In Ava, the ashes of time will tell you the story of how it rose to renown and fell from power.
Between the 14th and 18th centuries, Ava was the principal city of the Shan Dynasty and the capital of ancient Myanmar. Throughout its history, Ava suffered destruction and rose back to importance several times under different rulers. Finally, an earthquake razed it to the ground. Today, not much is left of the time’s glorious city except for picturesque ruins peppering the Burmese countryside. But, it remains a well-known destination with its time-capsuled ancient Burmese architecture. Take an atmospheric walk among the ruins for a sense of the country’s most famous capital, the “Court of Ava”.
Bagaya Monastery anchors the city, all dark and safely forbidding in appearance. After the original structure burned to the ground, the government built the current monastery to shelter the image of the Buddha and numerous sacred scriptures. The style and architecture align with the original. It still functions as a monastic school and place of worship. As you go down the dimly lit prayer halls, you may catch sight of monks attending their classes. Birds, animals, lotus flowers, and many more fascinating figures gracefully embellish the monastery’s interior walls. They constitute another spectacle that Bagaya pridefully presents.
A short walk from the monastery brings the visitors to the site of the Palace of Ava. There, a 27-meter tall watchtower soars in the place of King Bagyidaw’s royal palace. It is a classic example of Burmese masonry and provides an appealing scene for photography. Surrounding it are several other watchtowers, pagoda ruins, and city walls facing countryside so luminescent that one look won’t be enough.
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