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A few images from Burma

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    Opposite a corner of the park and adjacent to the City Hall is the nicely restored Rowe & Co Building. Rowe had established a draper and general merchants business in the 1860s. This flagship department store was built in 1910, to a design by a Bombay firm of architects. It now houses a bank.

    This photo, taken the following day on the afternoon walk with the tour group, is the better despite the working-day traffic (On the holiday day, that corner of the park was so crowded that I had to take a photo from much farther away, which results in a number of obtrusive later buildings poking up behind the bank’s façade.)


    • ombugge
      ombugge commented
      Editing a comment
      Nice to see familiar sights. I have walked those same streets many times and over many years, with little or no changes to the buildings and streets. (Except deterioration and later restoration and a lot more cars, scooters and motorbikes. Looking forward to the continuation.

    That was such a super and appreciated comment ombugge. Actually it was your photos in this thread (which happily are still here in the forum) that were responsible for my lingering in downtown Yangon far beyond my original intention to merely post a random photo a week from the entire trip!

    But delays between posts have also increased with my delight in delving into this unique heritage of architecture and townscape. One theme that I've come across from old descriptions, as well as photos from the era of colour photography, has been that some buildings have been painted in different colours during their history. Apparently even the City Hall itself has been variously cream, lilac, and green!
    In the 1920s the Rowe Building in my previous photo was red and deep-yellow giving the now white horizontal stripes more prominence.

    Along another side of the park is an imposing red brick and creamy-yellow edifice that has retained its colour scheme through the years. This was the High Court which became a regional court after the Supreme Court moved to the new capital Naypyidaw in 2006.

    Designed by architect James Ransome, the High Court Building was constructed between 1905 and 1911 in a style much favoured by the British to impress in the colonies as well as in major civic buildings at home.
    The clock tower is especially elaborate, and required particular attention to the preparation of its foundations in the alluvial swampy soils.

    In this photo the High Court Building is seen across the green expanse of the Maha Bandula Park.
    Clearly taken the day after the national holiday when the crowds have gone.

    But, to save me relocating to another forum thread, here is the notice board at the corner entrance depicting park rules and restrictions!


      Amazing - but NOT surprising that people need to be reminded not to have s3x there.... HAHAHAHAH
      With best regards from Jan-Olav Storli

      Administrator and Owner of CaptainsVoyage.
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        As well as the major buildings it is also rewarding to explore the narrower side streets in the downtown grid. I like this view a lot.


          This general impression of the streets is actually my 'hotel room view' from the 17th floor of the Sule Shangri-La Hotel, formerly Traders Hotel.

          Next to the green covered construction site you can catch a glimpse of Bogyoke Aung San Market, formerly Scott’s Market.

          It is closed on Mondays, but I took a photo from across the road


            A Hindu temple ...and KFC has reached Yangon.

            ...contrasting with busy street food places.


              Another of my favourite photos was taken farther along that street showing apartment buildings bristling with satellite dishes, yet somehow retaining its charm.


              • ombugge
                ombugge commented
                Editing a comment
                Did you go to the "Book seller Street" (my name)?
                It is one or two streets up from The Strand and crowed with shops and street stalls selling mostly second hand books of all kinds and in several languages.
                Can't remember if I have posted any pictures from there in this thread.

              • Seagull
                Seagull commented
                Editing a comment
                I didn't, but I see you photographed some bookstalls laid out along the pavement and under the shade of the roadside trees in #68/2

                There have apparently been some changes, discussed in these articles of January and February 2017:-

              • ombugge
                ombugge commented
                Editing a comment
                That's it, or rather WAS the "Book Street". The new and organised one will never be the same as the one I remember though. (Chaotic and noisy)
                It will probably be like when Singapore tried to revive the old Bugis Street. It became a replacement for Change Alley in stead.

              Those last few photos were to have concluded my exploration of downtown Yangon, but, drawn back to looking through ombugge's pictures once again, I found some extra things to mention!
              The first photo of his post # 76 shows a tower with the heading "I'm not sure if this tower is part of the Main Fire Station in Sule Pagoda Road".
              You've already seen that tower in my photo from the pedestrian bridge across Sule Pagoda Road, but I hadn't mentioned it in my post. I've since read about the ever-present threat of fire during the late 19th and early 20th centuries when there were still so many timber-constructed buildings in this area. A fire brigade had been established in the 1880s. The Central Fire Station was built in 1912 following the introduction of motorised engines which replaced horse-driven ones. Its tower was not merely an architectural feature of the rather elegant Edwardian design two-story building, but served as a watchtower over the area. The fire station was among earliest iron-frame constructions in the colonial city.

              Here is an enlargement from another photo of mine showing the fire station, and also some high rise buildings beyond Sule Pagoda which, seen in the opposite direction, also figured in another of ombugge’s photos, .#52/1.

              The lowest is the 15-floor Yangon Commercial Tower, but it is the taller pair that has had the most complicated history. These are the Centrepoint Towers - a dual office and hotel project dating from 1993. Triggered by the Asian financial crisis of 1998, it became a stop-start planning, construction, and investment saga that dragged on and on for some twenty years. Today, the blue office tower includes the Canadian Embassy and Standard Chartered Bank among its occupants, while the hotel tower has eventually (after the Sofitel and Hilton brands both pulled out of the project) become the 5-star Pullman Yangon Centrepoint Hotel.

              I was initially confused by ombugge’'s next photo #52/2 until I realised that the trees on the left of the photo hid the Sule Shangri-La Hotel where I was staying, and the Hitachi Building is now known as Sakura Tower! Moreover the Centre Point Towers overtook the Sakura Tower as the highest building in downtown Yangon.
              However, both these buildings are seen in another of ombugge's photos #64/1.

              I took those two buildings through the trees near the railway station.

              You've seen the view from my room in the Sule Shangri-La, but as 'bonus photos' there follow some interior photos of the hotel.


                Sule Shangri-La Hotel was built in 1996 as Traders Hotel. The merely decorative turret at one corner does little to enhance the somewhat grim exterior, but it is more interesting inside where a street-like lobby has long been a meeting place for business travellers. It is also a popular hotel for tourist groups spending a night or two in Yangon prior to further travel in Myanmar - which was of course how I came to be there!

                The Peac0ck Lounge is a pleasant space opening onto the lobby.

                In mid-February it was rather dominated by Chinese New Year decorations - the year of the dog.

                There was also a seasonal pop-up stall for Valentine's Day, where heart-nosed bunny rabbits seemed to be the creature of choice!


                  Beyond a cake shop, the lobby led into Café Sule, which was where breakfast was served as well as evening meals. I didn't get around to seeing the other dining options on the second floor.


                    Finally, taking the lift to the 17th floor...

                    ...I'll leave you with a photo of my room with a view.