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Visiting the U Bein Bridge in Myanmar, the largest teak bridge in the world

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He teak bridge - that wood of such beautiful appearance and extraordinary longevity - longest in the world is in Amarapura, near Mandalay, in Myanmar.

Amarapura, capital of the kingdom of Burma

Around Mandalay there is a concentration of ancient capitals totally unusual. After the fall of the Burmese empire, whose epicenter was in the spectacular Bagan, the capital of the kingdom was wandering from side to side, but always focusing on this central area of ​​present-day Myanmar.

Teak bridge U Bein © David Escribano

One of those capitals was the city of Amarapura, whose name means "City of Immortality" (or "City of the Gods") and was founded by King Bodawpaya (1781 - 1819), of the Konbaung dynasty, in 1783. It was Bodawpaya who granted the rank of capital to the city.

Amarapura grew at high speed, reaching 17 inhabitants in 1810. However, the successor of Bodawpaya decided to return to Ava (place that had been the capital of Burma for 4 centuries before moving to Amarapura) and settle there.

After a few comings and goings, Amarapura ended up being the capital of Burma just over half a century. From there, the capital would move to Mandalay, where the British would end, forever, the long centuries of Burmese monarchical tradition.

U boat in Bein Bridge © David Escribano

The construction of the U Bein Bridge

As used to happen at this time, when a new capital was founded, the materials needed to build palaces, monasteries and other draft buildings were extracted from the predecessor capital. In the case of the longest and most ancient teak bridge in the world, the thing was no different.

When the construction plans for the bridge began to develop in 1849, U Bein, mayor who led the company, he ordered the use of the teak wood left over from the plundering that had suffered the ancient imperial palace of Ava.

Photo © David Escribano

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