|Founded||26 February 1365|
|• Religions||Theravada Buddhism|
|Time zone||UTC+6.30 (MST)|
Inwa or Ava (Burmese : အင်းဝမြို့; MLCTS : ang:wa.mrui., IPA: [ʔɪ́ɰ̃wa̰ mjo̰] or [ʔəwa̰ mjo̰] ; also spelled Innwa), located in Mandalay Region, Myanmar, is an ancient imperial capital of successive Burmese kingdoms from the 14th to 19th centuries. Throughout history, it was sacked and rebuilt numerous times. The capital city was finally abandoned after it was completely destroyed by a series of major earthquakes in March 1839. Though only a few traces of its former grandeur remain today, the former capital is a popular day-trip tourist destination from Mandalay.
The name Inwa (အင်းဝ) literally means "mouth of the Lake", reflecting its geographical location at the mouth of lakes in the Kyaukse District. Another theory states that it is derived from Innawa (အင်းနဝ), meaning "nine lakes" in the area. The city's classical name in Pali is Ratanapura (ရတနပုရ; "City of Gems").
The modern standard Burmese pronunciation is Inwa (IPA: [ʔɪ́ɰ̃wa̰] ), following the modern orthography. But the local Upper Burmese pronunciation is Awa ( [ʔəwa̰] ). Indeed, the spelling of the city in the royal records, all written prior to the modern Burmese spelling standardization drives, is အဝ (Awa), the phonetic spelling of the Upper Burmese usage. The most common Western transcription Ava comes from Awa via Portuguese.
Inwa was the capital of Myanmar (Burma) for nearly 360 years, on five separate occasions, from 1365 to 1842. So identified as the seat of power in Burma that Inwa (as the Kingdom of Ava, or the Court of Ava) was the name by which Burma was known to Europeans down to the 19th century.
Strategically located on the confluence of Irrawaddy, and Myitnge rivers, and in the main rice-growing Kyaukse District of Upper Burma, the location of Ava had been scouted as a possible capital site as early as 1310 by King Thihathu. Though Thihathu eventually built his new capital at Pinya a few miles east inland in 1313, Thihathu's great-grandson Thado Minbya, who unified the Sagaing and Pinya kingdoms in September 1364, chose the site of Inwa as his new capital.
Inwa was officially founded on 26 February 1365 (6th waxing of Tabaung 726 ME)on a man-made island created by connecting the Irrawaddy on the north and the Myitnge on the east with a canal on the south and the west. The construction of the artificial island also involved filling in the swamplands and lakes (or Ins): †
† Other records also include Kyaukmaw In (ကျောက်မော် အင်း), Ngagyi In (ငကျည်း အင်း) and Inbu In (အင်းဘူး အင်း).
The brick fortifications of Inwa do not follow the conventions of the earlier rectilinear city plans. Instead, the zigzagged outer walls are popularly thought to outline the figure of a seated lion. The inner enclosure or citadel was laid out according to traditional cosmological principles and provided the requisite twelve gates. (The inner city was reconstructed on at least three occasions in 1597, 1763, and 1832.)
The kingdom Thado Minbya founded with the capital at Inwa became known as the Ava Kingdom, the main polity of Upper Burma until 1555. During this period, the city was the center of a flourishing literary scene in which Burmese literature "grew more confident, popular, and stylistically diverse, chiefly through the efforts of monks who chose to write in the vernacular rather than, or in addition to, in Pali."The period also saw the second generation of Burmese law codes (dhammathats), which critiqued earlier compilations, new poetic genres, and the perfection of older verse forms as well as the earliest pan-Burma Burmese language chronicles. The city got a new "exquisite golden palace" in February 1511 by which King Shwenankyawshin is posthumously remembered.
During this period, the capital city was the target of the kingdom's rivals. It came under siege in 1404–1405 during the Forty Years' War. Over a century later, on 25 March 1527, the city finally fell to the repeated attacks by the Confederation of Shan States and the Prome Kingdom.It then became the capital of the unruly and often disunited coalition until 22 January 1555 when it was captured by King Bayinnaung. The city's 190-year run as the capital of Upper Burma came to an end.
The city became the capital of all Burma during Toungoo and Konbaung periods (1599–1613, 1635–1752, 1765–1783, 1821–1842). The city was the base from which kings Nyaungyan and Anaukpetlun restored the kingdom which had temporarily disintegrated in December 1599. In January 1635, King Thalun moved the capital back to Ava from Pegu (Bago).The city was sacked on 21–23 March 1752, and subsequently burned down on 3 January 1753 by the forces of Restored Hanthawaddy Kingdom. King Hsinbyushin began the reconstruction of the city in March 1764, and moved the capital back to a newly rebuilt Ava on 23 July 1765. King Bodawpaya moved the capital to Amarapura in May 1783 but his grandson King Bagyidaw moved it back to Ava in November 1821.
The end of the city came via a natural disaster. Starting on 22 March 1839 (7th waxing of Tagu 1201 ME) the Inwa–Amapura region was hit by a series of earthquakes. The main earthquake hit the region, as far west as Sagaing, the next day, at five o'clock in the morning on 23 March 1839, and many tremors followed for days afterwards. The entire region was left in shambles in their wake. The capital was hardest hit: everything was leveled; many people and livestock perished.The city was not rebuilt. King Tharrawaddy chose instead to rebuild a new palace in Amarapura, and moved the seat of his government there in February 1842.
The former capital city site is a popular tourist day-trip destination from Mandalay. Tourists can still observe a few remnants of the capital, including Nanmadaw Me Nu Ok Kyaung, the Nanmyin Tower, the inner and outer brick city walls, etc.
|Ava Bridge||1934||The British||This 16 span cantilever bridge was the only structure to span the Irrawaddy until recently. Although now superseded by a parallel 2005 road bridge, it is still in use for railway and local road traffic.|
|Ava Palace site||1821||King Bagyidaw||The site of the deserted Palace of Ava is now marked by a solitary masonry 27 metres (89 ft) high watchtower, an example of early 19th century Burmese architecture. It is all that remains of the stately Palace reared by King Bagyidaw.|
|Bagaya Monastery||1770s||Maha Thiri Zeya Thinkhaya||"Monastic college" where the royals were educated|
|Htihlaing Shin Pagoda||A stupa built by King Kyansittha of Pagan Dynasty (late 11th century)|
|Judson Memorial||A stone that marks the site of Let Ma Yun (lit. "no pulling punches") prison where the American missionary Adoniram Judson was incarcerated during the First Anglo-Burmese War (1824–26)|
|Lawka Tharahpu Pagoda|
|Maha Aungmye Bonzan Monastery||1822||Queen Me Nu||Popularly known as Me Nu Ok Kyaung (lit. "Me Nu's Brick Monastery"), it was built in 1818 by Nanmadaw Me Nu, the famous Chief Queen of Bagyidaw, for the residence of her religious Preceptor, the Nyaunggan Sayadaw. The earthquake of 1838, damaged it, and in 1873, it was restored by Sinbyumashin, Queen of Mindon, and a daughter of Nanmadaw Me Nu. The building is markedly different from traditional Burmese monasteries, which are constructed with wood, not masonry.|
|Yadana Hsimi Pagodas||A group of small stupas in ruins (from the 1839 earthquakes)|
Inwa is located 21 kilometres (13 mi) south of Mandalay. It is on the way from the Mandalay International Airport to Mandalay. Cars can go up to the Myitnge river. It takes a 3-minute boat ride to cross over to the former capital site. On the Inwa side, a number of horse-drawn carts await the tourist business.
Amarapura is a former capital of Myanmar, and now a township of Mandalay city. Amarapura is bounded by the Irrawaddy river in the west, Chanmyathazi Township in the north, and the ancient capital site of Ava (Inwa) in the south. It was the capital of Myanmar twice during the Konbaung period before finally being supplanted by Mandalay 11 km north in 1859. It is historically referred to as Taungmyo in relation to Mandalay. Amarapura today is part of Mandalay, as a result of urban sprawl. The township is known today for its traditional silk and cotton weaving, and bronze casting. It is a popular tourist day-trip destination from Mandalay.
Mingyi Nyo was the founder of Toungoo dynasty of Burma (Myanmar). Under his 45-year leadership (1485–1530), Toungoo (Taungoo), grew from a remote backwater vassal state of Ava Kingdom to a small but stable independent kingdom. In 1510, he declared Toungoo's independence from its nominal overlord Ava. He skillfully kept his small kingdom out of the chaotic warfare plaguing Upper Burma. Toungoo's stability continued to attract refugees from Ava fleeing the repeated raids of Ava by the Confederation of Shan States (1490s–1527). Nyo left a stable, confident kingdom that enabled his successor Tabinshwehti to contemplate taking on larger kingdoms on his way to founding the Toungoo Empire.
Arimaddana Pura is a classical name of the city of Bagan (Pagan), Myanmar. It means the "City that Tramples on Enemies."
Kyawswa was king of the Pagan dynasty of Burma (Myanmar) from 1289 to 1297. Son of the last sovereign king of Pagan Narathihapate, Kyawswa was one of many "kings" that emerged after the collapse of the Pagan Empire in 1287. Though still styled as King of Pagan, Kyawswa's effective rule amounted to just the area around Pagan city. Felt threatened by the three brothers of Myinsaing, who were nominally his viceroys, Kyawswa decided to become a Mongol vassal, and received such recognition from the Mongols in March 1297. He was ousted by the brothers in December 1297, and killed along with his son Theingapati on 10 May 1299.
Thihathu was a co-founder of the Myinsaing Kingdom, and the founder of the Pinya Kingdom in today's central Burma (Myanmar). Thihathu was the youngest and most ambitious of the three brothers that successfully defended central Burma from Mongol invasions in 1287 and in 1300–01. He and his brothers toppled the regime at Pagan in 1297, and co-ruled central Burma. After his eldest brother Athinkhaya's death in 1310, Thihathu pushed aside the middle brother Yazathingyan, and took over as the sole ruler of central Burma. His decision to designate his adopted son Uzana I heir-apparent caused his eldest biological son, Saw Yun to set up a rival power center in Sagaing in 1315. Although Saw Yun nominally remained loyal to his father, after Thihathu's death in 1325, the two houses of Myinsaing officially became rival kingdoms in central Burma.
Athinhkaya Saw Yun was the founder of the Sagaing Kingdom of Myanmar (Burma). The eldest son of King Thihathu set up a rival kingdom in 1315 after Thihathu appointed Uzana I as heir-apparent. Saw Yun successfully resisted two small expeditions by Pinya by 1317. While Saw Yun nominally remained loyal to his father, he was the de facto king of the area roughly corresponding to present-day Sagaing Region and northern Mandalay Region.
Thihathu of Prome, or Sihasura, was viceroy of Prome (Pyay) from 1275 to 1288. He is known in Burmese history for assassinating his own father King Narathihapate, the last sovereign king of the Pagan Empire, in 1287. He was the maternal grandfather of King Swa Saw Ke of Ava.
The Pinya Kingdom was the kingdom that ruled Central Myanmar (Burma) from 1313 to 1365. It was the successor state of Myinsaing, the polity that controlled much of Upper Burma between 1297 and 1313. Founded as the de jure successor state of the Pagan Empire by Thihathu, Pinya faced internal divisions from the start. The northern province of Sagaing led by Thihathu's eldest son Saw Yun successfully fought for autonomy in 1315−17, and formally seceded in 1325 after Thihathu's death.
The Sagaing Kingdom was a small kingdom ruled by a junior branch of the Myinsaing dynasty from 1315 to 1365. Originally the northern province of Sagaing of the Pinya Kingdom, it became de facto independent after Prince Saw Yun successfully fought for autonomy from his father King Thihathu in 1315–17. Sagaing formally seceded from Pinya in 1325 after Thihathu's death.
Thado Minbya was the founder of the Kingdom of Ava. In his three plus years of reign (1364–67), the king laid the foundation for the reunification of Central Burma, which had been split into Pinya and Sagaing kingdoms since 1315. He also founded the capital city of Ava (Inwa) in 1365, which would remain the country's capital for most of the following five centuries. The young king restored order in central Burma, and tried to stamp out corrupt Buddhist clergy. He died of smallpox while on a southern military expedition in September 1367.
Mingyi Swa Saw Ke was king of Ava from 1367 to 1400. He reestablished central authority in Upper Myanmar (Burma) for the first time since the fall of the Pagan Empire in the 1280s. He essentially founded the Ava Kingdom that would dominate Upper Burma for the next two centuries.
Thihathu of Ava was king of Ava from 1421 to 1425. Though he opportunistically renewed the Forty Years' War with Hanthawaddy Pegu in 1422, Thihathu agreed to a peace treaty with Prince Binnya Ran in 1423. His subsequent marriage to Ran's sister Princess Shin Saw Pu helped keep the peace between the two kingdoms when Ran became king of Pegu in 1424.
Shwenankyawshin Narapati was king of Ava from 1501 to 1527. His reign saw the disintegration of the Ava Kingdom. He spent much of his reign fighting back the attacks from the Confederation of Shan States. But his efforts ultimately proved unsuccessful. The king died fighting while defending his capital from Confederation attacks, after which Ava Kingdom was taken over by the Confederation.
Sanda Dewi was one of the three principal queens of King Bayinnaung of Burma from 1553 to 1581. She was also a queen of the last two kings of Prome Kingdom from 1532 to 1542. She was the maternal grandmother of Natshinnaung, king of Toungoo.
Saw Omma was the chief queen consort of four consecutive kings of Pinya and Ava Kingdoms from 1350 to 1367. Descended from Pagan and Myinsaing–Pinya royal lines, the queen was well known for her beauty, and was selected as the chief queen of the last three kings of Pinya: Kyawswa II, Narathu and Uzana II. After the death of her fourth husband King Thado Minbya of Ava in 1367, she and her fifth husband Nga Nu unsuccessfully tried to seize the Ava throne. Her brother King Swa Saw Ke, who succeeded Thado Minbya, pardoned her but also married her off to the commander who captured her.
Yaza Datu Kalaya was crown princess of Burma from 1586 to 1593, and crown princess of Toungoo for seven months in 1603. Known for her great beauty, the princess was also a noted poet, and the subject of some of the "most beautiful poems in Burmese literature" by Natshinnaung.
Shin Myat Hla was the chief queen consort of King Mohnyin Thado of Ava from 1426 to 1439. She was also a junior queen of King Minkhaung I of Ava for five months in 1409–10. She was the mother of kings Minye Kyawswa I and Narapati I of Ava. She was also an eight-times great grandmother of King Alaungpaya of Konbaung Dynasty.
Theinkhathu Saw Hnaung was governor of Sagu in the Kingdom of Ava in the late 14th century. He was a grandson of King Thihathu of Pinya, and was one of the four top commanders of King Swa Saw Ke of Ava. He successfully resisted King Thado Minbya's multiple attempts to take his home region (1365−67). He later submitted to Swa. He served in the war against the southern Hanthawaddy Kingdom between 1386 and 1391 and defended the kingdom against the northern state of Mohnyin.
Saw Yan Naung was governor of Prome (Pyay) from c. 1344 to 1375 and viceroy of Prome from 1375 to 1377/78. Descended from Pagan and Pinya royalty, Saw Yan Naung was first appointed to the governorship by King Kyawswa I of Pinya. From 1367 onwards, the governor helped his brother King Swa Saw Ke of Ava consolidate the former southern vassals states of Pinya into Ava's fold.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Inwa .|
| Capital of Ava Kingdom |
26 February 1365 – 22 January 1555
| Capital of Burma |
19 December 1599 – 14 May 1613
| Capital of Burma |
25 January 1635 – 23 March 1752
| Capital of Burma |
23 July 1765 – 13 May 1783
| Capital of Burma |
22 November 1821 – 10 February 1842