Mandalay is the religious and cultural center of the country. It was the capital of the last Myanmar kingdom. King Mindon, the penultimate king in the Konbaung dynasty, founded the city in 1857. The city streets are laid out in a grid system with famous pagodas lying scattered all over the city. Mandalay Hill, with the red fort and the calm moat at its base, is the central focus of the city.

Mandalay Hill
MandalayHillNortheast of the city, amid leafy surroundings, stands the 230m-high Mandalay Hill, one of Myanmar's more famous Buddhist sites. It is covered with pagodas, images of the Buddha, works of sculpture and some other Buddhist religious objects. From the top of the hill you can enjoy a full panoramic view - the hazy blue outline of the Shan hills to the east, the Mandalay Palace to the south and the Ayeyarwady river to the west.

KuthodawKuthodaw Pagoda
The construction of the Kuthodaw pagoda commenced in 1857, the same year the royal city was founded. Situated at the foot of Mandalay Hill, Kuthodaw features a cluster of white-washed stupas. The complete teachings of Buddha are inscribed on 729 marble slabs, each of which is housed in its own small stupa. It is often called 'the world's biggest book' for its surrounding inscriptions.

Shwenandaw Monastery
ShwenandawOriginally, Shwenandaw Monastery was part of the palace complex which was built inside the fort. It is said that King Mindon passed away in it. Afterwards, King Thibaw had it dismantled and reassembled outside the walls. He used it as a private meditation center at first, but then he offered it to the monks as a monastery. It is worth a visit not only as a fine example of a traditional Myanmar wooden monastery but also for a fragile reminder of the old palace. All the other royal buildings were lost to WWII bombs.

MahamuniMahamuni Image
The highly venerated Mahamuni Buddha Image is housed in a temple at the southwestern part of the city. It is believed to have been cast during the 1st century AD. In 1784, it was brought to Mandalay from Mrauk U in Rakhaing State. The 4m seated image is cast in bronze. Over the years thousands of devout Buddhists have coated the image with layers of gold leaf.

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