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Bagan, Myanmar (formerly Burma)
Bagan, Myanmar (Image by vinatourist83 from Pixabay)

Bagan, Myanmar (formerly Burma)

The former rulers of Bagan achieved their power through a subtle interplay of worldly and spiritual power. By the mid ninth century, Bagan had already become the economic and political centre of Upper Burma, with its golden age unfolding between the years 1044 and 1112 during the reigns of King Anawra tha and his son, Kyanzittha. Both regents made use of Buddhism to support their religious hegemony and as an instrument of power.

Bagan's power and influence grew during the reigns of the Kings Anawrath and Kyanzittha, growing in size until it covered an area of more than 40 km2 at its greatest extent, making it the largest city in the medieval world, five times as large as contemporary London.

Today, some 700 years later, Bagan is considered to be the most important archaeological site in South East Asia. In addition to the outstanding architectural monuments, the walls of Bagan are decorated with the oldest monumental paintings known from the region, dating to between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries. 

One of the most beautiful monuments in Bagan is the Ananda Temple, now completely restored following its near leveling by the 1975 earthquake.  An earthquake destroyed a large part of Bagan.