The Association of Myanmar Architects (AMA) recorded a total of 3,822 monuments in the ancient site of Bagan following a recent inventory, The Irrawaddy reported.
The inventory – the first of its kind in the last 20 years – also showed that 3,699 of the monuments are situated within Bagan’s archaeological zone. The last inventory by French architect Pierre Pichard in the ’80s found Bagan had 2,834 monuments.
Last year, a quake rattled the area and 389 monuments were affected by the tremors, subsequently requiring renovations and repairs. However, the damages did little to affect the landmark’s tourist numbers.
A traveler who ventured into Bagan after the quake wrote for Travel Wire Asia: “Travelers I spoke to explained that they first came to hear about the region, and Myanmar in general, through international media reports on the event. Hotels have also experienced a post-quake surge in customer bookings that were above the seasonal average for Bagan.
“With the increased appetite for Bagan – in part due to the earthquake and the ‘opening up’ of Myanmar – the authorities appear to have zero interest in letting Bagan become a spiritual successor to the backpacker hedonism commonly found in Siem Reap and other southeast Asian tourist hotspots.”
Recently, Myanmar’s Culture Ministry also banned visitors from climbing ancient pagodas to protect the structures in its bid to score Bagan the status of Unesco World Heritage Site by 2019.
Tourists often scale the iconic temples to get a better view of the landscape and hot air balloons sailing across the sky, and the experience of climbing a pagoda to get a sun-drenched view of the landscape has become somewhat ubiquitous in Bagan.
However, if continually allowed, it could cause damage to the temples in the long-term.