unbekannter Gast

Bagan's Pagodas again damaged by a severe earthquake August 24, 2016#

by Günther Jontes

All photos were taken by the author in 2008 and are part of his archive "Pictureflood Jontes".

The city of Bagan is about 650 km north of the capital Yangon/Rangun Pagan, Burma, Yangon, Burma of Myanmar/Burma. Because of its pagodas it is one of most important cultural sites to see in this country. Bagan is the historical capital and was seat of the monarch. In an area of about 36 km² there some 2.000 remaining buddhistic religious brick assemblies.

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The severe earthquake on August 24, 29016 has done much damage to 96 important pagodas. Unfortunately, dangerous tremors are frequent in this general area. The cultural invaluable buildings were very seriously damaged in 1975. Bagan has, among others treasures, some of the oldest murals of south-east Asia.

The fact that Bagan still does not have the distinction of UNESCO Cultural heritage site despite its treasuers has some cultural, but also politcal reasons.

After the servere quake in 1975 the military regime tried to repair the damages as fast as possible. The miltary believed that this way they could show to the deeply religious population that the ruling dictatorial junta valued the relgious beliefs of the population. Ofcourse, this was not just to make the regime popular, but also to channel political feelings into religious activities.

In the restoration process modern material like plastics, concrete and steeel were used, ignoring the original structures and styles of the pagodas. The international standardas of dealing with historic monuments were completely ignored.

It is fairly certain that Bagan will not be honored with the title UNESCO world heritag site, if the repairs after the recent quake do not strictly follow the interantional rules of restoring historic monuments.

The set of pictures below gives some impression of this territory that is interwoven with religious monuments. It also will show the exterior pomp of the pagodas, even if the were repaired not according to the proper procedures.

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