|Myanmar has been known by many names.
The British called it Burma, after the majority
Bamar racial group, but in ancient times
it was Suvanna Bhumi, the Golden Land, where
the fertile soil produced rice and other
crops in abundance, the rivers and streams
were full of fish, where vast forests contained
valuable timber, and the earth yield crude
oil, minerals and precious stones.
Myanmar civilization dates back to the 5th
century BC with the establishment of several
small kingdoms, but it counts its real history
from the 11th century, when King Anawrahta
unified the country and founded the First
Myanmar Empire. With Bagan as its capital,
it encompassed present-day Myanmar and the
Menam Valley of Thailand. It lasted for
The Second Myanmar Empire was founded
in the mid- 16th century by King Bayinnaung,
and the last Myanmar Dynasty, set up by
King Alaungpaya in 1752, was at its zenith
when the British arrived and turned it into
a colony, fighting three Anglo- Myanmar
Wars. During WW II, Myanmar was occupied
by the Japanese from 1942 to 1945. In 1948
it became a sovereign independent state.
With the development of modern tourism,
visitors to Myanmar are discovering the
many attraction of the country. One of these
is the people, a colorful diversity of ethnic
groups, which reflect Myanmar's positions
as a crossroad of Chinese and Indian civilizations,
and a bastion of Theravada Buddhism. The
people of this land respect their elders,
revere their religions, smile at adversity
and sincerely welcome all visitors.
Then, of course, there are numerous temples,
pagodas, monasteries and archaeological
sites of historical and cultural interest.
For eco-tourist there are snow-capped mountains,
lush tropical forests, great rivers, large
lakes, unspoiled beaches and serene off-shore
islands. It is a most unusual, culturally
rich and highly enjoyable country for the
visitors. But most of all, Burmese are incredibly
friendly, most gracious and hospitable people.
We know that you must surely return.
The country covers an area of 677,000
square kilometers (261,228 square miles)
ranging 936 kilometres (581 miles) from
east to west and 2,051 kilometers (1,275
miles) from north to south, It is a land
of hills and valleys and is rimmed in the
north, east and west by mountain ranges
forming a giant horseshoe. Enclosed within
the mountain barriers are the flat lands
of Ayeyarwaddy, Chindwin and Sittaung River
valleys where most of the country's agricultural
land and population are concentrated.
The length of contiguous frontier is
6,159 kilometres. The total length of Myanmar-Bangladesh
boundary is 271 kilometres (168.7 miles).
The total length of Myanmar-China boundary
is 2,204 kilometres (1,370 miles); Myanmar-Thailand
2,107 kilometres (1,309.8 miles); Myanmar-India
1,338 kilometres (831.8 miles); and Myanmar-Laos
238 kilometres (147.9 miles).
As a whole, the location and topography
of the country generated a diversity of
climate conditions. Seasonal changes in
the monsoon wind directions create summer,
rainy and winter seasons. Extremes of temperature
are rare. The directions of winds and depression
bring rain, and although it is always heavy
in the coastal areas during monsoon season,
it seldom creates hardships.
Myanmar has a tropical climate with three
different seasons; Rainy, Cold and Hot.
The Rainy season is from mid May to mid
October, the Cold season is from November
to mid February and Hot season is from mid
February to mid May. Both seasons offer
different types of activities and adventures
Myanmar is endowed with a rich diversity
of habitat types arising largely from its
unusual ecological diversity. It is home
to nearly 300 known mammal species, 300
reptiles and about 100 bird species, and
a haven for about 7,000 species of plant
The dominating color of the national
flag is red. The rectangular space at the
upper left corner is blue. In it could be
seen the figure of a paddy stalk and a pinion
encircled by 14 white stars of uniform size.
The paddy represents the peasants while
the pinion stands for the workers who form
the majority of the people in the country,
14 uniform white stars symbolize the equal
status and union spirit of the 7 States
and 7 Divisions that constitute the Union
The white in the flag signifies purity;
the red indicates bravery and upright nature
of the people; and the blue stands as a
symbol of peace and stability in the country.
Since late 1988, Myanmar has replaced
the centrally planned economy to a more
liberalized economic policy based on market-oriented
system. In moving towards a more market
oriented economy, Myanmar has more liberalized
domestic and international trade, promoting
the role of private sector and opening up
to foreign investment.
Myanmar is richly endowed with renewable
and non-renewable energy resources which
are being exploited by the State sector
with the participation of local and foreign
Agriculture remains the main sector of
the economy and measures have been taken
to increase productivity, diversification
of crop patterns and revitalization of agriculture
About 85% of the population is practicing
Theravada Buddhism, while the rest are Christian
5%, Muslims 3.5%, Hinduism 0.5% and a few
Myanmar is union of over hundred nationalities.
The approximate population 55+ millions
consist of 135 different ethnic grips throughout
the country, 70% of Myanmar are Bamars.
Myanmar language belongs to the Tibeto-Burman
family of languages, and 90% of the population
speaks Myanmar language. Myanmar is the
official language and most people in the
cities speak good English. The rest major
languages are Shan, Kachin, Chin, Mon, Kayar,
Yangon (formerly Rangoon), situated at
the mouth of the Ayarwaddy delta, has a
population of +5 millions.
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