Ancient city of Bagan in northeast Myanmar (Burma) is located at the plain of a total area of 12sq meters (16sq miles). You can find there hundreds of Buddhist temples and stupas. The most famous times for Bagan are dated from the beginning of rule of the King Anawrahta in 1044. King Anawrahta was the first king who accepted Buddhist religion instead of traditional Hindu. He started to build Buddhist temples and stupas around Ayeyarwada River which were later used as prototypes for newer constructions. He built a library Pitaka Tiak where all the holy Buddhist books he received from King of Thaton were stored. The King of Thaton had high influence to the King Anawrahta and he was the key person who made him to convert to Buddhist religion. It was a starting point of the First Burma Kingdom, which became the biggest Buddhist center in Southeast Asia region.
King Anawrahta’s successors continued in building Buddhist temples at Bagan, where used to be at that time about 4400 temples. The reason of fast fall of Bagan Empire is not clear. One theory said it was destroyed by Mongolian troops led by Kublaj Chan. The more realistic reason seems to be common invasions from China which destabilized the region. Many temples were destroyed and the material was used to construct fortifications. Bagan as a city was abandoned. Some temples were used until 14th century, where the local princes were fighting for Bagan.
Nowadays there are about 2000 temples, stupas and pagodas. Unfortunately the monuments were damaged by earthquake in 1975, but the most of the buildings were already reconstructed. The most of the monuments were built from bricks. It used to have facade rendering, but the plaster lasted just at a couple of buildings. Now, we can just guess, how the temples looked like, if they were painted and decorated. One of the temples where you can still see the painting and decoration inside is Sulamani Pahto. The only decoration which remains in almost all temples is Buddha statue.
Bagan is located 250km north of the capital Yangon.