The Shwedagon Pagoda

Thursday, 14th August 2008 by

This incredibly shiny building is the Shwedagon Pagoda, also known as the "Golden Pagoda" (for obvious reasons) and it is the most frequented religious site in Burma (officially the Union of Myanmar), as Buddhists believe it contains relics of the past four Buddhas.

The original stupa (a mound-like structure containing Buddhist relics) was built sometime around the 6th century, although Buddhists believe that it's nearer 2500 years old.

It has certainly been rebuilt numerous times, and reached it current height of 98m sometime in the 15th century.

Also starting around that time, the entire surface of the pagoda was covered in real gold. The bling gets blingier too, with the top section featuring 5,448 diamonds, 2,317 rubies, and one massive 76 carat diamond!

The pagoda has had a long history as a political arena, most recently in September 2007 during nationwide demonstrations against the oppressive military regime. At least 5 people died during clashes between security forces and thousands of protesters led by the Buddhist monks.

Find out more at Wikipedia.

Thanks to Justin Lee and SFHandyman.