A World City of Heritage

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The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) aims to protect and preserve cultural and natural heritage around the world that is considered to be of outstanding value to humanity. In April 1996, and updated in July 2013, UNESCO listed Kuthodaw Pagoda on the Memory of the World Register. This was the first time that they had recognized an aspect of Myanmar’s cultural heritage. UNESCO has also tentatively listed a number of Mandalay heritage artifacts built between 1315CE through to the end of the Konbaung Dynasty in 1887CE. These will then be reexamined to determine whether they should be included on the World Heritage List.


The Kuthodaw Pagoda – The World's Largest Book
The Kuthodaw Inscriptions is a collection of 729 marble stone slabs which have the entire Buddhist scriptures inscribed on them. Each stone slab is housed in a masonry shrine within the precincts of the Kuthodaw Pagoda. The text was checked and edited by senior monks who consulted the Tipitaka palm leaf scripts kept in the royal libraries. Each stone has 80 to 100 lines of inscription on both sides. The inscriptions were completed in May 1868.  King Mindon initiated the project as he wanted to leave a great work of merit for posterity. This collection is unique in the Buddhist world and is considered a major documentary heritage of world significance because it gives valuable information on several major themes of 19th century Myanmar as well as Buddhist religion in world history and culture.


Protecting Mandalay's Heritage
Efforts are also being made to identify, preserve and protect Mandalay’s heritage. In January, 2014, the Myanmar Department of Archaeology published a survey of over a hundred heritage sites in Mandalay built during the 19th century Konbaung Dynasty, as well as Amarapura, Inwa/Ava, Sagaing -  spanning 700 years of history. Their aim is to make an inventory of which buildings need to be maintained so that urgent preservation work can be undertaken.

A local NGO, the Mandalay & Upper Myanmar Heritage Trust, is also working towards preserving and protecting the region’s unique heritage. For more information, see their facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/MandUMHT

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