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 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

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.[7]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.[8]

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.[9] It stands on a ridge, giving a panoramic view of the city, and is surrounded by 34 smaller temples.[9] Among its sacred treasures is a hair relic of Buddha,[9][10] received from a hermit in Thaton,[11] as well as a tooth relic conveyed from Sri Lanka by a delegation of monks.[11]

Built in 875 CE during the reign of King Mutpi Raja,[10] 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 Dynasty.[10] (Anawrahta is also credited with the construction of the Shwedagon Pagoda in 1056 AD.[12])

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.[7]

Transport[edit]

Thanlwin Bridge

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.[13] The city is connected to Pa-an in Kayin State and Dawei and Myeik in Tanintharyi Division by road.[14] 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.[7][15][16]

Mawlamyine Airport has regular flights to Yangon.

Cityscape[edit]

Around the city

  • H.R.H. Princess Ashin Hteik Suhpaya's tomb: The fourth daughter of the last King of Burma Thibaw Min (The King in Exile), H.R.H. Princess Ashin Hteik Suhpaya (aka Princess Mayat Phaya Galay) died in Mawlamyine in 1936.[17][18] 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 (aka Hteik Su Phaya Htwe) were also buried in the tomb in the later years.[1]
  • Mon State Cultural Museum
  • Santawshin Pagoda: Santawshin Pagoda is located on Taung Paw (Taung Yoe Tan) Road, Mawlamyine. It is a good place for sunset viewers.[19]
  • Kyaik Than Lan Pagoda: The pagoda is the city's largest stupa and located on Taung Paw (Taung Yoe Tan) Road, Mawlamyine. 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.[20]
  • St Matthew's Church: It was built in 1887.[21]
  • First Baptist Church: It was built in 1827.[22]
  • Bilu Island (Belu-kyun): The local meaning of the island's name is Orge Island. It is located just opposite to the west of Mawlamyine. The island is famous for handicraft and Mon traditional culture.[23]
  • 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.
  • Pa-Auk Forest Monastery: The original Pa-Auk Forest Monastery is located in a forest along the Taung Nyo Mountain range 15 kilometers southeast of Mawlamyine.[24][25]
  • 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.[11]
  • Thanbyuzayat War Memorial - 64 kilometers south of Mawlamyine is POW cemetery and the death railway connected with the Bridge over the River Kwai.

Economy[edit]

Mawlamyine is famous for its tropical fruits[4] and for its cuisine[7] as indicated in the popular Burmese expression, "Mandalay for the speaking, Yangon for the bragging, and Mawlamyine for the eating."

Mawlamyine had several sawmills and rice mills as teak and rice are 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.[7]

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.[26]

On 27 May 2009, three bomb explosions in Mawlamyine were blamed on terrorists by the authorities. No casualties were reported.[27]

Flora[edit]

Culture[edit]

Mawlamyine is key to communications in Tanintharyi and, being a busy seaport and transport center, it provides a multicultural dimension despite a Buddhist Mon majority. Buddhist cultural dominance is as old as Mawlamyine, but the British annexation in the 19th century introduced Christianity. St Patrick's School, Mawlamyine (now BEHS-5, Mawlamyine) was opened by the De La Salle Brothers in 1860. Moreover, expansion of trade and commerce in the early 20th century established in Mawlamyine a Hindu culture of India (so-called Galakhar).

The First Baptist Church in Mawlamyine was constructed in 1827 by the legendary Adoniram Judson, an American missionary who spent nearly 40 years in Myanmar (Burma) in the early 19th century.[28]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.[29]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.[30]

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

Education[edit]

Mawlamyine has 13 public high schools, three universities, an institute 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. Mawlamyaing 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 Mawlamyaing was the first of its kind in Myanmar.[31] Technological University (Mawlamyine) offers technological and engineering courses. The Computer University (Mawlamyine), which is affiliated with UCSY is located in outskirts of the city. Mawlamyaing Education College and Mawlamyaing Institute of Education are also located in the city. [32]

The St. Patrick's School (now B.E.H.S No.5) founded in 1860 and Shin Maha Buddhaghosa National School founded in 1899 are popular public high schools in the city.[33]

The first international student of Bucknell University, Class of 1864, Maung Shaw Loo—born in 1839 in Moulmein—was the first Myanmar medical doctor and native Burmese who studied Western Medicine and was graduated in the United States.[34][35]

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 FC, a Myanmar National League (MNL) football club.

Sister cities[edit]

Mawlamyine established a Friendship City agreement with Fort Wayne, Indiana, USA in 2016.[36]

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. ^ a b c d e "Moulmein". Encyclopædia Britannica online. Retrieved 2009-02-03. 
  8. ^ "Moulmein, Myanmar". Retrieved 2017-06-12. 
  9. ^ a b c Mawlamyine.com Kyaikthanlan pagoda page Accessed 16 August 2015.
  10. ^ a b c Happy Footprints. Accessed 16 August 2015
  11. ^ a b c W. Vivian De Thabreuw, Buddhist Monuments and Temples of Myanmar and Thailand (Authorhouse, 11 March 2014). E-book. ISBN 9781491896228.
  12. ^ Myanmar Image website. Accessed 16 August 2015
  13. ^ "Welcome to Mawlamyine". Retrieved 2008-08-30. 
  14. ^ "Myanmar (Burma) Maps - Major country roads". Asterism. Retrieved 2009-02-03. 
  15. ^ "Train travel in Myanmar(Burma)". seat61.com. Retrieved 2009-02-03. 
  16. ^ "Mon State". Asterism. Retrieved 2009-02-03. 
  17. ^ "KONBAU19". www.royalark.net. Retrieved 2017-06-12. 
  18. ^ "Burma’s Last Royals - Los Angeles Review of Books". Los Angeles Review of Books. Retrieved 2017-06-12. 
  19. ^ "Santawshin Pagoda (Mawlamyine, Myanmar): Top Tips Before You Go - TripAdvisor". www.tripadvisor.com.au. Retrieved 2017-06-13. 
  20. ^ "Kyaik Than Lan". Travelfish. Retrieved 2017-06-13. 
  21. ^ "Moulmein, Myanmar". Retrieved 2017-06-13. 
  22. ^ "First Baptist Church of Mawlamyine". World Monuments Fund. Retrieved 2017-06-13. 
  23. ^ "Bilu Island". Travelfish. Retrieved 2017-06-13. 
  24. ^ "Pa-Auk Forest Monastery". www.paaukforestmonastery.org. Retrieved 2017-06-13. 
  25. ^ "Pa-Auk Forest Monastery". www.paaukforestmonastery.org. Retrieved 2017-06-13. 
  26. ^ Lawi Weng. "Fire Destroys Moulmein Market". The Irrawaddy, December 2, 2008. Retrieved 2009-02-03. 
  27. ^ "Explosions Shake Parts of Moulmein". The Irrawaddy, May 28, 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-30. 
  28. ^ "First Baptist Church of Mawlamyine". World Monuments Fund. Retrieved 2017-06-12. 
  29. ^ "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. 
  30. ^ "Moulmein, Myanmar". Retrieved 2017-06-12. 
  31. ^ "l". 2009-01-06. Retrieved 2017-06-12. 
  32. ^ "MODiNS [ Myanmar Online Information ]". www.modins.net. Retrieved 2017-06-12. 
  33. ^ "The New Light of Myanmar (Sunday, November 21, 1999)". www.burmalibrary.org. Retrieved 2017-06-13. 
  34. ^ "Maung Shaw Loo". Bucknell University. Retrieved 2009-02-03. 
  35. ^ "Dr. M Shaw Loo" "The Myanmar Net", Myanmar, Retrieved on 30 March 2014
  36. ^ "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