1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Amarapura

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AMARAPURA. (“the city of the gods”), formerly the capital of the Burmese kingdom, now a suburb of Mandalay, Burma, with a population in 1901 of 9103. The town was founded in 1783 to form a new capital about 6 m. to the north-east of Ava. It increased rapidly in size and population, and in 1810 was estimated to contain 170,000 inhabitants; but in that year the town was destroyed by fire, and this disaster, together with the removal of the native court to Ava in 1823, caused a decline in the prosperity of the place. In 1827 its population was estimated at only 30,000. It suffered severe calamity from an earthquake, which in 1839 destroyed the greater part of the city. It was finally abandoned in 1860, when king Mindon occupied Mandalay, 5 or 6 m. farther north. Amarapura was laid out on much the same plan as Ava. The ruins of the city wall, now overgrown with jungle, show it to have been a square with a side of about three-quarters of a mile in length. At each corner stood a solid brick pagoda about 100 ft. high. The most remarkable edifice was a celebrated temple, adorned with 250 lofty pillars of gilt wood, and containing a colossal bronze statue of Buddha. The remains of the former palace of the Burmese monarchs still survive in the centre of the town. During the time of its prosperity Amarapura was defended by a rampart and a large square citadel, with a broad moat, the walls being 7000 ft. long and 20 ft. high, with a bastion at each corner. The Burmans know it now as Myohaung, “the old city.” It has a station on the Rangoon-Mandalay railway, and is the junction for the line to Maymyo and the Kunlong ferry and for the Sagaing-Myitkyina railway. The group of villages called Amarapura by Europeans is known to the Burmans as Taung-myo, “the southern city,” as distinguished from Mandalay, the Myauk-myo, or “northern city,” 3 m. distant.