Rangoon (Yangon) is a bustling former capital of Burma, but it remains its largest and most commercially important city. The city features a mix of colonial architecture and ancient pagodas and is home to around 5 million inhabitants.
Burma has had a turbulent past and with Rangoon being an ancient city, it has witnessed many of the turbulent times. The city that visitors see today with its colonial architecture, picturesque parks and beautiful lakes, is very much the city the British designed. The British rule left behind grand administration buildings including Rangoon University and Rangoon General Hospital, set amidst traditional Burmese wooden structures. The city prospered and developed affluent residential neighbourhoods.
After Burma's independence in 1948, streets were renamed from British to Burmese names, but apart from growing in size, everything remains largely the same to this day.
One of the most magnificent sights in Rangoon is the Shwedagon Pagoda. Not only is it an iconic symbol of the city, glistening in the sunlight by day and illuminated at night, it is also the most important pagoda in Burma, and attracts pilgrims from across the country. It’s location on the Singuttara hilltop, can be seen from all over the city centre, and is constantly buzzing with people.
Also worth a visit is the Bogyoke Market with its colonial architecture and cobblestone streets, where you can buy antiques, handicrafts, and jewellery or just spend some time people-watching.
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