At 5.04pm on 24 August 2016 a 6.8-magnitude earthquake caused extensive damage to Bagan’s temples and pagodas. Myanmar’s Ministry of Tourism reported that nearly 400 of Bagan’s 2000+ historic structures had been damaged.
Despite the extensive damage, and the ongoing repair and restoration works, Bagan remains a magical place to visit, with most of the key sites still accessible.
Min, together with many other residents and people working in Bagan’s tourism sector, have been assisting efforts to assess the damage and prepare for restoration works. Bagan’s Department of Archaeology, National Museum and Library is collaborating with Unesco experts to train volunteers to collect data and clean debris from the damaged pagodas.
The Ministry of Religious Affairs and Culture, The Nyaung U General Administration Office, and The Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, supported by JICA (the Japan International Cooperation Agency) jointly prepared and released an “Accessibility Map” in late August 2016, detailing the many sights that are still open and accessible.
A copy of the map is available for downloading here > (PDF; 2.37Mb).
As you can see on the map, some of Bagan’s most popular tourist sights remain fully open, with Ananda, That Byin Nyu and Shwezigone pagodas all marked with green circles, meaning there has been no disruption to access.
Many other sights, however, are marked with yellow triangles (meaning partially open) or red squares (sights are currently closed).
While welcoming tourists to Bagan, and providing information on the many sights still accessible in the archaeological zone, the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism also issued requests to visitors to support the restoration of the damaged sights, with the following requests:
- Do not enter pagoda compounds without permission
- Do not access areas with collapsed ceiling and/or walls
- Do not removed damaged materials – these are needed to accurately restore the histroically significant sights
- Do not touch the mural paintings
- Do not disturb the current repair and restoration works
Some good sources of information for ongoing updates to the restoration works in Bagan include:
Advice from the Ministry of Tourism, 28 Aug 2016, following earthquake damage in Bagan