Welcome to Yangon
But in many ways Yangon, formerly known as Rangoon, has hardly changed at all. The city remains focused on Shwedagon Paya, an awe-inspiring golden Buddhist monument around which everything else revolves. Close to it are the parks and lakes that provide Yangonites with an escape from the surrounding chaos. Then there’s downtown, its pavements one vast open-air market, which is home to some of the most impressive colonial architecture in all Southeast Asia.
Yangon (Burmese: ရန်ကုန်မြို့, MLCTS rankun mrui, pronounced [jàɴɡòʊɴ mjo̰]; formerly known as Rangoon, literally: “End of Strife”) is the capital of the Yangon Region of Myanmar, also known as Burma. Yangon served as the capital of Myanmar until 2006, when the military government relocated the capital to the purpose-built city of Naypyidaw in central Myanmar. With over 7 million people, Yangon is Myanmar’s largest city and its most important commercial centre.
Yangon boasts the largest number of colonial-era buildings in Southeast Asia, and has a unique colonial-era urban core that is remarkably intact. The colonial-era commercial core is centred around the Sule Pagoda, which is reputed to be over 2,000 years old. The city is also home to the gilded Shwedagon Pagoda – Myanmar’s most sacred Buddhist pagoda. The mausoleum of the last Mughal Emperor is located in Yangon, where he had been exiled following the Indian Mutiny of 1857.
Yangon suffers from deeply inadequate infrastructure, especially compared to other major cities in Southeast Asia. Though many historic residential and commercial buildings have been renovated throughout central Yangon, most satellite towns that ring the city continue to be profoundly impoverished and lack basic infrastructure.