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Naypyidaw ( Nay Pyi Taw)
latitude: 19° 45' longitude: 96° 6'

Pre-colonial kings repeatedly moved their capital city. Naypyidaw [meaning ‘Abode of Kings’, and sometimes abbreviated to NPT] is Myanmar's new capital, announced to the public in late 2005. The military regime surprised the world by suddenly shifting the seat of government from Yangon. Government workers were reportedly given less than 48 hours notice to move to the city -- which was largely built in secret. Naypyidaw, which means royal capital in Burmese, is 16 kilometers from the small town of Pyinmana, near the main road and railway line between Yangon and Mandalay. But as of late 2011 no foreign embassies had accepted the government's offer to relocate from Rangoon.

In 2008 the New York Times reported that "There is an avenue for hotels and an area dedicated to restaurants. The government offices, built with traditional Burmese influences and Soviet-style bulkiness, are in one section. Housing for bureaucrats, partitioned and color-coded according to ministry, is nearby. It's difficult to judge the city's size, but it feels smaller than the government's claim of one million inhabitants and 7,000 square kilometers, or 2,700 square miles - 10 times the size of Singapore."

Nay Pyi Taw, the administrative capital of the Union of Myanmar, is centrally located, 391 km (250 miles) from Yangon and 302 km from Mandalay. Nay Pyi Taw Airport is about 30 minutes drive from the city, located 10 miles southeast. There are daily flights from Nay Pyi Taw to the commercial capital, Yangon, and Mandalay [which can be called the cultural capital] by Domestic Airlines, Air Bagan, Air Mandalay, Myanma Airways and Yangon Airways. Nay Pyi Taw Station is on the main Yangon-Mandalay rail line. It took nine hours by train to get from Yangon to Naypyidaw. A new highway from Yangon to Nay Pyi Taw has been opened recently and now the travelling time from Yangon to Nay Pyi Taw is only about 4 hours drive. Nay Pyi Taw Express Coaches run every day along the Yangon - Nay Pyi Taw Highway.

Nay Pyi Taw Zoo is the largest zoo in Myanmar, located on the Yangon - Mandalay highway about 250 miles north of Yangon. The area of the zoo is 612-acres (247-hectare) and there are about 420 animals including attractions such as White Tigers and Penguins. Another interesting place in this city is the Water Fountain Garden.

The huge Uppatasanti Pagoda, a replica of Yangon's Shwedagon Pagoda built in 2009, is impressive - and has the added attraction of being able to walk inside its domed interior. It was built just 30cm shorter than the Shwedagon in order to not upstage its historically revered counterpart. Outside the pagoda are six white elephants, intended to be auspicious but in reality a rather depressing sight.

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The Pyidaungsu Hluttaw, Myanmar's vast 31-building parliament, is a sight to behold and also gives a chance to see the Nay Pyi Taw's widest highway, with 12 lanes of empty road in each direction. Normally the Hluttaw can only be viewed from a distance, but visitors can get a guided tour of the buildings with a pre-arranged permit. China built the new parliament building as a gift to the Myanmar people.

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The Defence Ministry and Armed Forces are sited in a separate area near a mountain range. The Military Zone, prohibited to the public without a written permission, is accessible by limited access points occupied by many officials. The area is famous for its ‘subterranean city’ with extensive underground tunnel and bunker system nicknamed as tortoise shells. The hidden city has been built at the expertise of North Korea, Burma’s allied country, and intended as an underground command center in times of emergency and to crush civil uprisings. There is a huge parade ground flanked by three large figures of the kings who founded three important dynasties in Myanmar history. Three Kings Statue is a famous tourist spot and an important symbol. The enormous monuments of the Three Great Kings of Burma are Anorathamangchor of Bagan, King Burengnong of Hongsawadee and King Alongpaya of Shwe Bo Is dominated the city center Created to honor the three great kings in particular. It is a gilded plaster sculpture in Burmese style, no more than 15 meters tall.

King Anothamang Chor or Anawrahta (1014–77) was Founder of the Bagan Empire and the father of the Burmese nation. The creator of the First Burmese Empire ascended the throne in Bagan in 1044. He unified the Ayeyarwady Valley and held sway over the Shan hills and Rakhine at the same time as introducing key religious and social reforms that form the basis of modern Burmese culture. King Burengnong (Bayinnaung) (1516–81) was the third Burmese King in the Taungoo Dynasty.Aided by Portuguese mercenaries, this king of Taungoo is famed for unifying Burma for its 'second empire' and conquering Ayuthaya, the capital of Siam (Thailand), in 1569. King Alaungpaya (Alaungpaya) (1714–60), the first king of the Alongpaya dynasty or the Kho Bong dynasty. With no royal roots, this hometown hero of Mokesebo (Shwebo) founded the Konbaung dynasty and created the second largest empire in Burmese history. His reign lasted only eight years, ending when he died – some say from poisoning – on retreat from Siam, after being turned back by rains.

The monument honors the Burmese kings who suppressed ethnic minorities in Burma. It equates to praising the Burmese people as being superior to various minorities. The towering statues of three old kings, presumably designed to reflect the power of the generals, feature on postcards in Myanmar (often accompanied by military parades) – but are in fact off-limits to visitors.

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Page last modified: 01-08-2021 15:39:56 ZULU