Mrauk U (Burmese: ေျမာက္ဦး MLCTS: mrauk u: mrui., Burmese pronunciation: [mjaʊʔ ú mjo̰]) is an archaeologically important town in northern Rakhine State, Myanmar. It is also the capital of Mrauk-U Township, a sub region of the Sittwe District. It was the capital of Mrauk U Kingdom, the most important and powerful Rakhine (Arakanese) kingdom, from 1430 to 1785.
In 1433, King Min Saw Mon established Mrauk U as the capital of the last unified Arakanese Kingdom. The city eventually reached a size of 160,000 in the early seventeenth century. Mrauk U served as the capital of the Mrauk U kingdom and its 49 kings till the conquest of the kingdom by the Burmese Konbaung Dynasty in 1784.
Due to its proximity to the Bay of Bengal, Mrauk U developed into an important regional trade hub, acting as both a back door to the Burmese hinterland and also as an important port along the eastern shore of the Bay of Bengal. It became a transit point for goods such as rice, ivory, elephants, tree sap and deer hide from Ava in Burma, and of cotton, slaves, horses, cowries, spices and textiles from Bengal, India, Persia and Arabia. Alongside Pegu and later Syriam, it was one of the most important ports in Burma till the eighteenth century.
The city also traded with non-Asian powers such as Portugal and then the Dutch East India Company of the Netherlands. The Dutch East India Company (VOC) established trading relations with the Arakanese in 1608 after the Portuguese fell in favour due to the lack of loyalty of Portuguese mercenaries, such as Filipe de Brito e Nicote in the service of the Arakanese king. The VOC established a permanent factory in Mrauk U in 1635, and operated in Arakan till 1665.
At its zenith, Mrauk U was the centre of a kingdom which stretched from the shores of the Ganges river to the western reaches of the Ayeyarwaddy River. According to popular Arakanese legend, there were 12 'cities of the Ganges' which constitute roughly half of modern day Bangladesh which were governed by Mrauk U, including Dhaka and Chittagong. During that period, its kings minted coins inscribed in Arakanese, Kufic and Bengali.
Much of Mrauk U's historical description is drawn from the writings of Friar Sebastian Manrique, a Portuguese Augustinian monk who resided in Mrauk U from 1630 to 1635.
Mrauk U lies roughly 11 km east of the Kaladan River on the banks of its minor tributaries. The town is located on a small outcrop of the Rakhine Yoma on the eastern side of the Kaladan's alluvial plain. Thus, the surrounding countryside is hilly yet also contains a great deal of marshes, mangroves and lakes.
Mrauk U, like much of Rakhine State, is situated in a coastal tropical monsoon rainforest climate region. The town receives over 1200mm of rain a year from the Southwestern Monsoon, making it one of the wettest regions in Myanmar. The Monsoon season usually begins in late May and ends by mid October.
Although located in a tropical region, Mrauk U enjoys lower temperatures when the Northeastern Monsoon falls. From mid October to mid March during the Cool Season, temperatures can drop to 13°C. This season coincides with the tourist season for Myanmar.
The rainfall in 19 July 2011 was nearly 24 centimetres (9.4 in), the highest for 33 years. There was flood because of continuous heavy rains in July 2011.
Sittwe is situated on an estuarial island at the confluence of the Kaladan River, Myu River, and Lemyo River. The location of Sittwe is between East Longitude 92deg 56' and North Latitute 20deg 7' and 22deg 17'.This port city of the Rakhine State sits at the mouth of the Kaladan River where it empties into the Bay of Bangal. Off shore delta islands form a wide protected channel that has served as an important harbour for many centuries. The city started as a trading port around 200 years ago and further developed after the British occupation of 1826. International trade alone the coast bloomed during the British era. Two huge cargo steamers a day plied back and forth between Calcutta and Sittwe. Scottish short-storywriter and novelist Hector Hugh Munro, known by his pen name ‘Saki’, was born here in 1870. There is a distinctive Rakhine twist on standard Myanmar culture that includes the enjoyment of much spicy food and brighter-coloured clothing.
The climate in Sittwe is moderate. Rainfall in the year round is not more than 200". Monsoon starts in the last week of May and heavy rainfall months are June, July and August. The best month of the year is November and the best travelling months are November up to February.
Kyaukpyu is a town of western Myanmar on the eastern coast of the Bay of Bengal. Just to the south is the offshore island of Rambree in Combermere Bay, while 250 miles (400 km) to the northwest lies Yangon. The town includes a natural harbor which connects rice trade between Calcutta and Yangon. The estimated population in 1983 was 19,456 inhabitants.
Kyaukphyu is a district in the Rakhine State of Lower Myanmar. It is situated on the eastern coast of the Bay of Bengal. It consists of a strip of mainland along the Bay of Bengal, extending from the An Pass, across the main range to the Ma-I river. The large islands of Ramree and Cheduba with many others to the south, lying off the coast of Thandwe.
Thandwe, it is called Sandoway by the British, is a city and major seaport in southern Myanmar. It is also a district. Thandwe is very ancient, and is said to have been at one time the capital of Rakhine State, then called Arakan. Thandwe is the main gateway to reach the beautiful Ngapali Beach. Thandwe consists of the Thandwe Airport.
The district has an area of 3,784 square miles. The country is mountainous, the Arakan Mountains sending out spurs which reach the coast. Some of the peaks in the north attain 4,000 and more ft. The streams are only mountain torrents to within a few miles of the coast; the mouth of the Khwa forms a good anchorage for vessels of from 9 to 10 ft. draught. The rocks in the Arakan range and its spurs are metamorphic, and comprise clay, slates, ironstone and indurated sandstone; towards the south, ironstone, trap and rocks of basaltic character are common; veins of steatite and white fibrous quartz are also found. The rainfall in 1905 was 23-49 in. Except a few acres of tobacco, all the cultivation is rice.