Between the 9th and 13th centuries, Bagan (née Pagan) was the capital of the Kingdom of Pagan, once a tiny settlement that became one of Southeast Asia’s greatest empires. The 11th through mid-13th centuries were the height of the Kingdom of Pagan’s prosperity, and it was during those 250 years that the then-10,000 stupas, temples, and pagodas were built. Today, just 2,000 remain, but their expanse is staggering. The stupas dot the sides of the long road that runs through Bagan, and the awe-inspiring larger temples are clustered across from Tharabar (née Tharbha) Gate, the only surviving section of Bagan’s city wall.
When there was every reason in the world to stay away and see the ruins, one woman traveled to Greece to get to work.More