|STATE STRUCTURE||Presidential republic|
|INTERNAL DIVISION||The country is divided into 7 administrative regions (taying), 7 states (pui-ne) and 5 self-governing zones. Provinces and states are divided into districts (myone), which consist of cities (myo) and rural townships (sub-districts) that combine city blocks (yakwe) and groups of villages (cheyua)|
|CLIMATE||Tropical and subequatorial|
|NATIONAL COMPOSITION||Myanmar is a multi-ethnic country with more than a hundred nationalities. The main ethnic groups: Burmese – 68%, Shan – 9%, Karen – 7%, Arakanese – 4%, Chinese – 3%, Indians – 2%, Mons – 2%, Kachins – 1.5%, other nationalities – 3, 5 %.|
|RELIGION||multi-confessional state. The vast majority of the population are Buddhists (Theravada school). The confessional composition of the population: Buddhists – 89%, Christians – 4%, Muslims – 4%, animists – 1%, others – 2%.|
|TIMEZONE||UTC +6:30 / MSK +3:30|
In October 2010, the full official name of the country “Union of Myanmar” was changed to “Republic of the Union of Myanmar” and the national emblem and flag of the state were changed.
The flag is a rectangular panel of three horizontal equal stripes: yellow, green and red, in the center of which is placed a large white 5-pointed star. The three colors of the flag’s stripes symbolize solidarity, peace and stability, courage and determination. The white star is a symbol of the unity of the country.
Interesting Facts: Flag of Burma/Myanmar 1948-2010 was similar to the flag of the Republic of China (Taiwan) and Samoa. For example, at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Taiwanese fans used the flag of Myanmar, since the Taiwanese flag is banned in China.
The new flag of Myanmar resembles the flag of Lithuania, differing only in a star.
The coat of arms of Myanmar uses the image of mythical lions that stand opposite each other. In the center of the coat of arms is a map of the country. The coat of arms uses the traditions of Burmese floral design. At the top of the coat of arms is a five-pointed star.
At first, the coat of arms of Myanmar contained the inscription “Union of Myanmar”, and it had three, not two lions. It also had a circle with an inscription in Burmese. However, the coat of arms was soon changed.
The emblem of Myanmar contains a socialist element – a five-pointed star. During 1974-2008, the inscription “Socialist Union of Myanmar” was present.
According to DIGOPAUL, Myanmar until the end of 1989 was known to the world as Burma. In Burmese, “Myanmar” means “strong”, “fast”.
The mountainous country is located on the Indochina Peninsula, in its western part, and on several adjacent islands. Myanmar’s geographical neighbors are Bangladesh, India, China, Laos and Thailand.
The waters of the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea wash the shores of Myanmar in the south and southwest, and the country’s largest water arteries are the Salween and Irrawaddy rivers. The highest peak is Mount Kakabo Razi in the Himalayas, it rises to 5881 meters above sea level and is the highest peak in Southeast Asia.
Monsoon rains fall in a country with a tropical and subequatorial climate, for winter the temperature norm is zero degrees in the highlands and +24 in the plains, and in summer it reaches +41. Thanks to this climate, local residents can harvest 2-3 crops per year.
Tropical forests occupy up to 60% of the territory of Myanmar, but they are not in the densely populated center – here every plot of land is cultivated by peasants. They grow rice, legumes, cereals, tea, sugar cane, oilseeds and horticultural crops.
Among 3000 species of animals of the local fauna there are rhinos, tapirs, peacocks, wild elephants.
In the 12th century, the Burmese and Mon kingdoms, which were located on the territory of present-day Myanmar, fell under the onslaught of the Mongol conquerors. The first unification of the country fragmented into small kingdoms began in the 16th century, when the kings of Taungoo defeated the rulers of Siam and expanded their dominance. In the 18th century, the Burmese destroyed the ancient capital of Siam, Ayutthaya, after which the Siamese made Bangkok their main city.
In the 18th century, the British colonization of the country began. To subdue the local population, Great Britain had to send its troops three times: in 1824, 1852 and 1883. During World War II, Burma was occupied by Japan.
The country gained its independence in 1948, but military conflicts began between local communists, Muslims, mountain tribes and Mon tribes. In 1962, the Communists won, after 25 years there was a putsch and power was again in the hands of the military, who promised to hold elections in 1989. The opposition forces united in the National Democratic League (NDL), headed by Aung San Suu Kyi, the daughter of the national hero, the fighter for the country’s independence, Aung San. In the elections, the NDL received a majority of votes, but the military junta, with the help of the Karen rebels and the personal army of the drug lord Khun Sa, did not allow it to come to power. Aung San Suu Kyi was placed under house arrest. During this imprisonment, in 1991, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
More than 100 peoples and tribes live in Myanmar. Burmese make up the majority at 68%. Then come Shans – 9%, Karens – 7%, Arakanese – 4%, Chinese – 3%, Indians and Mons 2% each, Kachins – 1.5%. All other nationalities and tribes together make up 3.5%.
Myanmar is also known as the birthplace of the Padaung tribe, whose women stretch their necks with spiral rings made of copper rod. The neck begins to lengthen from the age of 5 and ends when the girl gets married. As a result, an adult woman can wear up to 20 rings with a total weight of 5 kilograms. Among the Padaungs, a long neck is a sign of female beauty and well-being.
Interesting fact: The Padaung legend says that the ancestors of the people were the wind and the dragon. Upon learning that the wife was expecting a child, a happy wind began to circle around her. The spiral around the women’s necks is reminiscent of this wind dance.
Education in the country is free, although recently private schools and universities have begun to appear. Children go to school at the age of 5. After a few years of compulsory elementary school for all, children can learn the skills of a craft, fishing, or continue schooling. Upon completion of the middle classes, there is an opportunity to enter a technical or agricultural school. And only after two years of high school, graduates enter universities, where training lasts from a year (for example, in teachers’ institutes) to 7 years (in medical schools).
Medical care in the country is free, but its level is still low. Myanmar has a developed network of hospitals and clinics, most of which are located in large cities.
To visit the country, it is recommended to stock up on international health insurance, get vaccinated against malaria, tetanus, cholera, polio and hepatitis A, B, E.
Myanmar-Burma is considered the birthplace of the three main types of martial arts in Southeast Asia. First of all, these are bando and poungi secrets that arose in Buddhist monasteries. Locals are also very fond of lehwei – Burmese boxing. Of the modern sports disciplines, volleyball and football are popularized in the country. Myanmar has been participating in the Summer Olympics since 1948.
Culture and life in Myanmar are subject to the centuries-old rules of Buddhism and astrology. Not a single important decision in the life of a state or a person is made without astrologers. For example, the transfer of the capital of Myanmar from Rangoon to Pyinmana began strictly on the day and time indicated by astrologers – November 6, 2005, in the morning, at 6 hours and 37 minutes.
According to tradition, every male Buddhist must become a monk at least once in his life for one year. Residents of the country, men and women, prefer national lounge skirts and slippers to modern European clothes and shoes. Local fashionistas adorn their faces with tanaka paste, which is made from the tree of the same name. Tanaka on the face serves not only as a decoration, but also as protection from bright sunlight.
Movies, karaoke, and the Pwe folk opera, which traditionally runs all night long, are popular entertainments for the locals.
As in all countries of the region, the national cuisine of Myanmar is a mixture of Indian, Chinese, Thai dishes, which are based on rice. It also contains a lot of fruits, vegetables, fish and hot spices. One of the favorite local delicacies is pickled tea leaf salad served with garlic, onion, sesame seeds, roasted peanuts and locusts.
As a souvenir from Myanmar, you can bring wooden sculptures, paintings, traditional dishes, national clothes. There are many shops selling gemstone jewelry in local markets, but there is a risk of buying a fake.
Myanmar is often called the “land of a thousand temples”, and this name is more than justified. Only in the city of Pagan – the ancient capital of the kingdom of the same name, whose area is 42 km², there are 4,000 Buddhist temples, pagodas and monasteries.
An interesting fact: UNESCO offered the government of Myanmar to include the ancient city of Bagan in the World Heritage List, but was categorically refused. Therefore, it lists only one object, or rather three in one – the territory of the ancient kingdom of Pyu, where the unique cities of Khalin, Beikthano, Sri Kshetra are located.
Shwedagon Pagoda, located in Yangon, is a world-famous landmark of Myanmar. Its height is 99 meters, it is covered with gold, and the upper tiers are also inlaid with a thousand precious stones. The pagoda is also famous for the 55-meter statue of the reclining Buddha, and shrines are kept in it – 4 hairs of the Great Teacher. The pagoda was built 2500 years ago, but is still in operation, Buddhists around the world revere it as a shrine.
During the 25 centuries of existence, the Shwedagon Pagoda was plundered twice. In 1608, the Portuguese Filipe de Brito-e-Nicote took valuables from there, “grabbing” including the golden Dhammazedi bell, decorated with emeralds and sapphires – it was called the Great, it weighed 294 tons. The bell did not reach Portugal – it sank at the confluence of the Pegu and Yangon rivers. Then, in 1825, the British tried to take another bell out of the country – Singumin. Decorated with gold and precious stones, the bell weighed 23 tons and also sank. The colonial government promised to leave Singumin to Burma if the locals could bring it to land. With the help of flexible bamboo logs and folk dexterity, the treasure was saved.
Another attraction of the country is the Jumping Cats Monastery, which is located on an island in the middle of Inle Lake. The lake is also known for its floating markets, organized by the locals once a week.
The best resorts in the country are located on the west coast of Ngapali and Ngwe Saung. Active recreation in Myanmar is not yet very developed. Some companies offer cycling and hiking to local attractions. Hot air balloon rides are very popular among tourists – ancient cities and temples look even more beautiful from a bird’s eye view.
Myanmar’s national holidays are governed by the Burmese lunar calendar, which is published by the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation. On May 1, together with many countries, Myanmar celebrates Labor Day, and on July 19, Martyrs’ Day is a public holiday here – in memory of Aung San, a fighter for the country’s independence, and his associates, who was killed in 1947.