Gold pagodas, green paddy fields, cities that look at modernity and villages where time seems to stand still: Burma is a mysterious place and, on this journey, I’d like to discover its culture based on the simple values that are the principles of Theravada Buddhism: the most widespread religion in the country.
Heart of the East, Burma, called Myanmar since 1989, is the second largest nation in South East Asia. It extends from China to the Andaman Sea, lengthening between India and Thailand. Its territory can be divided into five parts: the mountains of the North that they join the Himalayas, those of the west, the plateau Shan to the east, whose northern part is dry while the south is rich in tropical forests, the central basin, and the coastal area. All five parts are united by the great Irrawaddy River that extends for about 2.200 km and crosses the country from north to south.
To reach the city of Yangon, it will take more than 10 hours of flight, but I’m ready for this new adventure that will allow me to discover a land inhabited since the origins of humanity. In 2003, in fact, in central Myanmar, it was found a fossil of 45 million years ago: the bone of an ankle of a large primate. In support of the theory that the area was the cradle of humanity in the caves of Padah-Lin, in western Shan State, they were found cave paintings that could date back to 13,000 years ago. The remains found in that area, in fact, testify that the local population produced bronze objects since 1500 BC.
History, nature, and culture come together in this territory inhabited by over one hundred ethnic groups. A mosaic of peoples, from the friendly character, that I can’t wait to meet during this new journey in Asia. In the next article, I will talk about the characteristics that distinguish the North, Center, and South of Myanmar.