Monday, 18 November 2019

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Burma to nominate World Heritage sites

(Mizzima) – Burma is preparing to nominate three Pyu city states – Beikthano, Hanlin and Sri Kestra – to the World Heritage list, local media reported on Saturday.

The Bawbawgyi Pagoda at Sri Ksetra, a prototype of Pagan-era pagodas.  Photo: WikipediaFossils of the early primates over 40 million years old were excavated in the Pondaung and Ponnya areas in Magway Region in central Burma. An ancient city of the Pyu, Peikthano-myo, about 2,000 years old, is located in Taungdwingyi Township.

Deputy Minister of Culture Sanda Khin said the sites show the country's rich cultural heritage and evolution through the Stone Age, the Bronze Age and the Iron Age.

The Ministry of Culture has been working in cooperation with the UNESCO to win a place in the world's heritage list for the country's tangible cultural heritage.

The government and UNESCO held a meeting recently on a capacity building project to safeguard cultural heritage. The Italian government funded and provided technical assistance to capacity building for safeguarding cultural heritage.

The Pyu city-states never unified into a Pyu kingdom, but the more powerful cities often dominated and called for tribute from the lesser cities. The most powerful city by far was Sri Ksetra, which archaeological evidence indicates was the largest city that has ever been built in Burma. The exact date of its founding is not known, though likely to be prior to a dynastic change in A.D. 94 that Pyu chronicles speak of, according to the website.

The people of Pyu are believed to have been ethnically different from the Bamar (Burmans), although they may have inter-married with the Sino-Tibetan migrants who later became part of the Bamar ethnicity.

The Pyu arrived in Myanmar in the 1st century BC and established city kingdoms at Binnaka, Mongamo, Sri Ksetra, Peikthanomyo, and Halingyi. During this period, Myanmar was part of an overland trade route from China to India. In 97 and 121 AD, Roman embassies to China chose the overland route through Myanmar for their journey. The Pyu, however, provided an alternative route down the Irrawaddy to Shri Ksetra and then by sea westward to India and eastward to Southeast Asia.

Chinese historical sources state that the Pyu controlled 18 kingdoms and describe them as a humane and peaceful people, and note the elegance and grace of Pyu life. War was virtually unknown amongst the Pyu, and disputes were often solved through duels by champions or building competitions. They even wore silk cotton instead of actual silk so they would not have to kill silk worms.

Crime was punished by whippings and jails were unknown, though serious crimes could result in the death penalty. The Pyu practiced Theravada Buddhism, and all children were educated as novices in the temples from the age of seven until the age of 20.

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