The ancient city of Bagan was the capital of the Kingdom of Pagan, the first dynasty to unify the regions that comprise modern Myanmar. It became a powerbase under King Anawratha who unified Burma under Therevada Buddhism. The area was invaded and sacked by the Mongols in 1287 putting an end to Bagan’s golden age.
Bagan is one of the world greatest archaeological sites and all its temples are considered sacred. Located on the banks of the Irrawaddy River the area has the largest and densest concentration of Buddhist religious buildings. Around 13000 Buddhist temples and monasteries were built during the Pagan Period in the area, nowadays little over 2,200 of them still survive.
These pagodas, also known as stupas are massive structures that evolved from earlier Pyu designs. They are representations of the Buddhist cosmos and their shape symbolizes Mount Meru. There are also hollow temples used for meditation called Gu, where devotional worship of the Buddha takes place.