Mandalay is the second largest city (only after Yangon) in Myanmar and is considered the center of Burmese culture. Located on the east bank of the Ayeyarwaddy River, it lies at the center of mainland Myanmar. The city was founded at the foot of Mandalay Hill in 1857 by King Mindon as his royal capital.
Mandalay is hailed as Burma's cultural and religious center of Buddhism, which boasts numerous monasteries and more than 700 pagodas. The core of the city includes Mandalay Palace, Mahamuni Buddha Temple, and Kuthodaw Pagoda. Mandalay Hill, whose slopes are studded with pagodas, is a popular destination to visit while you are in Mandalay. U Bein Bridge and Mahagandayon Monastery in Amarapura are not to be missed sites near Mandalay. From Mandalay, a boat trip across the Ayeyarwaddy River will take you to the ancient city of Mingun for the Great Mingun Pahtodawgyi and Mingun Bell.