Bagan to build viewpoints

BAGAN, 13 September 2016: Japan International Cooperation Agency will submit details of a construction project for fixed viewpoints in Bagan by the end of this month.

Global New Light of Myanmar reported the project had been delayed for more than two years due to opposition from authorities.

But obstacles have been overcome and the recent earthquake illustrated the potential dangers of allowing visitors access to climb pagodas to secure a better view.

inside no 3The viewpoints will be located south of  Sularmuni pagoda and at Ko Mauk Kan’s bank near West Phwar Saw village. The bank will be heightened to afford a good good view of the pagoda landscape, the report said.

Bagan’s Ancient Culture Department director, U Aung Kyaw, was quoted saying: “We agreed with the project but need a management plans to arrange the project.”

JICA has to file a report on how the viewpoints would be maintained once constructed.

The sole purpose of the viewpoints is to eliminate the need to climb pagodas to take photographs of the panoramic views of the ancient sites.

But authorities want JICA to illustrate how the viewpoints will be maintained and the how the sites will manage car parking and shops located nearby. There are concerns that without proper management the sites could turn into a public eyesore and detract from the natural beauty of the historical zone.

The ancient pagodas, some almost 1,000 years old, attract visitors who are keen to photograph the pagodas at sunset. Bagan has more than 3,000 ancient pagodas, of which five are the most popular: Shwesandaw, Thitsarwady, Pyathetgyi, Shwenanyindaw and Oah Chan Pae Kone. Another popular but pricier option is to take a sunset cruise on the Ayeyarwady River.

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.

According to the department official figures, 397 pagodas and temples were damaged by a 6.8 magnitude earthquake when it hit central Myanmar, 25 August.

Four people died and close to 400 of the 2,200 pagodas, temples, monasteries and other structures in the historical park were damaged.

The Ministry of Religion and Culture, Department of Archaeology, Museums and Libraries and experts from UNESCO, have joined forces to repair the quake-hit pagodas.

Bagan welcomed about 250,000 tourists in 2015 and it is expects arrivals to the ancient city could reach 500,000 by 2018.