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Going back in time in Myanmar: Ava and Sagaing, ancient capitals of Burma

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Views from Sagaing Hill

The land now called Myanmar had, previously, other names, like Burma or Burma.

In a country where astrologers have such power that there are governments that have been moving the capital according to their advice, the issue is not surprising. That is what happened about ten years ago, when the capital moved from Rangoon Naipyidó because the "wise" commented to the waspish leaders of the military government that, if they did not, they would lose power. Of course, motorbikes in the capital are also prohibited because a motorist attempted against the life of the president of neighboring Thailand. Some cracks these Burmese rulers, who repress their people and sell the country's resources to China.

But capital changes come from afar. Near the once powerful city of Mandalay, we found some cities that were the center of influence of different Burmese dynasties.

The old capitals, Ava and Sagaing, they are worth it and are part of one of the best day trips from Mandalay.

Sagaing

Stupa of pagodas in Sagaing

Located 20 km southwest of Mandalay, on the Ayeyarwady River, this ancient capital is today a vibrant capital of the region that bears the same name. But, above all, it is one of the most important Buddhist centers in the country. It is not necessary to be an expert to realize this, but simply, to climb Sagaing Hill and contemplate the enviable views.

We arrived with the bus to the base of the main hill and there we took a pick up to ascend. Above, the Soon U Ponya Shin pagoda It appeared before us as a combination of gold and red that attracts attention at first sight. We enter a room where dozens of Buddhas line up, all of them different from each other, according to our guide. The truth is that you have to look hard to appreciate that small difference in the position of the hand, the ornaments of hair or crown, or even the expression of eyes and mouth.

In front of them they had placed several plaques with the names of the pagoda's donors, all of them foreigners who had to pass through here and were impressed with this temple of Buddhism.

But the best thing is not the pagoda itself, but the views you can enjoy when you ascend to its upper floors. Dozens of pointed stupas emerge, stately and golden, among the green that covers the hill. We are in the rainy season, in August, and the color of the vegetation is brilliant. The river Ayeyarwady, one of the main arteries of the country, falls with a large flow. On the opposite shore you can see the buildings of La viva Mandalay. The last great capital to fall into the hands of the English, in the last quarter of the 19th century, is today an important commercial and industrial center for a country that has been blessed with abundant and valuable natural resources but cursed with leaders who have bled the country for more than 50 years.

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