The Irrawaddy

Bagan Restoration to Begin in 2017

Bagan’s Sulamani Temple shown damaged on August 25, a day after the 6.8 magnitude earthquake stuck Burma (Photo: Zaw Zaw / The Irrawaddy)

RANGOON — Renovation and conservation work to nearly 400 earthquake-hit ancient temples and pagodas in Bagan will start on January 1 of next year, officials said.

Officials from Bagan’s Department of Archaeology, National Museum and Library, said that with the collaboration of local and international experts, they will carry repairs and preserve 389 damaged pagodas in the ancient capital.

Some 400 pagodas and temples—out of a total of 3,252—across the Bagan plain were damaged when a 6.8 magnitude earthquake struck Burma on August 24.

Following the quake, an emergency response, initial assessment and a detailed assessment have taken place to ascertain the extent of the damage, including harm to murals, all of which have high historical and cultural heritage value.

Aung Aung Kyaw, the director from the department, said the findings of the detailed assessment—which started in September—will be presented at a meeting from Oct. 25-26 where further details and guidelines of the restoration work will be discussed for the next year.

The 36 pagodas which are at risk for further damage and collapse will take first priority for repairs, and the 53 temples which need urgent restoration work will be second priority. Other structures which suffered minor damages will be the third priority in the reconstruction process.

“We will work carefully and make sure not to restore the modified parts which caused a burden for the ancient temples,” he said, adding that the work would take two to five years.