The ancient city of Bagan is located on the banks of the Ayeyarwady River, in Mandalay region of Myanmar. From the 9th century until the 13th century, the city was the capital of the Kingdom of Pagan, the political, economic and cultural center of Pagan Empire. History truly significant of Bagan city starts with King Anawrahta in 1033 AD, which was converted to Theraveda Buddhism. There was a frenzy to build thousands of temples and pagodas. Emerged thereby some of the most beautiful Buddhist temples in the world.
It is estimated that between 11th century and 13th century were built more than 10,000 Buddhist temples, pagodas and monasteries in the area of 100 sq. km. Around 2,200 temples and pagodas still exist today.
Prosperous city grew in size and grandeur, and become a cosmopolitan center of religious and secular studies. Monks and scholars from India, Ceylon or Khmer Empire came to Bagan to study medicine phonology, grammar, prosody, astrology, alchemy, and law.
The glory of the city ended in 1287, when the Kingdom and its capital was invaded and sacked by the Mongols. Only a few people remained to live among the ruins of another time huge city. The pace of construction of religious monuments has slowed, between the late 15th century and early 20th-century building is less than 200 temples. Ancient temples have fallen and deteriorated, pilgrimage focusing only on a few prominent temples.
Today, only a few dozen temples are regularly maintained. In the 1990s the government made an effort to restore many of these pagodas damaged, but the failure to preserve the original architectural styles and using modern materials has attracted widespread condemnation from art historians and preservationists from around the world.
The buildings of Bagan were made of wood and bricks, placed carefully to blend perfectly, so the mortar is almost invisible. They use architectural forms specific in India, but also arches and vaults.
The necessary funds for constructions were obtained from donations made by those who wanted to gain merit, to be reborn in celestial realms and attain nirvana.