Definitions

Pagan

Pagan

[pey-guhn]
Pagan, ruined city, Mandalay div., central Myanmar, on the Ayeyarwady River. Covering an area c.40 sq mi (100 sq km), it is one of the great archaeological treasures of Southeast Asia and a holy place of pilgrimage. Founded c.849, it became in the 11th cent. the seat of King Anawratha, who, under the influence of the Mon civilization in the south, introduced Theravada Buddhism into upper Myanmar, previously dominated by a Mahayana Buddhist sect. Under his rule and that of his descendants, Pagan was adorned with thousands of Buddhist shrines and temples, principally in stone and brick. Occupied by the Mongols in 1287, Pagan was sacked and burned by the Shans in 1299. The thousands of surviving temples, pagodas, and monasteries are massive and imposing structures, built with a knowledge of the true arch and showing strong Indian influence. In 1975 an earthquake damaged much of the architecture. A large restoration project was begun in the mid-1990s.

The Ananda temple, Pagan; its top portion, a restoration, was broken off in an earthquake in 1975

Village, central Myanmar (Burma). Extending along the left bank of the Irrawaddy River, southwest of Mandalay, it was founded circa AD 849 and was the capital of a powerful dynasty from the 11th to the 13th century. It was conquered by the Mongols in 1287. As a centre of Buddhist learning, it is a pilgrimage destination and contains Buddhist shrines that have been restored and redecorated and are in current use. Ruins of other shrines and pagodas cover a wide area. An earthquake in 1975 severely damaged more than half of the important structures and irreparably destroyed many of them. The village also has a school for lacquerware, for which the region is noted.

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