Pathein also called Bassein, the capital of the Ayeyarwady Region, Burma. It lies on the Pathein River. Pathein is the fourth largest city of Burma (Myanmar), situated 190 kilometers (120 mi) west of Yangon.
Although once part of the Mon kingdom, Pathein has few ethnic Mon residents today. The majority are of Bamar, Burmese Indians, Kayin ethnicity. There are, however, notable minorities of Karen and Rakhine.
The city’s name may derive from Pathi (Burmese word for “Muslim”), due to the large population of Arab and Indian traders. The name was corrupted to Bassein during the British colonial period. The British built a fort and established a garrison in 1826, after the First Anglo-Burmese War.
The main attraction in Pathein is Shwemokhtaw Paya. A Buddhist temple originally founded (according to local legend) by King Asoka of India in 305 BC. Bagan’s King Alaungsithu raised the height of the stupa to 11 meters in 1115 AD, and King Samodogossa raised it to 40 meters in 1263 AD. The stupa is now 46.6 meters tall, with the topmost layer made of 6.3 kg of solid gold, the middle tier of pure silver, and the third tier of bronze, with some 829 diamonds, 843 rubies, and 1588 semi-precious stones.
Umbrella Workshops are also a must visit in the town. The city is famed throughout Myanmar for its hand made umbrellas. Some of the workshops have been operating for over 200 years.
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