Some one thousand years ago, one of the greatest cities in the ancient Buddhist world arose in a large plain near the center of modern day Burma. The city was called Bagan, and became the capital of the first Burmese Empire. By the time Bagan fell to Mongol invaders in the 13th century, it was home to an astonishing five thousand temples. In the present, little of the city remains, except for the ruins of many of these pagodas. Even now, Bagan contains more temples in an area the size of Manhattan than there are medieval cathedrals in all of Europe. I spent three days touring this magnificent place by bicycle. Many of the pagodas are beautiful up close, but the real majesty of Bagan can only be appreciated from up high, where the full scope of the site comes into perspective. Ancient temples dot the earth for as far as the eye can see, and from this vantage it's easy to forget that inventions such as the car, airplane, and internet even exist. I hope that these photos capture a little bit of the sense of awe that Bagan inspires. I'd never heard of this lost kingdom before coming to Burma. But after visiting, I will never forget it.
Click here to see the photos!