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Mandalay, Myanmar

Mandalay is the second-largest city and the last royal capital of Burma. Located 445 miles north of Yangon on the east bank of the Irrawaddy River, the city has a population of one million. Like most former (and present) capitals of Burma, Mandalay was founded on the wishes of the ruler of the day.

Founded in 1857 by King Mindon, Mandalay is the second-largest city and the last royal capital of Burma. It ceased to be the capital on 28 November 1885 when the conquering British sent King Thibaw and his queen Supayalat into exile, ending the Third Anglo-Burmese War. Located on the east bank of the Irrawaddy River, the city has a population of one million, is the economic hub of Upper Burma and considered the centre of Burmese culture.

Amarapura was the capital of Myanmar twice during the Konbaung period (1783–1821 and 1842–1859) before finally supplanted by Mandalay 11 km north in 1859. U Bein Bridge, a 1.2 km wooden footbridge (the longest teak bridge in the world), was built by the mayor U Bein salvaging the unwanted teak columns from the old palace during the move to Mandalay.

Located 11 km up the Ayeyarwady River on the west bank from Mandalay, Mingun is a monumental uncompleted stupa began by King Bodawpaya in 1790. It was not completed, due to an astrologer claiming that, once the temple was finished, the king would die. The completed stupa would have been the largest in the world at 150 meters. Huge cracks are visible on the structure from the earthquake of 23 March 1839. Like many large pagodas in Myanmar, a Pondaw paya or working model of the stupa can be seen nearby.

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