#Myanmar (Burma) - China to restore Thatbyinnyu Pagoda.
State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi will sign an agreement for
the restoration of quake-hit Thatbyinnyu Pagoda in Bagan during her
visit to China.
Thatbyinnyu Pagoda which is internally damaged is going to be renovated by China. Maung Zaw / The Myanmar Times The Union Minister for Religious Affairs and Culture Thura U Aung Ko made this announcement on May 6 at a press conference on the Bagan cultural heritage conservation held at the Bagan Archaeological Museum.
“Currently the State Counsellor is on a visit to European countries. After coming back, she will visit China. Among the various issues to be discussed is the signing of a bilateral agreement on the Thatbyinnyu Pagoda restoration. After that, China will start renovation works,” said Thura U Aung Ko.
Severely-hit Thatbyinnyu Pagoda was one of the over 400 Bagan pagodas damaged by an earthquake with its epicenter in Chauk township in August last year.
“During a renovation meeting held last February, we made a request to the Chinese Ambassador. China is best at restoration,” Thura U Aung Ko said.
China agreed to Myanmar’s request and all the costs of restoration will be borne by China, it has been learnt.
Department of Archaeology, National Museum and Library (Bagan branch) director U Aung Kyaw Kyaw said that the damage was severe.
”Thatbyinnyu Pagoda is not externally but internally damaged. Even echoes can no longer be heard if you make a sound inside the pagoda,” said U Aung Kyaw Kyaw.
According to data from the Department of Archaeology, the pyramidal spire and base pillars of the Thatbyinnyu Pagoda were severely damaged by last year’s earthquake. At present, emergency maintenance works for the Thatbyinnyu Pagoda are being carried out by UNESCO experts and Myanmar engineers.
In addition to Thatbyinnyu, China also donated US$100,000 for restoration works on other quake-hit pagodas in Bagan; at present, offers to help in pagoda renovation have also been received from countries like France and Italy, according to Thura U Aung Ko.
“Conserving cultural heritage is important. If we cannot repair it ourselves, we should accept assistance from other countries. Not China alone. Where it is appropriate, we should get assistance from other countries,” U Soe Win, a Nyaung-U resident, said.
Thatbyinnyu Pagoda was built in AD 1144 by King Alaung Sithu. It is a four-storey cave pagoda with a spire and it is 210 feet high. It is reputed to be the tallest pagoda in Bagan.