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Innwa (Ava)

Innwa, which was called Ava before, just South of Amarapura was the capital of Burma for a number of times over the course of several centuries, the first time in the 14th century. Innwa was founded in 1364 on an artificial island with the Irrawaddy river in the North and the Myitnge river to the East. A canal was dug out on the West and South making Innwa an island, which made it easier to it defend against invasion attempts.

Innwa was mostly destroyed by the large 1838 earthquake. What remains today are the moat, the protective walls, one of the entrance gates and the ruins of the Royal Palace. The watch tower of the Palace is tilting, and is thus known as the leaning tower.

Most noticeable landmark of Innwa is the Maha Aung Mye Bonzan monastery, also known as the Brick Monastery, a richly decorated building dating back to 1818. The Bagaya Kyaung Monastery was built in 1834 during the reign of King Bagyidaw. The 57 meters long and 32 meters wide structure is made entirely from teak wood and sits on 267 huge teak stilts. It is decorated with very intricate wood carvings with floral motifs, animals and mythical figures. Inside the monastery is a small Buddha image seated on a large golden throne.