Southeast from Mandalay in the Amarapura area is one of the Burmese Empire's former longstanding capitals, Inwa (Ava) Island. It served as the capital from the 13th century until the early 19th century, when it was abandoned due to a catastrophic earthquake. Left behind are countless architectural relics of the Burmese Empire.
After the drive from Mandalay, a ferry brings tourists across the Myitnge River by longboat to the landing on Inwa (Ava) Island. Upon stepping off, one is instantly greeted by several vendors selling jewelry or tour guide services. Nearby, a line of rugged horse-drawn carriages waits to transport sightseers through the ancient kingdom. Roads here can get quite muddy, making a carriage ride both a convenient and nostalgic way to experience the island.
The island can also be reached by vehicle from a nearby land bridge. Because of frequent earthquakes, many of the structures have been rebuilt repeatedly, and most of the pagodas are from the early 19th century. Remnants of ancient, red-brick palace walls still exist, and villages are scattered between different temples. The area is also rich in farmland, so one will see farmers in rice fields tending to crops with pagodas in the background.
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