Innwa is a city in the Mandalay Division
Mandalay Division
Mandalay Region is an administrative division of Myanmar. It is located in the center of the country, bordering Sagaing Region and Magway Region to the west, Shan State to the east, and Bago Region and Kayin State to the south. The regional capital is Mandalay. In the south of the division lies...

 of Burma (Myanmar), situated just to the south of Amarapura
Amarapura is a former capital of Myanmar, and now a township of Mandalay. Amarapura is bounded by the Ayeyarwady river in the west, Chanmyathazi township in the north, and the city of Innwa in the south...

 on the Ayeyarwady River
Ayeyarwady River
The Irrawaddy River or Ayeyarwady River is a river that flows from north to south through Burma . It is the country's largest river and most important commercial waterway. Originating from the confluence of the N'mai and Mali rivers, it flows relatively straight North-South before emptying through...

. Its formal title is Ratanapura , which means City of Gems in Pali. The name Innwa means mouth of the lake, which comes from in , meaning lake, and wa , which means mouth. Known as Ava to the British and A-wa (ဗ-တေ; mouth) in Burmese, it evolved to its modern name Innwa.


Ava was capital of Burma from 1364 to 1841, founded by King Thadominbya
Thadominbya was the founder of the Kingdom of Ava who reunified central Burma in 1364 under a single kingdom. In his short reign of three plus years, the ethnically Shan king achieved accomplishments that would have a long lasting impact in Burmese history...

 on an artificial island at the confluence of the Ayeyarwady and the Myitnge
Myitnge River
Myitnge River in Myanmar . The name Myitnge in Burmese and Dokhtawaddy in Pali both mean "little river" in comparison with the Ayeyarwady or "big river".-Source, course and outflow:...

 created by digging a canal linking the two rivers. Prior to this, Sagaing
Sagaing is the capital of Sagaing Region in Myanmar. Located on the Ayeyarwady River, 20 km to the southwest of Mandalay on the opposite bank of the river, Sagaing with numerous Buddhist monasteries is an important religious and monastic center. The pagodas and monasteries crowd the numerous...

 had been capital, but after Sagaing fell to the Shan, the court moved across the river to Ava. The kings of Ava set about restoring Burmese supremacy, which had disintegrated after the collapse of Pagan
Bagan , formerly Pagan, is an ancient city in the Mandalay Region of Burma. Formally titled Arimaddanapura or Arimaddana and also known as Tambadipa or Tassadessa , it was the capital of several ancient kingdoms in Burma...

 to the Empire founded by King Anawrahta
Anawrahta Minsaw was the founder of the Pagan Empire. Considered the father of the Burmese nation, Anawrahta turned a small principality in the dry zone of Upper Burma into the first Burmese Empire that formed the basis of modern-day Burma...

 in 1057.

The Kingdom of Ava was established at the city of Ava by 1364. Pagan culture was revived and a great age of Burmese literature ensued. The kingdom lacked easily defensible borders, however, and was overrun by the Shan in 1527.

The Kingdom of Ava was involved in continuous warfare with Tai
Tai peoples
The Tai ethnicity refers collectively to the ethnic groups of southern China and Southeast Asia, stretching from Hainan to eastern India and from southern Sichuan to Laos, Thailand, and parts of Vietnam, which speak languages in the Tai family and share similar traditions and festivals, including...

 (Shan) saopha
Saopha, Chaofa, or Sawbwa was a royal title used by the rulers of the Shan States of Myanmar . The word means "king" in the Shan and Tai languages...

s to the north on the frontier with Yunnan
Yunnan is a province of the People's Republic of China, located in the far southwest of the country spanning approximately and with a population of 45.7 million . The capital of the province is Kunming. The province borders Burma, Laos, and Vietnam.Yunnan is situated in a mountainous area, with...

. There were repeated Tai raids on the capital of Ava and Ava sent military northwards to attack Tai fiefdoms such as Mong Mao
Mong Mao
Mong Mao or Mao kingdom was an ethnically Dai state that controlled several smaller Tai states or chieftainships along the frontier of what is now Myanmar and China in the Dehong region of Yunnan with a capital near the modern-day border town of Ruili...

. The Ming dynasty
Ming Dynasty
The Ming Dynasty, also Empire of the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644, following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty. The Ming, "one of the greatest eras of orderly government and social stability in human history", was the last dynasty in China ruled by ethnic...

 that ruled China from the late fourteenth century often tried unsuccessfully to put an end to this warfare through traditional Chinese diplomacy. Ava occasionally became involved in the warfare between the Ming and Tai in Yunnan such as in the Luchuan-Pingmian Campaigns
Luchuan-Pingmian Campaigns
In the middle of the fifteenth century Ming China began a series of four disastrous wars on its frontiers with Burma in Yunnan against Tai chieftainships....


Following is the detailed account of one of those affairs among Ava, Shans, and China in the 15th century, recorded by Burmese historian U Kala in his U Kala Mahayarzawindawgyi.
In 1555, Ava fell to the southern Burmese Kingdom of Taungoo
-Administration:*Taungoo District Peace and Development Council - List of Six Townships*Taungoo Township Peace and Development Council*Taungoo Ward Peace and Development Council - 22 Wards*Taungoo Municipal*District and Township Immigration Dept...

 which led to the founding of the Second Burmese Empire by King Tabinshwehti
Tabinshwehti was a king who unified Burma in 1539 and known as the founder of the Second Burmese Empire.Tabinshwehti succeeded his father Mingyinyo as ruler of the Toungoo dynasty in 1530...

, but in 1636, the king of Taungoo relocated his own capital to Ava. In 1752, the Mon revolted against Burmese rule and sacked Ava. A couple of years later, the founder of the new Konbaung Dynasty
Konbaung dynasty
The Konbaung Dynasty was the last dynasty that ruled Burma from 1752 to 1885. The dynasty created the second largest empire in Burmese history, and continued the administrative reforms begun by the Toungoo dynasty, laying the foundations of modern state of Burma...

 and the Third Burmese Empire, Alaungpaya
Alaungpaya was king of Burma from 1752 to 1760, and the founder of the Konbaung Dynasty. By his death in 1760, the former chief of a small village in Upper Burma had reunified all of Burma, subdued Manipur, recovered Lan Na, and driven out the French and the English who had given help to the...

, crushed the Mon revolt, and after a period with Shwebo
Shwebo is a city in Sagaing Division, Myanmar, located 113 km northwest of Mandalay between the Irrawaddy and the Mu rivers. The city, also called Ratanasingha , was the capital of Myanmar from 1752 to 1760 during the Konbaung period....

 as his capital, re-established the court in Ava.

Following the British
Kingdom of Great Britain
The former Kingdom of Great Britain, sometimes described as the 'United Kingdom of Great Britain', That the Two Kingdoms of Scotland and England, shall upon the 1st May next ensuing the date hereof, and forever after, be United into One Kingdom by the Name of GREAT BRITAIN. was a sovereign...

 conquest of Lower Burma
Lower Burma
Lower Burma is a geographic region of Burma and includes the low-lying Irrawaddy delta , as well as coastal regions of the country ....

 after the Second Anglo-Burmese War
Second Anglo-Burmese War
The Second Anglo-Burmese War was the second of the three wars fought between the Burmese and the British Empire during the 19th century, with the outcome of the gradual extinction of Burmese sovereignty and independence....

 (1852–53), Upper Burma
Upper Burma
Upper Burma refers to a geographic region of Burma , traditionally encompassing Mandalay and its periphery , or more broadly speaking, Kachin and Shan States....

 was commonly called the Kingdom of Ava or the Court of Ava. During the reign of King Bodawpaya
Bodawpaya was the sixth king of the Konbaung Dynasty of Burma. Born Maung Shwe Waing and later Badon Min, he was the fourth son of Alaungpaya, founder of the dynasty and the Third Burmese Empire. He was proclaimed king after deposing his nephew Phaungkaza Maung Maung, son of his oldest brother...

 (lit. Lord Royal Grandfather,1781–1819), the capital was moved to nearby Amarapura. However, his successor, King Bagyidaw
Bagyidaw Bagyidaw's reign saw the First Anglo-Burmese War , which marked the beginning of the end of the highly militaristic Konbaung dynasty. Bagyidaw inherited the largest Burmese empire, second only to King Bayinnaung's, but also one that shared a long ill-defined borders with British India...

 (lit. Royal Elder Uncle, 1819–1837), moved the Court back to Ava in 1823. When a tremendous earthquake caused extensive damage in 1841, Ava was finally abandoned for Amarapura. Little remains of the ancient capital today. It so impressed one Viceroy of India that Frederick Hamilton-Temple-Blackwood, 1st Marquess of Dufferin and Ava
Frederick Hamilton-Temple-Blackwood, 1st Marquess of Dufferin and Ava
Frederick Hamilton-Temple-Blackwood, 1st Marquess of Dufferin and Ava, KP, GCB, GCSI, GCMG, GCIE, PC was a British public servant and prominent member of Victorian society...

 added Ava to his title.

Because of the earthquake that happened in 1939, most of the palaces in Ava were destroyed.


The city is a popular tourist day-trip destination from Mandalay
Mandalay is the second-largest city and the last royal capital of Burma. Located north of Yangon on the east bank of the Irrawaddy River, the city has a population of one million, and is the capital of Mandalay Region ....


Sights of interest

  1. Maha Aungmye Bonzan – A Buddhist monastery built by Nanmadaw Mè Nu, queen of Bagyidaw, in 1818, in traditional style except it was masonry instead of wood (popularly known as Mè Nu Ok Kyaung)
  2. Nanmyin Watch Tower – a 27 meter high masonry tower, all that is left of the Ava Palace
  3. Judson Memorial - a stone that marks the site of Let Ma Yun (lit. no pulling punches)prison where the American missionary Adoniram Judson
    Adoniram Judson
    Adoniram Judson, Jr. was an American Baptist missionary, who served in Burma for almost forty years. At the age of 25, Adoniram Judson became the first Protestant missionary sent from North America to preach in Burma...

     was incarcerated during the First Anglo-Burmese War (1824–26)
  4. Htihlaing Shin Paya - a stupa
    A stupa is a mound-like structure containing Buddhist relics, typically the remains of Buddha, used by Buddhists as a place of worship....

     built by King Kyanzittha of Bagan
    Bagan , formerly Pagan, is an ancient city in the Mandalay Region of Burma. Formally titled Arimaddanapura or Arimaddana and also known as Tambadipa or Tassadessa , it was the capital of several ancient kingdoms in Burma...

     period (11th c.)
  5. Ava Bridge
    Ava Bridge
    The Ava Bridge is a 16 span cantilever bridge between Ava and Sagaing, Mandalay Division, Burma. It was built by the British in 1934. The bridge was destroyed by the retreating British Army during the World War II and was rebuilt in 1954 after Burmese independence...

     – a 16 span cantilever bridge
    Cantilever bridge
    A cantilever bridge is a bridge built using cantilevers, structures that project horizontally into space, supported on only one end. For small footbridges, the cantilevers may be simple beams; however, large cantilever bridges designed to handle road or rail traffic use trusses built from...

    built by the British in 1934, the only structure to span the Ayeyarwady River until recently when a new bridge has been built nearby.

External links

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