MYANMAR’S archaeological zone of Mrauk U in Rakhine State is preparing to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, according to a spokesperson from the Ministry of Culture.
Mrauk U contains some 200 Buddhist monuments such as temples, stupas and monasteries mostly built in the 15th and 16th centuries AD. It is also known for its old temples with wall paintings of Indian influence.
Said Kyaw Lwin Oo, director general of the Department of Archaeology, National Museum and Library under the ministry: “We are working on GIS database and digital mapping in Mrauk U. Nandaw Yar Gone will be converted into an archaeological park.
“We will also maintain the first, second and third brick walls of Nandaw Yar Gone, as well as the north wall of Shi Thaung Stupa. Maintenance works funded by Rakhine state have started.”
He added: “These are important steps to be taken ahead before we try to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The ministry is also collecting important information on all of Myanmar heritage sites, preserving and producing the map of archeological sites, and inviting UNESCO experts to jointly discuss further steps.”
Yangon-based travel consultants support the move. Myo Thwin, managing director, Sweet Memory Travel, said: “If Mrauk U indeed joins the list, tourist arrivals will increase. However, we will need to develop our infrastructure further and provide more accommodation in the city to cater to the influx.”
Wunna San Maung, managing director, Hamsa Travel and Tour, also believes the move will be a positive impact on tourist numbers. Although so far tourists mostly go to Bagan, he pointed out: “Mrauk U is different – its temples and pagodas boast unique architecture with Hindu cultural influence. There are so many things to see, including some Chin villages nearby.”
Source: TTG Asia