Squatters who built homes in the Bagan archaeological zone have been issued a deadline to vacate the area.
Burma’s Ministry of Culture issued the statement on 6 January – giving the unlawful residents until 15 January to move out.
The department’s announcement said squatters’ sheds were constructed on the Nan Kyi Hill in Nyaung-U Township, next to the Shwezigon temple built during the Pagan Dynasty.
The deputy director-general of the ministry’s department of archaeology, Thein Lwin told DVB that the squatters had disregarded instructions to leave.
“The illegal occupiers have built about 10 sheds on the hills and are ignoring orders to stop construction. The problem is that some people have taken advantage of the political changes that are coming about – they have been claiming land plots by marking the land with makeshift flags made of sticks and plastic bags,” Thein Lwin said.
“As this is not only a concern for the archaeological department, it also needs the attention of local authorities. The hills around the area are the sites of ancient temples and they are going to be destroyed if the huts continue to appear.”
The department believes Nan Kyi Hill was the site of a temporary palace where King Kyansittha resided while overseeing temple construction during his reign. Kyansittha is considered one of the most powerful Burmese monarchs in history – ruling from 1084 to 1112 AD.
In December the department also banned local hotels from hosting ‘dinner parties’ – where tourists can attend a dinner inside the premises of historical temples and monuments not only in Bagan, but also nearby Minhla and other historical sites.