Ancient City in Myanmar – HanLin City

When we talk about ancient city in Myanmar, people usually think Bagan first in their mind. Actually, the ancient cities of Phy which are older than Bagan and are really interesting to know. Ancient city of Pyu such as Halin, Beikthano and Sri Ksetra were the first cities of Myanmar that flourished between the 2nd century BC and the 9th century AD. In 2014, these three ancient cities were designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. In this article, we will write about ancient city of Hanlin.

Halin Location and History

Hanlin is interesting ancient city in Myanmar, which is located in Welet Township, Shwebo District, Sagaing Division.

Han means land in Pu language. Lin means flat land. It means a flat city or a city located on flat land. The ancient city of Han Lin was the most powerful and the longest city not only in the history of Myanmar, but also in the history of the world. There were 799 dynasties reigned.

Ancient city in Myanmar – Hanlin


In the ancient city of Hanlin, there were many cultural artifacts from the prehistoric era (Stone Age, Bronze Age, Iron Age). Among the ancient cities of the Pu era, Hanlin is one of the richest areas with cultural evidence of people who lived there since the pre-urban civilization. Scholars have estimated that the old city of Hanlin is between 5,000 and 10,000 years old.

Excavation of the ancient city began in 1905 in the pre-war era and has been repeatedly excavated until now. Excavations include the palace citadels, The palace wall, residence houses, the workshop and the cemetery. What’s special is that the ancient Pyu people buried the pots and their belonging jewelry together when they die. Another interesting fact is that those Pyu people were quite taller compared to these day people while we look at their excavated skeletons.

Recently, a large sandstone statue from the 5th century AD that was usually placed at the entrance of the palace gate was excavated.

There are still many interesting things to explore around Hanlin.

Sandstone statue

Current Situation of Hanlin Area

After the 2021 military coup, due to the lack of rule, the villagers excavated and are selling the antiques artifacts in the surrounding areas of the ancient city. Moreover, the army stationed in the heritage area and, there is a lot of arson and destruction, so the world heritage area is now becoming a worrying situation.

World Heritage area is now worrying situation – photo credit -BBC

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