March 19: Shwezigon Pagoda and The Began Empire

The history of Myanmar can be traced to evidence 13 centuries old. Development of the Bagan Plain with its many stupas began with a fortified settlement, Began, on a bend of the Irrawaddy River in the 9th century built by the Burmans. From that settlement,  a dynasty took form, the Bagan Dynasty, and the dawning of its Golden Age in 1044 with accenssion to the throne of Anwarhta (1015-1078). The construction of Shweigon Pagoda was begun during the reign of Anwarhta and his son, Kyanzittha who brought peace to the kingdom and fostered a period of intense construction. The Ananda ( shown on March 18th page) and Shwezigon Pagodas are the result of an enthusiastic promotion of Theravada Buddhism.

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Shwezigon Pagoda

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Shwezigon Pagoda

This pagoda is believed to enclose a bone and a tooth relic of Gautama Buddha, and a gold image of Anawrahta. Around the base are 500 enameled plaques, one of which follows.

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