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Rangoon Survey Reveals Nearly 6,000 Heritage Buildings

By The Irrawaddy 15 May 2017

RANGOON—An on-going survey conducted by Yangon Heritage Trust has revealed that the former capital has nearly 6,000 heritage buildings across the city.

The non-governmental organization advocating for heritage protection in the city has been carrying out the Urban Heritage Inventory since it was founded in 2012. So far it has logged nearly 6,000 heritage buildings—some dating back to British colonial times—in nine townships in the downtown area and its surroundings.

According to the trust’s director and vice chairperson, Daw Moe Moe Lwin, the number will soon be higher as the survey is expanding to other townships that have old buildings.

“We documented every old building that is architecturally and historically significant—from religious buildings to government buildings to private residences,” she said, explaining that the survey was done by photographic observation of the exterior of the constructions and their whereabouts.

“The survey can help you understand what kind of urban heritage Rangoon has. It can help in many ways… in city planning, mapping and tourism. Of course, it can make officials be more considerate when it comes to development, too,” she added.

It is the first comprehensive survey to cover the citywide urban heritage. Yangon City Development Committee has also listed places reflecting the city’s heritage, but it focuses solely on landmark religious and British colonial era buildings, and excludes private mansions built during and after the colonial era.

The survey comes at a time when Rangoon’s heritage buildings are threatened by development. Some heritage buildings have been torn down in the past to make way for modern buildings.

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