Restoration prioritised at quakeaffected Thatbyinnyu Pagoda
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
President U Htin Kyaw visits the earthquake-damaged site of Sulamani Pagoda in Bagan on August 25.