August 19, 2016

Centuries old First Baptist Church building in Mawlamyine to be restored with American assistance

The 188-year-old First Baptist Church in Mawlamyine.
The 188-year-old First Baptist Church in Mawlamyine.

RESTORATION work is to begin on the 188 year old First Baptist Church, located in Mon State capital of Mawlamyine, with financial support from the American ambassadors cultural heritage conservation fund.
The building is located at No.60 on the upper main road of Mayangon neighbourhood in Mawlamyine. Expert archaeologists from the World Monuments Fund (WMF) will collaborate with Myanmar archaeologists in restoring the building with a total fund of $125,000.
Discussions were held among a representative of the American embassy in Yangon; French archaeologist from the WMF, Thierry Grandin, who is
currently undertaking restoration work on the royal palace in Mandalay; two Myanmar archaeologists and a surveyor, in order to commence restoration activities, explained U Than Aye, a priest of the church.
“They’ve now taken away with them evidence and records. An event will be held in May to mark the start of preparations for restoration, which itself will begin come the end of the rains in November. We’ve allocated a two year period to carry out the restorations.” he said.
Once the aforementioned building has been restored with American funding, it will be the third building in Myanmar to officially be acknowledged on the list of world historical buildings. America will then carry out annual check up inspections on the restorations, while local churches will take responsibility for carrying out preservation activities.
Back in 2014, the church was visited by an American national who studied the structure, making a photographic record. The second trip was made by a Myanmar archaeologist and American national who surveyed the church, carrying out detailed studies.
July 2015 marked the third trip to the building, this by the American ambassador to Myanmar, who also studied the church. After the period of a month the America embassy sent a letter of notification to the head of the church informing him that the building had been included on the list of world historical buildings.
The first year of restoration activities on the church building will be a joint effort by the American embassy and the WMF. It is the second such project, the first being restoration to the royal palace in Mandalay.


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