enforce regulations to protect Bagan as officials seek UNESCO World Heritage status possibly by 2017.

Myanmar has nominated 14 sites for inclusion on the World Heritage List, including Mandalay’s ancient kingdoms and Mrauk U in Arakan State. So far, only the ancient cities of Pyi have been added to the prestigious list.