MANDALAY — After several months of delays, restoration work on Mandalay’s Golden Palace Monastery, one of the city’s ancient sites, resumed on Thursday.
Repairs will begin in the southern part of the building by replacing the decayed, century-old teak wood columns along the balcony, as work to fix the flooring.
According to the New York-based World Monuments Fund (WMF), which is heavily involved with the restoration efforts of the Golden Palace Monastery, about 20 columns need complete replacement, while others need only partial repair. New teak logs from Karenni State were chemically treated so that they would be protected from both weather and termites.
Founded over 50 years ago, the WMF joined with Burma’s Ministry of Culture in 2013 to preserve the 19th-century teak wood monastery, also known Shwe Nan Daw Kyaung.
The monastery was once a royal chamber of King Mindon, who reigned from 1853 until 1878, and was covered with gold leaf and glass mosaics and adorned with intricate woodcarvings. After King Mindon passed away, his son, King Thibaw, moved the chamber out of the palace compound and transformed it into a monastery for fear that the king’s spirit might haunt the building.
Unlike most historical buildings in Mandalay, the Golden Palace Monastery survived aerial bombardment during World War II, and is the only original structure of the former royal palace which remains.