The Western City Wall and Moat, [Mandalay]
Photographer: Archaeological Survey of India
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the west city wall and the moat at Mandalay in Burma, from the Archaeological Survey of India Collections: Burma Circle, 1903-07. The photograph was taken in 1903 by an unknown photographer under the direction of Taw Sein Ko, the Superintendent of the Archaeological Survey of Burma at the time. Mandalay was Burma’s last great royal capital and was founded in 1857 by Mindon Min (reigned 1853-78), Burma’s penultimate king, in fulfilment of a Buddhist prophecy that a religious centre would be built at the foot of Mandalay Hill. In 1861 the court was transferred there from the previous capital of Amarapura. However the glory of Mandalay was shortlived as it was annexed by the British Empire in 1886 after the Third Anglo-Burmese war, renamed Fort Dufferin and a military cantonment was built inside the walls. The original city was built as a fortress in the form of a perfect square with the Nandaw or Royal Palace at the centre. Its walls faced the cardinal directions and were each nearly two kilometres (1.2 miles) long, surrounded by a 70 metre-wide moat on all four sides. There were twelve city gates, the main gate being the central gate in the east wall, which led to the Great Hall of Audience in the palace, and five bridges spanning the moat. The walls were surmounted at intervals with tiered wooden spires known as pyatthats. This is a view looking along the moat, with lotus plants in the foreground, a bridge in the distance and the city wall at right.