Myanmar reopens ancient palace to attract tourists


YANGON (TVLW) – Myanmar has reopened an ancient palace in Bagan, northern part of the country, to attract more tourists in a bid to promote the development of tourism, the state-run newspaper New Light of Myanmar reported Thursday.

The Thiri Zeya Bumi Bagan Golden Palace of Myanmar’s first ancient empire King Anawratha is among the four ancient palaces rebuilt after 1988, based on its original architectural style and is claimed as the most glorious one. The other three are Kambawzathadi Palace in Bago, Shwebon Yadana Mingalar Palace in Shwebo and Mya Nann San Kyaw Palace in Mandalay.

King Anawrahta reunified Myanmar in 1044, establishing the Bagan empire historically and starting to extensively build Buddhist pagodas and temples to promote and propagate Theravada Buddhism (Little Vehicle).

In a bid to preserve cultural heritage for posterity and attract tourists, the Myanmar Ministry of Culture started the reconstruction of the Thiri Zeya Bumi Bagan golden palace a few years ago.

In conjunction with the palace project in the Bagan archaeological region, tourism infrastructures such as a 13-story Nanmyint viewing tower of 60 meters high and 16 meters wide and attached with a hotel, was also rebuilt and opened in April 2005.

There are four hotel zones in Bagan made up of 80 hotels, motels and inns with nearly 2,000 rooms which have been upgraded to serve visitors.

Bagan, which stood as an ancient capital from 11th to 13th centuries and Buddhist center with about 10,000 pagodas and religious structures spreading more than 80 square kilometers, now remains with over 2,000 ruins.

Meanwhile, Myanmar is considering to designate some two townships of Bago and Pyay in Bago division as other hotel zones in the country to lay down future tourism-related work, said the Hoteliers Association.

Local statistics show that in the fiscal year of 2006-07, a total of 654,602 foreign tourists visited Myanmar, which has over 600 hotels with 23,000 rooms as well as 700 travel and tour companies.

Contracted foreign investment in the sector of hotels and tourism has so far amounted to 1.06 billion U.S. dollars since Myanmar started to open to such investment in late 1988, accounting for 7.1 percent of the country’s total foreign investment. The investment in hotel projects amounted to over 580 million dollars.