Immortalised by Rudyard Kipling, Mandalay was established in 1857 in accordance with an ancient Buddhist prophecy. It was the final capital of Myanmar’s Konbaung Dynasty before the country was annexed by the British. The city takes its name from Mandalay Hill and is centred around the walls and moat of the old palace, which was destroyed in the fighting of World War II but was rebuilt in the 1990s.
Mandalay is considered a centre of Buddhism in Myanmar and is also home to many of the country’s craft industries, such as the production of silk longyis, wooden marionettes and embroidered tapestries.
This time Mandalay was my starting point to explore Myanmar.
It took me almost 20 years to come back to Burma. Since I met Aung San Suu Kyi for an interview in 1996 I did/could not enter the country again. Now – with new reforms – it is possible for me again …