Myanmar’s Bagan named UNESCO World Heritage

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Ancient temple in Bagan, Myanmar © Arno Maierbrugger.JPG

Myanmar’s ancient city of Bagan has been approved for inclusion on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, more than two decades after it was first nominated.

During its meeting in Baku on July 6, the 21-member World Heritage Committee announced the decision to include Bagan together with six other cultural sites on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. The other sites added are located in Canada, Czech Republic (2), Germany, South Korea and Poland.

Bagan becomes Myanmar’s second addition to the World Heritage List, after the three ancient Pyu cities of Sri Ksetra, Hanlin and Beikthano, which were listed in 2014.

Myanmar first nominated Bagan for inclusion on the World Heritage List in 1995 but its efforts have been plagued by challenges and controversies, including over renovations that critics say have compromised the architectural integrity of the site, and inappropriate commercial development.

In Myanmar’s final dossier, submitted in January, it pledged to implement a management plan for the Bagan heritage zone that covers local businesses, social issues, agriculture, transportation and tourism, among other things.

Bagan rose to prominence in the 10th century and until its fall in 1287 was the capital of an empire that stretched from near the modern border with China to Tanintharyi Region in the south.

A 2017 survey by the Association of Myanmar Architects showed that there were 3,822 monuments in Bagan, including temples, stupas and monasteries.

Many of Bagan’s ancient pagodas and temples were damaged in an earthquake in 2016, raising concern about the future of the site. At the time, the Department of Archaeology and National Museum announced that 300 monuments needed renovation.

The Myanmar government has pledged to remove all hotels from the existing archaeological sites to a dedicated hotel zone by 2028. Fulfilling this promise, and meeting other conservation targets, will be the key criteria for Bagan to stay on the World Heritage List. However, at least one hotel operator, Myanmar’s Eden Group, has said it will to appeal to the authorities over the ban.

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Ancient temple in Bagan, Myanmar © Arno Maierbrugger.JPG Myanmar’s ancient city of Bagan has been approved for inclusion on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, more than two decades after it was first nominated. During its meeting in Baku on July 6, the 21-member World Heritage Committee announced the decision to include Bagan together with six other cultural sites on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. The other sites added are located in Canada, Czech Republic (2), Germany, South Korea and Poland. Bagan becomes Myanmar’s second addition to the World Heritage List, after the three ancient Pyu cities of Sri Ksetra, Hanlin and Beikthano,...

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Auto Draft
Ancient temple in Bagan, Myanmar © Arno Maierbrugger.JPG

Myanmar’s ancient city of Bagan has been approved for inclusion on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, more than two decades after it was first nominated.

During its meeting in Baku on July 6, the 21-member World Heritage Committee announced the decision to include Bagan together with six other cultural sites on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. The other sites added are located in Canada, Czech Republic (2), Germany, South Korea and Poland.

Bagan becomes Myanmar’s second addition to the World Heritage List, after the three ancient Pyu cities of Sri Ksetra, Hanlin and Beikthano, which were listed in 2014.

Myanmar first nominated Bagan for inclusion on the World Heritage List in 1995 but its efforts have been plagued by challenges and controversies, including over renovations that critics say have compromised the architectural integrity of the site, and inappropriate commercial development.

In Myanmar’s final dossier, submitted in January, it pledged to implement a management plan for the Bagan heritage zone that covers local businesses, social issues, agriculture, transportation and tourism, among other things.

Bagan rose to prominence in the 10th century and until its fall in 1287 was the capital of an empire that stretched from near the modern border with China to Tanintharyi Region in the south.

A 2017 survey by the Association of Myanmar Architects showed that there were 3,822 monuments in Bagan, including temples, stupas and monasteries.

Many of Bagan’s ancient pagodas and temples were damaged in an earthquake in 2016, raising concern about the future of the site. At the time, the Department of Archaeology and National Museum announced that 300 monuments needed renovation.

The Myanmar government has pledged to remove all hotels from the existing archaeological sites to a dedicated hotel zone by 2028. Fulfilling this promise, and meeting other conservation targets, will be the key criteria for Bagan to stay on the World Heritage List. However, at least one hotel operator, Myanmar’s Eden Group, has said it will to appeal to the authorities over the ban.

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