Ancient Myanmar city could be in for UNESCO status

The government of Myanmar is reportedly preparing a bid to apply for UNESCO World Heritage status for the city of Mrauk-U.

Located in the North west of Myanmar and reputed by scholars to mean “The First Accomplishment” in ancient Arakanese, the city is of great architectural importance. There are a number of noteworthy religious temples in the town, which was the seat of the Arakanese kingdom that controlled parts of what is now Myanmar and Bangladesh. The Koe Thaung temple is said to contain 90,000 Buddha images carved into its three stories, and there are many other gems in what was known as “the golden city” by European travellers.

And after receiving its first World Heritage site nod in 2014, when three ancient Pyu cities were included amongst the world’s most significant treasures, The Irrawaddy is reporting that the country’s government will be putting forward the proposal by September next year alongside their UNESCO bids for Bagan, the Shwedagon Pagoda and Lake Inle.

The tourist opportunities in the area are receiving increased levels of press, and there are those who are predicting the site to become the next Angkor Wat. As one of the poorest states in Myanmar, the extra revenue from visitors would be hugely beneficial to Mrauk-U.

UNESCO, the specialised agency of the United Nations whose stated aim is to contribute to peace and security by promoting international collaboration through educational, scientific and cultural reforms in order to increase universal respect for justice, selects its World Heritage Sites on the basis of having cultural, historical, scientific or other significance. Once sites have been designated on the World Heritage list, they are legally protected by international treaties.