Mawlamyine

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Mawlamyine
မော်လမြိုင်မြို့
Skyline of Mawlamyine
Mawlamyine is located in Myanmar
Mawlamyine
Mawlamyine
Location of Mawlamyine, Myanmar (Burma)
Coordinates: 16°29′N 97°37′E / 16.483°N 97.617°E / 16.483; 97.617
Country  Myanmar (Burma)
State Mon State
District Mawlamyine District
Township Mawlamyine Township
Population (2014 Census)[1]
 • City 289,388
 • Urban 253,734
 • Rural 35,654
 • Ethnicities Mons, Burmans, Chinese, Indians, Karens
 • Religions Theravada Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism
Time zone MST (UTC+6.30)
Area code(s) 57
[2]

Mawlamyine (also spelled Mawlamyaing; Mon: မတ်မလီု pronounced [mo̤t məlɜ̤m]; Burmese: မော်လမြိုင်မြို့; MLCTS: mau la. mruing mrui.; pronounced [mɔ̀ləmjàiɴ mjo̰]), formerly Moulmein, is the fourth largest city of Burma (Myanmar),[3] 300 km south east of Yangon and 70 km south of Thaton, at the mouth of Thanlwin (Salween) River. The city is the capital and largest city of Mon State, Myanmar and is the main trading center and seaport in south eastern Burma.[4]

Etymology and legend[edit]

The Mon name which was previously used for Mawlamyine, Moulmein (မတ်မလီု; [mòt məlɜ̀m]) means "damaged eye."[5]

It is said to derive from Mot-Mua-Lum, meaning "one eye destroyed". According to legend, a Mon king had a powerful third eye in the centre of his forehead, able to see what was happening in neighbouring kingdoms. The daughter of one of the neighbouring kings was given in marriage to the three-eyed king and managed to destroy the third eye.[6] The Burmese name "Mawlamyine" is believed to be a corruption of the Mon name.

History[edit]

Moulmein and the mouth of the Thanlwin River in the early-1900s

Early History[edit]

According to Kalyani Inscriptions erected by King Dhammazedi of Hanthawaddy Pegu in 1479, Mawlamyine was mentioned among the ‘32 myo’ or thirty-two Mon cities within the Martaban division.[7]

Colonial Moulmein (1824-1948)[edit]

Mawlamyine was the first capital of British Burma between 1826 and 1852 after the Tanintharyi (Tenassarim) coast, along with Arakan, was ceded to Britain under the Treaty of Yandabo at the end of the First Anglo-Burmese War.[8]After the first Anglo-Burmese war, the British made it their capital between 1826 and 1852, building government offices, churches and a massive prison. They started business enterprises and the country’s first newspaper.[9]Between 1826 and 1862, colonial Mawlamyine was the center of British Burma and the first port city that became the “bridgehead” and a “nodal point” for the newly acquired British territory in Southeast Asia.[10]

Mawlamyine is the setting of George Orwell's famous 1936 memoir Shooting an Elephant. The essay opens with the striking words:

"In Moulmein, in Lower Burma, I was hated by large numbers of people—the only time in my life that I have been important enough for this to happen to me."

During colonial times, Moulmein had a substantial Anglo-Burmese population. An area of the city was known as "Little England" due to the large Anglo-Burmese community, many of them running rubber plantations. This has since dwindled to a handful of families as most have left for the UK or Australia.

It is probably best known to English speakers through the opening lines of Rudyard Kipling's poem Mandalay:

"By the old Moulmein pagoda, lookin' lazy at the sea
There's a Burma girl a-settin', and I know she thinks o' me".

"The old Moulmein pagoda" - Kyaik Than Lan[edit]

The "old Moulmein pagoda" Kipling cites is thought to be the Kyaik Than Lan (also spelled Kyaikthanlan) pagoda in Mawlamyine.[11] It stands on a ridge, giving a panoramic view of the city, and is surrounded by 34 smaller temples.[11] Among its sacred treasures is a hair relic of Buddha,[11][12] received from a hermit in Thaton,[13] as well as a tooth relic conveyed from Sri Lanka by a delegation of monks.[13]

Contemporary Mawlamyine[edit]

After Burma's independence in 1948, many colonial names of streets and parks of the city were changed to more nationalistic Burmese names.

Geography[edit]

Shampoo Island near Mawlamyine.

Mawlamyine is in the Salween River delta, where the mouth of the Salween is sheltered by Bilugyun Island as it enters the Gulf of Martaban and the Andaman Sea. It is flanked by low hills dotted with ancient pagodas to the east and west.[8]

Transport[edit]

Thanlwin Bridge

Airport[edit]

Mawlamyine Airport has regular flights to Yangon. In 2013, Nok Air of Thailand started its daily flight to Mawlamyine from Mae Sot, Tak Province, Thailand.[14]

Bus and taxis[edit]

Mawlamyine is the main gateway to south eastern Myanmar. Thanlwin Bridge, the longest road and rail bridge in Myanmar is the most prominent landmark in the area. It stretches 11,000 feet (3,400 metres) over the Thanlwin River connecting the country's south eastern region with Yangon.[15] The city has central highway bus station. The city is connected to Pa-an in Kayin State in the north-east and Dawei and Myeik in Tanintharyi Division in the south by road.[16]Via Kawkareik, the city is also connected with Thai-Myanmar border town Myawaddy. Newly-opened Bogyoke Aung San Bridge (Bilu Kyun) connects Mawlamyine with nearby Bilu island, lies about 500 metres west off the shore of Mawlamyine.[17][18]

In Mawlamyine, motorcycles and tuk-tuk (Thone Bee in Burmese) motorized tricycles cumulatively registered for use as taxis. Mawlamyine is also served by bus networks which radiate mostly from the north to the south.

Railways[edit]

It was the rail head to Ye, linked to Yangon by rail only from Mottama (Martaban) across the river by ferry, but today connected by the Thanlwin Bridge (Mawlamyine) opened in April 2006.[8][19][20]

Mawlamyine Railway Station, which was reportedly built to the standards of an "ASEAN railway station", is the terminus of Myanmar Railways' Bago-Mawlamyine-Dawei line from Yangon.

Water transport[edit]

In colonial era, Mawlamyine (then Moulmein) port was served by European shipping companies including Scottish-owned British-India Steam Navigation Company and Irrawaddy Flotilla C

A steamer owned by British-India Steam Navigation Company in 1887

ompany. The port was important not only for inland navigation but also for international shipping. Rice and teak from sawmills at Mawlamyine were exported worldwide by those shipping companies.[21]The 1880 handbook of British-India Steam Navigation Company listed:

In 1894, the journey between Barr Street Jetty of Rangoon to the Main Wharf of Moulmein took about nine hours at a fare of 10 Rupees for second class.[24]

Nowadays, although much diminished from its past prominence, water-based transport still plays an important role in connecting between Mawlamyine and the immediate upstream towns.

Cityscape[edit]

Moulmein (Mawlamyine) in the 1870s by Samuel Bourne (1832-1912)

Around the city[edit]

  • H.R.H. Princess Ashin Hteik Suhpaya's tomb: The fourth daughter of the last King of Burma Thibaw Min (The King in Exile), Princess Ashin Hteik Suhpaya (a.k.a Princess Mayat Phaya Galay) of the Royal House of Konbaung returned to Burma from exile in 1915 and died in Mawlamyine in 1936.[25][26] Her tomb is located near Kyaik Than Lan Pagoda. The remains of her son, Prince Terrance (aka Taw Phaya Nge) and her daughter, Princess Margret (a.k.a Hteik Su Phaya Htwe) were also buried in the tomb in the later years.[1]
  • Mon State Cultural Museum (Mon Ethnic Cultural Museum)
  • Kyaik Than Lan Pagoda: The pagoda is the city's largest stupa and located on Taung Paw (Taung Yoe Tan) Road, Mawlamyine. It was built in 875 CE during the reign of Mon King Mutpi Raja,[12] it was raised from its original height of 56 feet (17 metres) to the present 150 feet (46 metres) by successive kings including Anawrahta, founder of the Bagan Empire and Wareru, founder of the Kingdom of Hanthawaddy Pegu.[12][27]Being situated on the range of hill, the pagoda commands the stunning view of the city, nearby islands, Gulf of Martaban, surrounding rivers and the limestone mountains of Kayin State in the east. Rudyard is believed to have written his famous "Lookin' lazy at the sea" line at this pagoda.[28]
  • U-zina Pagoda: The pagoda is one of the principal pagodas situated on the range of hill. According to legend, the pagoda contains a hair of Buddha and was built during the reign of Asoka, King of Kapala-vistu, the great protector of Buddhism.[29] The U-zina pagoda was named after the sage, U-zina who restored it in 1838. Prior to this the pagoda had been known as Kyaik Pa-dhan pagoda.[30]
  • St Matthew's Church: It was the first English Church built in Burma and the current structure was rebuilt in 1887.[31][32]It was designed by the British architects St Aubyn & Wadling of London and the foundation stone was laid by Sir Charles Crosthwaite, Chief Commissioner of Burma.[33] It is of red brick, the capitals of interior pillars being stone, and is said to be a model of English Church at Dresden. The church was attended by George Orwell during his days as Imperial Policeman in Moulmein between 1926-1927. The church compound has the grave stones of George Orwell's relatives. The church is now in the stage of decay.
  • First Baptist Church: It was initially built in 1827 by the legendary Adoniram Judson, a 19th-century American missionary who compiled the first Burmese-English dictionary.[34]The church is probably the earliest surviving church in Myanmar.
  • Mottama (formerly Martaban): A small town located opposite to the north bank of Mawlamyine was the first capital of the Hanthawaddy Kingdom in the 13th and 14th centuries after the collapse of Pagan (Bagan) Empire in 1287. During Burmese–Siamese wars between the 16th and 18th centuries, Mottama was an important rallying spot for Burmese troops moving from Upper Burma to sack Ayutthaya.
  • Bilu Island (Belu-kyun): The local meaning of the island's name is Orge Island. The island is famous for handicraft and Mon traditional culture.[35]
  • Gaungsay Kyun Island (Shampoo Island): A tiny island lies between Mottama and the north bank of Mawlamyine is called Gaungsay Kyun island, literally: "Head Washing Island". In ancient times, the clear pristine water obtained from a small rocky outcrop of the island was carried to the palace and used by Burmese kings at royal hair-washing ceremonies during Thingyan.[36] In colonial days, the island was known in its European name "Crow Island" for being the home of all the crows in the city.
  • Pa-Auk Forest Monastery (Pa-Auk Tawya): The original Pa-Auk Forest Monastery is located in a forest near Pa-Auk village along the Taung Nyo Mountain range 15 kilometers southeast of Mawlamyine.[37][38]The monastery is famous for the practice of meditation. 500-1000 meditators from over 20 countries reside in the monastery.[39][40]
  • Win Sein reclining Buddha: 29 km south of Mawlamyine is the world's largest reclining Buddha at Mudon. It is approached by a roadway with 500 life size statues of Arahant disciples of Buddha and a hall whose chamber walls display scenes of Buddha's lifetime, and the underworld.[13]
  • Thanbyuzayat War Cemetery: 64 kilometers south of Mawlamyine is prisoners-of-war cemetery and the notorious death railway connected with the Bridge over the River Kwai. The cemetery contains the graves of 3,770 British, Australian, Dutch and other soldiers. It was formally opened on 10th December 1946 by General Aung San and then Governor Sir Hubert Rance.[41]

Economy[edit]

Mawlamyine is famous for its tropical fruits[4] and for its cuisine[8] as indicated in the popular Burmese expression, "Mandalay for the speaking, Yangon for the bragging, and Mawlamyine for the eating." (မန္တလေးစကား ရန်ကုန်အကြွား မော်လမြိုင်အစား) Among its tropical fruits, Mawlamyine pomelo, durian and rambutan are the most famous and traded countrywide.

Mawlamyine had several sawmills and rice mills as teak and rice were transported down the Salween. It was once a busy shipbuilding center and remains an important port. The city had a solar-powered plant for extracting salt from seawater and a diesel electric plant.[8]On the night of 1 December 2008, a fire that started from a floating restaurant destroyed the larger of city's two markets called the lower bazaar.[42]

As a cross-border investment, the state-of-the-art combined-cycle gas power plant in Mawlamyine was constructed by Singapore’s United Overseas Bank (UOB) backed Singapore company Asiatech Energy.[43]The Mawlamyine power plant brings a sustainable supply of power to residents and businesses in Mon State.

The city has two industrial zones. Of two, the newly-opened Kyauktan industrial zone features a variety of different business enterprises, including zinc, barbed wire, ready-mix cement, food and drink production, textiles, gold purification, ice factories, shoe production facilities, furniture enterprise, plastic enterprises, cool seafood storage and car accessory businesses.[44]

Flora[edit]

Culture[edit]

Mawlamyine provides a multicultural dimension despite a Buddhist Mon majority. Buddhist cultural dominance is as old as Mawlamyine, but the British annexation and American missionaries in the early 19th century introduced Christianity. Many of the relics of the British Raj remain along with Hindu temples, Chinese temples, mosques and even a slice of Americana, reflecting Mawlamyine's great diversity.[45]

190-year old First Baptist Church

The First Baptist Church in Mawlamyine was constructed in 1827 by the legendary Adoniram Judson, the first Caucasian Protestant missionary sent from North America to Myanmar.[46]The building is a masterful blend of Western and local elements, with the materials and building technology speaking directly to Mon cultural traditions and crafts expertise. In 2015, the U.S. Embassy in Myanmar announced that it gave an award of $125,000 to World Monuments Fund (WMF) to restore the historic First Baptist Church in Mawlamyine through the Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation.[47]Nearby stands the St. Mathew’s Anglican church, erected in 1887 and still in use, although like many of the city’s heritage buildings in a state of picturesque decay.[48]

Today, the Mon State Cultural Museum is in the city.

Education[edit]

University of Mawlamyine

Mawlamyine has 13 public high schools, three universities, two institutes and a college. The University of Mawlamyine, which was established in 1953 is the major university for the south eastern region and offers both bachelor's and master's degree programs in liberal arts and sciences. The University of Mawlamyine is the third oldest Arts and Science university in the country after Yangon University (est 1878) and Mandalay University (est 1925). Mawlamyine University is one of few universities in Myanmar, offering a degree in Marine Science. Its Marine Science Laboratory in Setse, a coastal town about 83 km south of Mawlamyine was the first of its kind in Myanmar.[49] Technological University (Mawlamyine) offers technological and engineering courses. The Computer University (Mawlamyine), which is affiliated with UCSY is located in outskirts of the city. Government Technical Institute (Mawlamyine), which also offers engineering courses located in outskirts of the city. Mawlamyine Education College and Mawlamyine Institute of Education are also located in the city. [50]

The St. Patrick's School (now B.E.H.S No.5) founded by the De La Salle Brothers in 1860 and Shin Maha Buddhaghosa National School (now B.E.H.S No.9) founded in 1899 are popular public high schools in the city.[51]

The first international student of Bucknell University, Class of 1864, Maung Shaw Loo—born in 1839 in Mawlamyine (then Moulmein)—was the first Myanmar medical doctor and native Myanmar to study Western Medicine and completed his study in the United States.[52][53]

Sports[edit]

The 10,000-seat Yamanya Stadium is one of the main venues for popular local and regional football tournaments. The stadium is also a home for Southern Myanmar F.C, a Myanmar National League (MNL) football club.

Health care[edit]

Public Hospitals[edit]

  • Mawlamyine Women and Children's Hospital (former Ellen Mitchell Memorial Hospital)
  • Mawlamyine General Hospital
  • Mawlamyine Christian Leprosy Hospital
  • Mawlamyine Traditional Medicine Hospital

Sister cities[edit]

Mawlamyine established a Friendship City agreement with United States Fort Wayne, Indiana, USA in 2016.[54]

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The 2014 Myanmar Population and Housing Census The Union Report Census Report Volume 2. Department of Population, Ministry of Immigration and Population. May 2015. p. 59. 
  2. ^ "National Telephone Area Codes". Myanmar Yellow Pages. 
  3. ^ "Myanmar: largest cities and towns and statistics of their population:calculation 2010". Archived from the original on 19 September 2012.  World Gazetteer
  4. ^ a b "Mawlamyine or Moulmein". allmyanmar.com. Retrieved 2009-02-03. 
  5. ^ Dictionary of Modern Spoken Mon by H.L. Shorto (1962, Oxford University Press).
  6. ^ Myanmar Travel Information. Accessed 16 August 2015
  7. ^ Shorto, H L (1963). The 32 myos in the medieval Mon kingdom. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies. p. 575. 
  8. ^ a b c d e "Moulmein". Encyclopædia Britannica online. Retrieved 2009-02-03. 
  9. ^ "Moulmein, Myanmar". Retrieved 2017-06-12. 
  10. ^ McPherson, Kenneth (2002). Port Cities as Nodal Points of Change. Columbia University Press. pp. 75–95. 
  11. ^ a b c Mawlamyine.com Kyaikthanlan pagoda page Accessed 16 August 2015.
  12. ^ a b c Happy Footprints. Accessed 16 August 2015
  13. ^ a b c W. Vivian De Thabreuw, Buddhist Monuments and Temples of Myanmar and Thailand (Authorhouse, 11 March 2014). E-book. ISBN 9781491896228.
  14. ^ "Nok Air's starts Mae Sot-Mawlamyine flights - The Nation". The Nation. Retrieved 2017-07-02. 
  15. ^ "Welcome to Mawlamyine". Retrieved 2008-08-30. 
  16. ^ "Myanmar (Burma) Maps - Major country roads". Asterism. Retrieved 2009-02-03. 
  17. ^ mizzima (2017-06-14). "The Bilu Kyun Bridge controversy". Mizzima. Retrieved 2017-08-05. 
  18. ^ "Bogyoke Aung San Bridge inaugurated | Global New Light Of Myanmar". www.globalnewlightofmyanmar.com. Retrieved 2017-08-05. 
  19. ^ "Train travel in Myanmar(Burma)". seat61.com. Retrieved 2009-02-03. 
  20. ^ "Mon State". Asterism. Retrieved 2009-02-03. 
  21. ^ "Irrawaddy Flotilla". Mrs Findlays Broadwood Square Piano. Retrieved 2017-07-30. 
  22. ^ Brittain, Colin. "British India Steam Navigation Company - Part One". www.eskside.co.uk. Retrieved 2017-07-30. 
  23. ^ Swiggum, Sue. "British India Steam Navigation Company". www.theshipslist.com. Retrieved 2017-07-30. 
  24. ^ "Wanderings in Burma". archive.org. Retrieved 2017-07-30. 
  25. ^ "KONBAU19". www.royalark.net. Retrieved 2017-06-12. 
  26. ^ "Burma’s Last Royals - Los Angeles Review of Books". Los Angeles Review of Books. Retrieved 2017-06-12. 
  27. ^ Bird, G W (1897). Wanderings in Burma. p. 204. 
  28. ^ "Kyaik Than Lan". Travelfish. Retrieved 2017-06-13. 
  29. ^ "Wanderings in Burma". seasiavisions.library.cornell.edu. Retrieved 2017-07-29. 
  30. ^ "Wanderings in Burma". seasiavisions.library.cornell.edu. Retrieved 2017-07-29. 
  31. ^ "Moulmein, Myanmar". Retrieved 2017-06-13. 
  32. ^ "Wanderings in Burma - Southeast Asia Visions". seasiavisions.library.cornell.edu. Retrieved 2017-07-27. 
  33. ^ Larkin, Emma (2005). Finding George Orwell in Burma. 
  34. ^ "First Baptist Church of Mawlamyine". World Monuments Fund. Retrieved 2017-06-13. 
  35. ^ "Bilu Island". Travelfish. Retrieved 2017-06-13. 
  36. ^ Scott, James George (1896). The Burman, his life and notions. University of California Libraries. London, Macmillan and co., limited. 
  37. ^ "Pa-Auk Forest Monastery". www.paaukforestmonastery.org. Retrieved 2017-06-13. 
  38. ^ "Pa-Auk Forest Monastery". www.paaukforestmonastery.org. Retrieved 2017-06-13. 
  39. ^ "Pa-Auk Forest Monastery". www.paaukforestmonastery.org. Retrieved 2017-07-27. 
  40. ^ "40-Day Meditation Retreat at Pa-Auk Tawya, Burma". UP Development. 2014-09-17. Retrieved 2017-07-27. 
  41. ^ "Myanmar Guide & Reviews". myanmars.net. Retrieved 2017-07-27. 
  42. ^ Lawi Weng. "Fire Destroys Moulmein Market". The Irrawaddy, December 2, 2008. Retrieved 2009-02-03. 
  43. ^ "Powering up Myanmar". BBC Capital. Retrieved 2017-08-20. 
  44. ^ "New Industrial Zone in Mon State to open this month | Global New Light Of Myanmar". www.globalnewlightofmyanmar.com. Retrieved 2017-08-20. 
  45. ^ Gray, Denis D. (2017-04-22). "Myanmar’s ex-colonial capital captivates with faded glory | TheRecord.com". TheRecord.com. Retrieved 2017-08-08. 
  46. ^ "First Baptist Church of Mawlamyine". World Monuments Fund. Retrieved 2017-06-12. 
  47. ^ "U.S. Embassy Announces Project to Restore the Historic First Baptist Church in Mawlamyine [Burmese] [Mon] | U.S. Embassy in Burma". U.S. Embassy in Burma. 2015-09-14. Retrieved 2017-06-12. 
  48. ^ "Moulmein, Myanmar". Retrieved 2017-06-12. 
  49. ^ "l". 2009-01-06. Retrieved 2017-06-12. 
  50. ^ "MODiNS [ Myanmar Online Information ]". www.modins.net. Retrieved 2017-06-12. 
  51. ^ "The New Light of Myanmar (Sunday, November 21, 1999)". www.burmalibrary.org. Retrieved 2017-06-13. 
  52. ^ "Maung Shaw Loo". Bucknell University. Retrieved 2009-02-03. 
  53. ^ "Dr. M Shaw Loo" "The Myanmar Net", Myanmar, Retrieved on 30 March 2014
  54. ^ "Fort Wayne Sister Cities to sign Myanmar friendship agreement". The News-Sentinel. 26 January 2016. Retrieved 30 March 2016. 

External links[edit]

Mawlamyine
Preceded by
None
Capital of British Tenasserim
24 February 1826 – 31 January 1862
Succeeded by
Yangon

Coordinates: 16°29′05″N 97°37′33″E / 16.48472°N 97.62583°E / 16.48472; 97.62583