Photo Essay: The Mandalay Story
© Soe Than Htike
Edited by: Chit Min Maung (http://www.cmmaung.me)
This is the part of The Mandalay Story photo essay by Soe Than Htike. It might be the long-term project and I hope he will shoot more and more pictures of Mandalay.
Mandalay is the second-largest city and capital of the last dynasty of the Myanmar Kingdom. It located on the east bank of the Irrawaddy River. Mandalay is the economic center of Upper Myanmar and considered the center of Burmese culture. A continuing influx of Chinese immigrants, mostly from Yunnan, in the past twenty years, has reshaped the city’s ethnic makeup and increased commerce with China.
The city gets its name from the nearby Mandalay Hill. The name is probably a derivative of a Pali word, although the exact word of origin remains unclear. The root word has been speculated to be mandala, referring to circular plains or Mandara, a mountain from Hindu mythology.
When it was founded in 1857, the royal city was officially named Yadanabon, a loan of the Pali name Ratanapūra “City of Gems”. It was also called Lay Kyun Aung Myei, “Victorious Land over the Four Islands” and Mandalay Palace “Famed Royal Emerald Palace”.
While Mandalay would continue to be the chief city of Upper Myanmar, previously known as Burma during the British colonial rule, the commercial and political importance had irreversibly shifted to Yangon. During World War II, Mandalay suffered the most devastating air raids of the war.
After the country gained independence from Britain in 1948, Mandalay continued to be the main cultural, educational and economic hub of Upper Myanmar. Despite the rise of Naypyidaw, the country’s capital since 2006, Mandalay remains Upper Myanmar’s main commercial, educational and health center. (Ref: Wikipedia)