Restora­tion pri­ori­tised at quakeaf­fected That­byin­nyu Pagoda

The Myanmar Times - - News - MAUNG ZAW maungzaw@mm­

THE fa­mous That­byin­nyu Pagoda in Ba­gan will be re­paired as a pri­or­ity fol­low­ing dam­age in­curred in the 6.8-mag­ni­tude earth­quake last month, ac­cord­ing to gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials.

“When we car­ried out an in­spec­tion af­ter the earth­quake, we found cracks in the up­per part of the pagoda. The earth­quake also dam­aged the pagoda’s in­te­rior. Based on the dam­age we ob­served, it seems the pagoda was severely hit,” said U Aung Aung Kyaw, direc­tor of the Depart­ment of Ar­chae­ol­ogy, Na­tional Mu­seum and Li­brary for Ba­gan.

The 12th-cen­tury That­byin­nyu Pagoda is among more than 30 tem­ples off lim­its to the public fol­low­ing the quake. Of­fi­cials are also plan­ning to ban ve­hi­cles from pass­ing near the pagoda, ac­cord­ing to the Gen­eral Ad­min­is­tra­tion Depart­ment for NyaungU district.

“The Depart­ment of Ar­chae­ol­ogy, Na­tional Mu­seum and Li­brary sug­gested that the ef­fect of pass­ing ve­hi­cles may cause fur­ther cracks for some pago­das. So that’s why we are ar­rang­ing to im­pose this ban,” said U Soe Tint, Nyaung-U district ad­min­is­tra­tor.

The ban will also be im­posed on cars driv­ing near an­other earth­quakedam­aged land­mark, the Tharabar Gate.

An es­ti­mated 397 pago­das were dam­aged by the re­cent tremor. The Depart­ment of Ar­chae­ol­ogy has es­ti­mated that re­pair work across Ba­gan will take at least one year to com­plete. Pago­das out­side of Ba­gan, in­clud­ing in Magwe and Sa­gaing re­gions, and Rakhine State, also sus­tained dam­age.

Se­nior fig­ures across Myan­mar, in­clud­ing State Coun­sel­lor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, have urged caution and pa­tience in con­duct­ing re­pairs.

Af­ter an earth­quake struck Ba­gan in 1975, more than 600 pago­das were poorly ren­o­vated. Shoddy preser­va­tion work has been an on­go­ing bar­rier to the gov­ern­ment’s ef­forts to have Ba­gan added to UNESCO’s list of World Her­itage Sites, which it aims to ap­ply for next year.

No es­ti­mate has been given on how long it will take to fully re­pair That­byin­nyu. – Trans­la­tion by Zar Zar Soe

Photo: Kaung Htet

Pres­i­dent U Htin Kyaw vis­its the earth­quake-dam­aged site of Su­la­mani Pagoda in Ba­gan on Au­gust 25.

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