Yangon


The commercial capital city of Myanmar. Until recently the capital of Myanmar, Yangon (Rangoon) is a cosmopolitan city, home to diverse races and religions.


The city lies on gently rolling hills, beside a river, with temples, mosques, churches and pagodas dotted all around. The grid pattern of the downtown streets dates from the colonial times, and almost every street specialises in one form or another of business or craftsmanship, where nothing is wasted and everything is skilfully recycled.


The colonial times are long gone, but in Yangon they have left behind a rich architectural heritage, of a type which many other capital cities of the region has been lost to "progress". Many colonial-era buildings that today host state institutions and authorities, such as government banks and the Port Authority, as well as the High Court and City Hall, are clustered in the downtown area. The Strand Hotel is there, too, built by the famous Sarkies Brothers in 1901, and today a sumptuous reminder of a bygone era.


Unlike many of its regional counterparts Yangon is also still first and foremost a green city, despite the battering it received from a cyclone in 2008. In the tranquil settings of Kandawgyi Lake and Inya Lake, and along its wide avenues, Yangon can still boast countless old trees and vegetation. A panoramic view of the city reveals its beauty - with the awe-inspiring Shwedagon Pagoda in its golden hue on one side, on a low hill, and on the other side the ancient Sule Pagoda and its encircling shops in the downtown area.

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