Narinjara news



ANCIENT RAKHINE CITY :  NEGLECTED BY JUNTA HEAD AS A TOURIST ATTRACTION

Sittwe, 8
th January 02:  Though Mrauk-u in Rakhine State is one of the  ancient cities of Myanmar,  the ancient city lacks all the repair and regular maintenance of the other Burmese cities like Pagan, Nyaung-oo, and Mandalay.
Khin Nyunt, the Chief of the Military junta of Myanmar in a meeting arranged by the Tourism Development Management Committee (1/2002) of the State Peace and Development Council junta of Myanmar in the capital said on 5th January 02 that,  though there are a number of tourist attractions all over Burma proper like Sagaing, Mandalay, Pagan (Bagan), Poppa, Hanthawaddy, etc.  the tourism sector has not very much developed and the resources remain untapped in the country.  He never mentioned about the potential of Rakhine State in this regards in his keynote speech, our correspondent quoting a newspaper article  from Sittwe says.
Khin Nyunt in his speech did not make any mention of the ancient Rakhine city of
 Mrauk-u where extensive excavations of the ancient palace site was done beginning 1998.  No new excavation has been done since 2000, and the artefacts found in the excavations done were carried off to Yangon, where it is feared that the Myanmar junta have misappropriated many of the artefacts like gold necklace and other gold and precious stone ornaments,  ceramics, and other articles.  There are strong allegations that, the junta excavated the ancient palace site not for re-excavating the ancient glory of Rakhine kings but for their personal benefits since the junta stopped excavation of the site as soon as they got the precious ancient artefacts and never bothered to either open a museum at the ancient palace site or preserve them in the nearby Mrauk-u Museum, but carry them off to Yangon.  In the last part of the 1970s, archaeological excavations of the ancient city of Vesali near Mrauk-u were done by the military regime, but the findings have ever since been taken to Yangon National Museum and dumped in a hall there.  Priceless artefacts of Rakhine are not only stolen by gangs of thieves but also by the so-called government excavation teams who sometimes come to Rakhine and do the robbery under the patronage of Myanmar Tatmadaw or Burmese Military.  Old Rakhine artefacts, especially silver coins and bronze Buddha images, could be found in the curio shops in Bangkok, Singapore and Hong Kong where they fetch large sums of money,our correspondent added.
A hotel owner from Sittwe on condition of anonymity told that, though there is potential for developments of tourism in Rakhine State, like ancient sites and sea beach resorts, no government since the independence of Myanmar has ever taken any initiative for the development  of the tourist sector in the region.   Besides tourists are usually discouraged to visit Rakhine State or are diverted elsewhere as soon as they land in Yangon airport, and foreigners are also required to obtain travel permits besides their official visa to travel to Rakhine state.   Mrauk-u township consists of a number of important ancient Rakhine city sites including the city of Mrauk-u which was established in 1430 and which is in shambles now though there are countless ancient  Buddhist stone pagodas and temples that testify to the Buddhist tradition of the kings of the golden period of Mrauk-u.  #

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