Mandalay is a city in the center of Myanmar (Burma) on a bend of the Irawadi River. The old royal city is the second largest city in the country after Yangon. Eye-catchers of the city are the holy Mandalay Hill as well as the large Royal Palace, in which however only a few buildings can be visited. Mandalay was built by King Mindon in 1857 in open land on the banks of the Irawadi. From then on, it served as the capital of the Burmese Kingdom, replacing Amarapura, only 5 kilometers away, as a government center.
On November 28, 1885, British troops invaded Mandalay and looted the royal palace. King Thibaw was forced into exile to flee to India. The capital of the colony was Rangoon (now: Yangon). During World War II Mandalay was largely destroyed in fighting between the Japanese army and the British, the Royal Palace was reduced to ashes.
In addition to the cultivation of rice in the fertile plain around Mandalay, various craft enterprises, including the production of gold leaf, puppets, paper umbrellas and silk weaving and tourism, characterize the economic life of the city. Due to its strategic location on the transit corridor between South China and the Indian Ocean, the importance of the city as an economic center of Burma has been further strengthened.
Mandalay offers visitors a variety of attractions. In addition to the already mentioned Mandalay Hill and the Royal Palace, there are numerous pagodas, whose most important are the Mahmuni Pagoda and the Kuthodaw Pagoda. In addition, the city has important monasteries, such as the Teakwood Shwe In Bin Kyaung, the Phaung Daw Oo Monastery, east of the Royal Palace, the New MaSoe Yein Monastery which today houses 27,000 monks, and the Shwenandaw Kyaung.
But not only the cultural offerings of the city enchant, also the craftsmanship is worth a visit. Mostly it is entire streets, which are taken by a craft branch, such as the road of stonemasons, but also smaller companies for weaving or goldsmithing offer interesting insights.
Day trips to Mingun, Amarapura, and Sagaing are recommended from Mandalay. Mingun in the north can be reached by ferry, Amarapura, and Sagaing can be reached by car or scooter taxi. On a trip to Amarapura, you should, in any case, climb the boat and cross the river to Inwa. In addition to important cultural buildings, especially the rural life on the peninsula is worth seeing.