The Secretariat Building, or Office of Ministers, was the residential and administrative headquarters of British Burma, in downtown Yangon, Burma and the place where the Commander of the Burma Independence Army Aung San and six Cabinet Ministers were assassinated in 1947.
The Victorian style building is made of red and yellow bricks and is U-shaped. Construction began in the late 1800s. Until 1972, the 6.5 hectare complex was known as the government secretariat. General Aung San, the father of modern Myanmar, spent his working days in this building. On July 19, 1947, during a meeting of the Executive Council in the ministerial building, Aung San and six cabinet ministers were murdered by a group of armed paramilitaries. They were sent by former Prime Minister U Saw.
The building stood empty for a long time after the government moved to the new capital, Naypyidaw. The government debated whether to restore it and turn it into a hotel or museum. In 2011 it was decided to convert the ministerial building into a museum and not a hotel. In February 2012, local and foreign companies submitted a proposal to the Myanmar Investment Commission to convert the ministerial building into a martyrs museum, cultural area and theme park. The room where the attack took place was used as a Buddhist shrine until 2016.
The building is currently closed to the public. However, every year on the anniversary of his death, General Aung San’s former office and the room where he and his cabinet were gunned down are open to the public. On July 19, 2017, the country celebrated the 70th anniversary of Martyrs’ Day. For the first time since the building was closed, the Yangon Parliament House, located in the Secretariat and Cabinet Hall, has been opened to the public. 42,000 Myanmar citizens and many foreign visitors came to honor their fallen heroes. The National Museum brought original furniture and items such as fountain pens, lighters and cigarette boxes into the rooms so that visitors could better imagine the atmosphere from back then.
In November 2014, then American President Barack Obama visited the building to honor the fallen. During his tour of the building, Obama offered urban development and heritage protection assistance.
Golden Rock of Myanmar
According to topschoolsintheusa, the Golden Rock in Myanmar is one of the most important Buddhist shrines in the country. Not only do hundreds of devout Buddhists go on pilgrimage to this holy place every day, the trip is also worthwhile for tourists.
The legend of the golden rock
According to legend, the Golden Rock has been kept in balance by two hairs of Buddha on the edge of a slope for 1000 years. It seems like the rock is about to roll down any moment.
Mon-King Tissa is said to have received the hair relic in the 11th century from a hermit who had received it as a gift from the Buddha himself and kept it in his topknot. The hermit handed it over to the king, provided that he could find a rock in the shape of his head on which he wanted to build a pagoda. After a long, unsuccessful search, Tissa finally dived into the ocean and found the said rock on the seabed. With the help of a boat, he managed to carry the rock to the top of Mount Kyaikhtiyo. The boat petrified and stands today as a sacred stone near the Golden Rock.
On the almost round rock, which in turn stands on a summit over 1000 meters high, he built the so-called Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda. In the Mon language, Kyaikhtiyo means “on the head of a hermit”. The granite rock is gold-plated, as the male believers attach wafer-thin gold leaf to it every day as a good deed.
The Golden Rock can be reached in a number of ways by pilgrims and tourists. The usual way to get to Kinpun Base Camp is by bus or train. The classic pilgrimage route begins in Kinpun, a 12-kilometer uphill path that takes around four hours. Another option is to take a truck. The last, short ascent has to be covered on foot, but you can also be carried on a litter for a fee.
Before entering the area around the rock, shoes must be taken off and headgear removed. Women are not allowed to touch the sanctuary.
The Golden Rock is one of the most important Buddhist pilgrimage sites in Myanmar. For tourists, too, the holy place is an unforgettable highlight of their trip.