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Mandalay is Upper Burma's main commercial, educational and health center, the second largest city of Myanmar. It is a relatively young city since it was founded by King Mindon in 1857 on the occasion of the 2,400th jubilee of Buddhism. Mandalay used to be the last royal capital of Burma and its golden age continued during the British colonial rule, but the commercial and political importance had irreversibly shifted to Yangon. Although during WWII most royal buildings including the palace were inevitably destroyed by allied bombings, but there are still a bunch of historic monuments in Mandalay to remind us of the past.
The gilded stupa of Kuthodaw Pagoda was modeled after Shwezigon Pagoda at Nyaung-U near Bagan. Construction of the building was begun in 1857 by King Mindon, who wanted to leave a great work by merit and thus decided to create the world's largest book around the central stupa.