Mandalay's Royal Palace; Best Destination To Study Burmese Lifestyle and Culture

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Thiri Khit Oo (NP News) – July 8

Mandalay, one of the biggest commercial cities in Myanmar, is the place where Myanmar culture flourishes the most. The Royal Palace exists in Mandalay which was built in the Yadanabon era by King Mindon. The sculpture arts of the place are the finest works showing the Yadanabon era arts.

Mandalay Palace, founded by King Mindon after building Mandalay as the new royal capital city, was also the last residence of King Thibaw. Dating back to 1857, the palace was also a fortified city since it was inside the large walled fort surrounded by moats in four sites. At the corners of the moat, the beacon towers work as signals for enemies’ invasions. The war drums were played and the fireworks were burned when the enemies invaded and the moat opened sluice gates flooded on the invaded enemies.

Describing the palace, roofs are lined up with gold, teak wood is used as poles and the whole palace is painted with red, white, and gold in mixed designs. Therefore, we can learn that those three colours: red, white, and gold represent royal essence in Myanmar. The complete royal palace’s compound covers 1.24 miles with large walls with a protective moat which has 64 meters width and 5 meters depth. The walls were built with three gates of barbican entrances on each side totaling twelve each representing the zodiac signs.

Moreover, the Clock Tower, Relic Tower, Hluttaw, Royal Mausoleums, Royal Mint, Watch Tower, Great Audience Hall, Lion Throne Room, and gorgeous Glass Palace can be found in the palace compound.

During those eras, the finest arts of wood carving and ivory carving flourished. Therefore, the works of carving can also be learned at the Royal Palace in Mandalay. Unfortunately, due to the invasion by the British, some buildings were damaged. The British not only destroyed the palaces including burning down the royal library but also they took royal things to Britain.

Nowadays, those royal things once and originally owned by Myanmar are displayed at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London still not been returned to Myanmar.

In addition, the Japanese army also invaded and they used the palace as a supply depot during the Second World War. However, the palace stood strong even when they bombed up the palace to the ground.

Years later, the Department of Archaeology of Myanmar started the process of reconstruction and maintenance in 1989. The successive governments have been maintaining the Royal Palace thoroughly with efforts since the Royal Palace is the pride of Mandalay City.

Today, the Mandalay Royal Palace is the most attractive historical site for tourists. The palace is the best destination to study the Burmese ancient lifestyle of royal living, the structures of the fortified city, and the unique art of carving works.

For those tourists, the government and relevant departments provide presentation boards explaining about the palace and describing the history to study.

There are many world heritage sites in Mandalay Region such as Kuthodaw Pagoda which is recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as the world’s largest book. The Mandalay’s relevant governments are also making efforts to register at UNESCO for the Mandalay Royal Palace for recognition as one of the world heritage sites, according to Dr. Than Htik, the Director of Mandalay National Museum. –
Data and references –
Information from
Dr. Than Hteik
(Director of Mandalay
National Museum)
Alluring World
Victoria and Albert Museum

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