Sunday, September 18, 2016

World Heritage Listed Pyu Ancient Cities

Map of three UNESCO Recognized Ancient Pyu Cities
Three of the Pyu ancient cities are the first site in Myanmar being inscribed on the World Heritage List during the 38th Session of World Heritage committee held in Doha of Qata, in June 2014. It is comprised of three brick walled and moated cities of Halin, Beikthano and Sri Ksetra in the vast irrigated landscape of the dry zone in Ayeyarwady river basin. They represent the Pyu Kingdoms that were prosperous for over a thousand year between BC 200 and AD 900. These three sites have been partially excavated revealing palace citadels, burial grounds, early industrial production sites, brick Buddha Stupas and water management features.

Halin City
How to get there
It is located on the road side of Mandalay – Shwebo road and drive 129 km from Mandalay. It is easily accessible by road. The trip took about 2.5 hours drive by passing Sagain. It is remarkable large, 3.2 km from north to south and 1.6 km from east to west. Halin Pyu Ancient City was founded the most abundantly evidence of pre-urban prehistoric habitation.

Religious Building
The most prominent features of this square shape building are the standing stone slabs. The stones are erected in 3 rows on the northern, eastern and southern interior wall. This structural remain are sophisticated forms of stone and brick ritual structures. It is also unique evidence for assimilation of Buddhism with traditional beliefs in Pyu Ancient Cities.

Palace Citadel
One excavation site unearthed a huge Assembly Hall with a brick platform and 84 wooden pillars. Artifacts such as pottery, terracotta beads and semi-precious stones were found here. The interior has the walls of platform, earthern rampacts of a reservoir and a well.
Stone Inscription Shed
There are 21 stone slabs in it; 3 slabs are inscribed in Pyu Language and others in old Myanmar Language.

Burial Ground
This is located in the southern part of the city. Excavations have revealed evidence of certain burial practices such as orientating the head to the north, burial of Jewellarys pottery. According to the buried skeletons existing in depths of layer by layer, this graveyard might have been used for successive periods datable to 2000 to 5000 before present (BP).

Beikthano City
The ancient brick – walled city is shaped more nearly like a square. The brick fortified walls encompass the city area on the north, east and south sides but the western wall has not yet been confirmed by archaeological excavation. The whole walled area of the city is some 900 hectares.
Palace & Storage
One of the distinctive characteristics of the Pyu Cities is the presence of a sizeable central palace – citadel. A rectangular structure, containing five small and one medium sized chamber, was found and is also thought to be storage facilities.
Religious Architecture
All these structural remains are clearly identified to religious architecture of Buddhism and this proves that Buddhism was here since more than 1500 years ago.

Beikthano Archaeological Museum
It has established since 2008. Beikthano Archaeological Museum arranges and displays orderly with Criteria (ii), (iii) and (iv) of Outstanding Universal Value of World Heritage Identity. Museum exhibits the exposed objects from excavation at Beikthano, collections of surrounding area and modeling the some unique structural remains from Beikthano Pyu Ancient Cities.
Burial Urns with Structure Remains
It is a unique cultural identity of Pyu Ancient Cities: Halin, Beikthano and Sri Ketra. This archaeological evidence firmly identified as the interchange of Buddhism in Pyu Ancient Cities. This strong Pyu cultural tradition reflects the tangible evidence of life after death, religious practice and skill of craftsmanship in Pyu society.

Sri Ksetra City
How to get there
This city is approximately 5 miles southeast of Pyay and can be accessed by road. It can also be accessed by rail from Yangon. Twice as large as Halin and the most elaborately constructed, Sri Ksetra is considered as the most important & influential of the ancient cities.

The Massive Stupas
The date of these stupas can be attributed to 6th-7th century AD. As the remaining architecture, Bawbawgyi stupa is the earliest Buddhist monument among the existing of Myanmar. The two below have the unique conical shape and style was significantly transformed in architectural development of Bawbaw Gyi.

Palace Site
Other aspects of Pyu cultural heritage are both accessible and impressive. The Pyu had already mastered three important aspects of ancient economic life: water control, brick-making, and iron-working. Near the center of each Pyu city lays a well – fortified citadel or palace city. The palace has an enclosing moat linking many radiating and concentric canals.

Religious Architecture
There are found religious architectures in Mathigya Gone that were the one of elaborated architectural style of Pyu era.
The Pyu architecture greatly influenced later Myanmar Buddhist temple designs. Temples at Sri Ksetra such as the Be Be and Laymyethna were prototypes for the hollow temple of Bagan. They are attributed the later Pyu era.

Sri Ksetra Archaeological Museum
This Museum systematically displays cultural artifacts such as large stones burial urns with Pyu inscriptions, Pyu Buddha Image, Brahmanical Statues, terracotta votive tables and figurines, Pyu silver coins, beads and other objects.
There were also specialists in rituals concerning death. At all three large Pyu cities, massed urn burials were assimilated into Buddhist practice meshed with local mortuary custom. In total, the urn burials found at Sri Ksetra are probably more numerous than at any other sites.
Halin First Capital of Pyu City

Burial Urns

Burial Urns Structure in Beikthano

Stone Inscription Shet

Ruin Palace Site

Early Style of Stupa
Early style of temple
The art of Ancient Pyu