Saturday, February 11, 2017

Myanmar Motorcycle Epic 8 - The Ancient City of Hanlin

These ain't just bricks in the ground. These are the remains
of a building that stood in this spot 2000 years ago.

I’m a bit of an archaeology buff. Not in any trained or formal way, but reading and learning about how we’ve discovered information about how people lived millennia ago has always intrigued me. In my home country of the USA, although there are some sites dating back hundreds of years, were I’ve lived, there haven’t been easily visitable reminders of how the people living where I was were living X numbers of centuries ago. 

Here in Myanmar, it’s different. In Bagan, for example, you couldn’t swing a stick without hitting an 800 year old pagoda. Thing is, Bagan wasn’t the first Burmese kingdom.
Despite their condition, these aren't Pyu buildings.
These are probably only about 900 years old.
Before the Bamar people even came to this land, back when they still lived in Tibet, there was a populous and powerful kingdom here called Pyu. Relatively speaking, we don’t know much about the Pyu in terms of where they came from and what they were like. Unlike another ancient people who pre-date the Bamar, the Mon, there are no people today who call themselves Pyu.  

After all the traveling I’ve done over the last couple years, I’d visited both of the important ancient Pyu cities, but there are more than just two. About 15 miles away from Shwebo, there is the ancient city of Hanlin, and me with my love for 2000 year old piles of rubble, I just had to make the trip to see it.

The road was kinda rough, as it is anytime you get off the beaten path here in Myanmar, but it was worth the trip. 

Standing in the middle of the remains of the city gate, I squinted my eyes and tried to imagine I was in the year 100, a guard at the entrance to the city, questioning a traveller on horseback.  

The entrance to the ancient city of Hanlin

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