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Historic Mandalay was built at the foot of Mandalay hill and on the edge of the Irrawaddy River as the last royal capital of Burma. A cultural and religious centre, it is home to the 729 inscribed stone slabs known as the World’s Biggest Book. A major centre for arts and crafts, shop for some traditional handicrafts to take home. Surrounding Mandalay amongst the lovely countryside are numerous ancient treasures including over 700 pagodas.

The Mandalayans preserves the proper spoken language of Myanmar. Symbols of religion are richer in Mandalay than in any of the living Myanmar city. It is the principal centre for studies of Buddhist literature. The other tourist attractions are Mandalay Hill, Mya-nan-san-kyaw Golden Palace, the old city walls and the moat; Mahamuni Image of Buddha, which is the most revered and sacred site of Mandalay; Kyauk-taw-gyi Buddha, white Marble huge seated image of the Buddha carved from a single block of stone; Kuthodaw Pagoda with the entire Buddhist scriptures inscribed on 729 marble slabs, known as the “World’s Biggest Book”; Shwenandaw Kyaung (Golden Palace Monastery), a superb example of a traditional Myanmar wooden monastery.

One account states that during the reign of King Mindon, steamers began to come up to INNWA (AVA) and Amarapura. Since both towns were on the bank of the AYEYARWADDY(IRRAWADDY) RIVER, it would have been possible for the Europeans to bring artillery pieces up-river aboard the trading ships and to shell the then capital of AMARAPURA. King Mindon therefore decided that the capital should be moved some distance from the river, beyond the range of enemy fire. This must have been the original reason of founding Mandalay though there were some other reasons.