Burma‏ preserves architecture that moved George Orwell

26th Jun 2013

A Burma city is preserving its colonial-era architecture to reconnect with a past that once attracted some of the world's leading intellectuals, artists, and writers.

George Orwell, Rudyard Kipling, Noël Coward, Somerset Maugham and Pablo Neruda all wrote verse and prose around their experiences living among Yangon's magnificent buildings.

Yangon was a cosmopolitan port metropolis and one of the British Empire's busiest trading posts.

But, as Burma - or Myanmar - opened up, the city's historic cultural sites were in recent danger of being bulldozed in the name of progress.

That's when local historian and author Thant Myint-U stepped in.

In January 2012, he founded the Yangon Heritage Trust to raise public awareness of the importance of the city's 40 to 50 finest examples of colonial era architecture and persuade the government to introduce a law to protect, preserve and renovate it.

The following month the Burmese president accepted a plan from Myint-U and his colleagues to conserve the buildings under the country's law for tourism and for history.

Now architecture lovers should be able to reap the benefits of city breaks here and enjoy the buildings, as offers of support from companies and charitable organisations have allowed the project to begin.


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