by Fone Ying Kyu
YANGON, May 27 (Xinhua) -- Myanmar is campaigning for Bagan, an ancient city in the central part of the country, to be included in the 2019 World Heritage List.
Arranged by the Myanmar Tourism Directory Association, an event on campaigning for the inclusion of Bagan on the 2019 World Heritage List of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) took place in Yangon on Sunday.
"If Bagan gets included in the list, it will raise our national integrity and promote tourism," U Thein Lwin, deputy director-general of the Department of Archaeology and National Museum and Library, told the press.
He said that many foreign tourists come to Myanmar to visit Bagan. Upgrading it from a national heritage to a world heritage ranking will significantly boost tourism which in turn will create more jobs for local residents.
Myanmar authorities have been seek Bagan's inclusion on the World Heritage List since 1996 but failed for not meeting certain standards or requirements. But Myanmar applied again in 2018 with all the requirements having been met, said U Thein Lwin.
The upcoming 43rd session of the World Heritage Committee to be held in Baku, Azerbaijan in July this year will decide if Bagan will be included in the list or not.
An expert on heritage preservation Daw Ommar Myo said that Bagan has an exceptionally high chance of entering the list as it possesses unique cultural value and architecture with over 3,000 to 4,000 structures all in one place.
Myanmar has been working with the UNESCO in an effort to make Bagan meet the standard to be enlisted.
Bagan was hit by a 6.8-magnitude earthquake on Aug. 24, 2016 which damaged 389 pagodas. Emergency restoration work on the damaged pagodas were carried out rapidly after the disaster under a four-year plan.
The renovation work on the quake-hit pagodas in the ancient heritage site is claimed to be nearing completion, leaving only about dozens of them still under restoration.
The Bagan Ancient Cultural Zone, where over 3,000 ancient pagodas and religious edifices can be viewed in one place, has been in existence for more than 1,000 years, standing as one of the tourist attractions of Myanmar.
Meanwhile, Myanmar is also striving for submitting a nomination dossier to the UNESCO for the inclusion of another ancient town, Mrauk U, in western Rakhine state as one of the world heritages.
So far, 70 percent of work on the draft nomination dossier has been completed and will be all ready by July for submission to the World Heritage Center by the end of September, said U Kyaw Lwin Oo, Director-General of the Department of Archaeology, National Museum and Library.
U Kyaw Lwin Oo hopes that the town could be listed as a world heritage site by 2021 after UNESCO's inspection.
Mrauk U, formerly known as Mrohaung, is an archaeologically important town in Rakhine State. From 1430 until 1785, it was the capital of the Mrauk U Kingdom.
It lies roughly 11 km east of the Kaladan River on the banks of its minor tributaries. The town is located on a small outcrop of the Rakhine Yoma on the eastern side of the Kaladan's alluvial plain.
Mrauk U is a major archaeological and tourist destination. The main attractions are the temples and ruins around the town. The remains of the main palace roughly form the center of the town.
Meanwhile, three Myanmar ancient Pyu cities --Hanlin, Beikthano and Sri Kestra -- respectively located in Sagaing, Magway and Bago regions, won designation as the world heritages in 2014 for the first time and archaeological excavation of the three Myanmar ancient Pyu cities have continued development for tourists under a cultural heritage preservation plan.