OVER 3,200 foreign tourists visited the ancient fort of Min Hla, located along a stretch of the Irrawaddy river in Magway Region, by boat during 2015, according to the Department of Ancient Research at the town of Min Hla.
The majority of foreign visitors came from countries such as the USA, Britain, Australia, Germany, Switzerland, New Zealand and Canada as well as lesser numbers of Asia region tourists.
“Once the boats dock at the riverside jetty [in the town of Min Hla], the main place foreigners visit is the Min Hla fort which dates back to the time of the Myanmar monarchy.” explained Daw Hla Win, Head of the Min Hla Ancient Research Department.
The Min Hla fort was built in 1860 – 1861. Construction was a collaborative effort between the younger brother of King Mindon, Prince Kanaung; French and Italian experts and Myanmar engineers.
The Min Hla fort was built on the western bank of the Ayeyarwaddy river, measuring 184 by 171 feet in length, with a height of 26 feet. The telegraph office that was used during the time of the Myanmar monarchy still stands today, located in the northern wing of the fortification.
Descriptions of a battle fought between royal Myanmar soldiers and the expanding British Empire in 1889 have been etched into stone on the fortification which states that 500 of Min Hla’s garrison fought the foreign invaders with canon, guns and other weapons.
Foreign visitor numbers habitually dwindle during the rainy months, when river waters are high, and increase again during the current cold season when the weather becomes more suitable for outside activity.
Privately owned foreign tourist river boats plough the water of the Ayeyarwaddy between Yangon – Mandalay and Mandalay – Pyay, with most travel itineraries lasting between 10 – 15 days. The rest stops that are made along the way are the towns of Thayet, Min Hla, Salay, Tantkyitaung , Yatnapo, Sagaing, Inwa and Amarapura.
Myitmakha News Agency