Mandalay, was the historical old capital and the center of Myanmar culture in the past. It is situated about 600 kilometers north of Yangon on the Ayeyarwaddy river, has about half a million inhabitants and is Myanmars second largest city. It abounds in historical landmarks, cultural memorials, Buddhist edifices and traditional arts and crafts. It is the richest historical landmark next to Bagan.
Mandalay was the capital of the last, independent Burmese kingdom, which in 1886 was finally conquered by British colonial forces. The town had been founded only 29 years earlier in 1857 by King Mindon, making it the capital of an independent kingdom for less than 30 years. In 1857 Mandalay was set up in an empty area, because, according to an ancient prophecy, in that exact place a town would come into existence on occasion of the 2,400th jubilee of Buddhism. The city was named after the Mandalay Hill, which is situated at the northeast corner of the present city.