BANGKOK – Thailand’s Ministry of Culture will help Myanmar improve the landscapes of the Pyu ancient cities, the first sites in the country to receive Unesco World Heritage status earlier this year.
A representative of Thailand’s Ministry of Culture met with Myanmar’s deputy minister of culture in Naypyidaw on Aug. 22, agreeing to work together to manage and conserve the three ancient cities of Sri Ksetra, Halin and Beikthano in central Burma.
“We have seen that Thailand has successfully conserved its ancient city, Ayothaya,” said a spokesman from Burma’s Archeology Department, under the Ministry of Culture. “So we asked them to cooperate with us, and to help draw landscape designs for our Pyu ancient cities.”
Unesco granted World Heritage status to the cities in June. They are home to the walled remains of sites built by the now-extinct Pyu people from the first to the ninth centuries AD.
But much work remains before the cities are ready for more tourists, according to Kyaw Lwin Oo, director-general of the Archeology Department. He said maintenance of a road to Halin was under way, while new roads were being built to connect the three cities. A cultural museum is being upgraded and security has also been increased.
“We are still working on this project. But we need to do a lot more to catch up with Ayothaya in Thailand because Ayothaya has been a World Heritage Site for more than a decade,” he said.
Efforts are also under way to build telecommunications towers in Sri Ksetra and Beikthano.
Local residents have been told not to tend their animals or build new homes in the three cities. They have also been warned not to steal carvings from the ruins to sell on the black market, which has been a problem in the past.
Unesco is monitoring the conservation of the cities, with progress reports due every two years.
By YAN PAING / THE IRRAWADDY|