Way before Yangon became Myanmar's capital, another city served as the capital of Burma: Bagan. Officially known as 'Bagan Archaeological Zone' and formerly called Pagan, this city served as the seat of power for the first Burmese empire. Bagan can be found 190km south of Mandalay and 690km north of Yangon, and covers an area of 42sqkm. Bagan covers three principal areas: Nyaung U, Old Bagan and New Bagan.
Because Bagan is an ancient town, tourists can expect to see countless temples and pagodas in the area, specifically those which were built by Burma's ancient kings and rulers. Attractions in Bagan include the Shwezigon Pagoda (built by King Anawrahta and completed by King Kyanzittha), Thatbyinnyu Temple (constructed by King Alaungsithu) and Dhammayangyi Temple (King Narathu). Other Bagan attractions include the Gawdawpalin Temple, Sulmani Temple, Ananda Temple, Htilominlo Temple, Bu Pagoda, and Nan Pagoda.
Bagan is an ideal tourist destination all year round thanks to its climate. This city does not have a rainy season, which sets it apart from cities found in lower Myanmar. Hence, tourists can visit and explore ancient Bagan anytime they want.