7 Companies Have Expressed Interest in Mandalay Palace Restoration

By Myat Pyae Phyo 11 July 2019

MANDALAY—Seven companies have submitted expressions of interest (EOI) to develop Mandalay Palace, the last royal palace of the last Burmese monarchy, as a historical park, according to the Mandalay regional government.

EOIs were invited for submission beginning June 17 and the regional government received seven EOI applications through the first week of July. The deadline for submitting an EOI application is July 22, Mandalay Regional Planning and Finance Minister U Myat Thu told The Irrawaddy.

EOIs are also welcome in the development of Inwa, or Ava, the ancient royal capital of successive Burmese kingdoms from the 14th to 19th centuries, as an archaeological park as well. Inwa is in Tada-U Township, Mandalay Region.

An aerial view of Mandalay Palace. / The Irrawaddy

The historical park will include bike paths, pedestrian walks, resting places, landscaping, restaurants and souvenir shops, along with sightseeing tours and bike rental services for visitors. Any company, local or foreign, can submit an EOI, according to the Mandalay regional government.

Mandalay Palace was built in 1857 by King Mindon of the Konbaung Dynasty, a line of kings that ruled from 1752 to 1885. Their reign was ended by the British colonial forces, which abolished Burma’s monarchy and sent Mindon’s heir, King Thibaw, into exile in the late 19th century.

Mandalay Palace was largely destroyed by an Allied bombing campaign during World War II, leaving only the moat and city walls remaining. The palace complex was reconstructed in the late 1980s.

The watchtower in Mandalay Palace. / The Irrawaddy

Much of the buildings that survive today are in serious need of care, said Ko Hteik Tin Aung of the Descendants of Konbaung Dynasty group, which plans to submit an EOI soon.

“The palace is decaying and the government has budget constraints in maintaining it, so it has invited EOIs. We decided to submit an EOI because we are concerned that a potential tender winner will not be able to restore the palace according to royal customs. But then, a lot will need to be negotiated as Myanmar army troops are stationed in the palace compound,” he said.

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