Mrauk-U’s UNESCO heritage bid pushed to 2022

Submission of a final proposal intended to put Mrauk-U on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites has been put off till next year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, said Deputy Director-General Dr Thein Lwin of Department of Archaeology and National Museum.

Myanmar submitted a draft nomination to the United Nations cultural agency, UNESCO, in September 2019. The application was set to be submitted in January this year, but the department has not been able to conduct necessary survey due to COVID-19.

“The application has to be sub-mitted in January, only in January in a year. But, we have not been able to conduct survey due to COVID-19. Much remains to be done including consultation with the public. So, we have to put off the application until next year,” he said.

Since 2014, the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Culture has carried out digital mapping and worked to better preserve Buddhist temples and palaces at Mrauk-U. In May 2017, the government began the UNESCO World Heritage List nomination process.

Mrauk-U was the seat of Rakhine kings from the 15th century to the late 1800s with the arrival of British imperialist forces. At its height, the empire controlled large parts of today’s Bangladesh, Rakhine State and parts of central Myanmar. Much of the city’s remains are well-preserved and some 380 temples are scattered among the lush hills of northern Rakhine.

Three historic Pyu cities became Myanmar’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2014 and Bagan was added in July 21019. Mrauk-U is expected to become the thirdsite.