Bagan, formerly Pagan, is an ancient city in the Mandalay Region of Burma. It was the capital of several ancient kingdoms in Burma. It is located in the dry central plains of the country, 140 km southwest of Mandalay.
Bagan is home to the largest and densest concentration of Buddhist temples, pagodas, stupas and ruins in the world with many dating from the 11th and 12th centuries. The shape and construction of each building is highly significant in Buddhism with each component part taking on spiritual meaning.
With regards to tour comparison between this immense archeological site and the other significant archeological gem of Southeast Asia, the Angkor sites, an analogy would food: savouring the Angkor sites is like in a Chinese Lauriat banquet where the temples are presented in grand spectacular and exquisite servings and takes a long while (about 10 to 15 minutes) to get to the next. While Bagan is served Spanish Tapas style, in small bite size servings, often in frequent intervals and near to each other.
What makes the temples look romantic is the process of graceful aging. For some reason, there are no windbreakers around as shown as example, by the barren, desertly mountain range to the west past the river, and easily creating occasional micro whirlwind twisters that spawn loose dust particles everywhere from the eroded earth to the structures. This phenomenon had eroded and in most cases, peeled off so much the stucco coating of the temples to reveal the brick structural blocks with its rusty, reddish, and sometimes golden brown-like patina when hit by the sun's rays.
Erosion is a significant threat to this area, not only the wind chipping away the buildings' plastering but also water from the mighty Irrawaddy River threatens the riverbanks. The strong river current has already washed away half of the area of Old Bagan.
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