Mandalay, Myanmar’s second largest city and the most important trade hub of central Myanmar, lies on the bank of the Ayeyarwady (Irrawaddy). A one hour northbound flight from Yangon will take you to Mandalay.
Founded by King Mindon in 1857, the city was the last capital of Myanmar before colonial times. The centre of the city was erected around the reconstructed royal palace, but the symbol of Mandalay is the 250m high Mandalay Hill, characterised by its many pagodas and monasteries and its wonderful view onto the city and the surrounding landscape.
The city counts as Myanmar’s religious capital. However, it is also made up by its surroundings, including Mingun 10 km to the north, where you can see the largest ruins of a pagoda and the second-biggest bell in the world. On the bank of the Ayeyarwady lies the former royal capital Amarapura and Sagain, as well as the royal Shan capital dating back to the 13<sup>th</sup> century, where you can see many pagodas and monasteries. The ancient teak bridge in Mandalay is an image that can often be found on the covers of guide books.