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Photographer's Note

The monuments in Bagan are the silent witnesses of a a glorious past which lasted from the eleventh century until the fourteenth century. In this period Bagan was the capital of the First Burmese Kingdom and one of the largest religious centres in Southeastern Asia.The construction of temples and pagodas reached its peak. Still it is hard to imagine the grandeur of Bagan in its glorious days. Only the religious monuments made of fired brick covered with plaster and decorated with stucco relief remain. The palaces and houses were made of wood and have been destroyed by the elements.

Ironically the use of wood as a material for the construction of houses has led to the preservation of the religious monuments. By logging trees for the construction of houses and palaces as well as for the heating of brick ovens the plain lost its forest. As a consequence the climate became exceptionally dry. These circumstances favored the preservation of the religious monuments made of brick.

Good for the monuments, bad for the land and the people. The so-called dry zone in Myanmar expands now in an area of about 55,000 square kilometers. About 34% of the Myanmar population is living there. When traversing this region one could hardly believe being in south-east asia, more well known for its green rice fields than for its dusty arid areas. Water is very scarce and people are spending a big part of their time and energy looking for water where they can find it. Some make kilometers by foot or with bullock carts rising clouds of dust to fill recipients at the closest well.

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Additional Photos by JM Hullot (vincz) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2844 W: 85 N: 5457] (19099)
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