The Sustainable Metropolis Mrauk-U (1433-1785 AD) by R. Myo Myint Sein, AIA


The article you are about to read may appear as an unbelievable epic, occurred in the middle ages in Southeast Asia. It is about a thriving sustainable international `Urban-center', which was conceived and designed for security purposes that eventually developed into a world renowned 'Metropolitan City". It existed for approximately four hundred years (352 years), aw-inspired travelers, traders and diplomats alike from all over the world. It is described by the European travelers as 'Venice' of Southeast Asia.When I first read about Mro_haung (Mrauk-U) travelogues and other write-ups I found it very amusing and even admired the writers for their wit and imagination of fairy tale settings. The cityscape of hills, valleys, plains, rivers, streams/creeks, lakes, dams and plantations, all well designed and coordinated within and around the urban landscape of the Palace City. Moreover, Stupas, Mosque, Temples, Libraries, Ordination Halls and other public and residential buildings. Imagine the sights and sounds of their times and you are transported into the world of "Mary Poppin" way back in the middle ages in Southeast Asia!!!!

I was so intrigued and interested that my further studies revealed of a truly and well renowned City State by designed and development, which eventually turned into a sustainable and defensive urban complex. It consisted of set barriers to keep away its intruders by taking full advantage of all the natural resources available within that area. I became very excited and decided to embark on developing a research project together with our allied professionals. I was fortunate enough to be supported by my Ministry of Higher Education, Department of Archeological Survey, and the Universities Publication Department.' visited the Mro_haung site and its environs several times with my team in the late sixties and seventies performing field research, surveys of Stupas, Temples and other buildings. Most of the structures were in various forms of decaying state with no or little maintenance. Moats were silted, only traces of weirs and dams were still visible but in a ruin state, the lakes appear receded but cool and calm. The whole urban setting appear to be in an abandoned state, everything falling apart with some exception of a few temples, ordination halls and other Stupas with little maintenance still functional as needed.


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