Walking down the streets of downtown Yangon, old and dilapitated buildings loom like ghosts from another time. The decaying facade of these buildings are filled with old paint and small trees squeezing through those little cracks. The buildings are still above all standing as they have been for over a century. It is like a gold mine for people who is interested in colonial era architecture. Yangon was one of the British’s great capitals and they have incorporated a very impressive town planning effort that has its legacy preserved til this day. The British rebuilt the lower section of the town in a extremely well organised geometrical grid system. Today, finding your way around the town area is still rather easy thanks to this.

Yangon is the last city to have it’s colonial core intact as compared to other nations of the Southeast Asia region. Still pretty much preserved like the old days, the skyline of the town area is mostly dominated by old colonial buildings. Since Yangon was also an important port, immigrants from almost everywhere back then began to flow into the city at the start of the 20th century. Most of them live in the capital’s business district and brought with them their own culture and religions. That is why Yangon has a fantastic mixture of mosques, churches, temples and even a synagogue that stands shoulder-to-shoulder to Buddhist pagodas. This is what made me fell in love with the city.

A sad note is that we can see that since the nation’s market has opened up, foreign investors are rushing into the city to grab this opportunity for development. Everyone seems to want a piece of this untamed land for business. We could see that many of these colonial buildings are already marked for demolition and to be transformed into modern high-rises or luxury hotels. In the race against time to safeguard Yangon’s heritage the next few years will be critical. I foresee that soon in the near future, many of these colonial buildings will be torn down and will look like another Kuala Lumpur or Singapore.

Despite all the colonial buildings that conquers the entire downtown area of Yangon, there are a few rather special colonial buildings that are worth a mention. We tried our best to walk and search for a few of these historical buildings in the hot sun. Fortunately, we managed to capture a few shots to share it with everyone.

Myanmar Colonial Building

Myanma Port Authority Building (built in 1920)

Myanmar Colonial Building

The Strand Hotel (built in 1896)

Myanmar Colonial Building

Department of Internal Revenue (Formerly Rander House, built in 1936)

Myanmar Colonial Building

Myanma Port Authority Entrance

Myanmar Colonial Building

First Private Bank of Myanmar (Formerly Netherlands Trading Society building)

Yangon City at Sunset

Myanma Economic Bank Branch 3 (Formerly Bank of Bengal, built in 1914)

Myanmar Colonial Building

Government Telegraph Office (built in 1911)

Myanmar Colonial Building

Yangon City Hall (built in 1927)

Myanmar Colonial Building

High Court Building (built in 1911)

Myanmar Colonial Building

The Accountant General’s Office

Myanmar Colonial Building

Holy Trinity Cathedral (built in 1894)

Myanmar Colonial Building

A refurbished colonial era building turned Marrybrown

Myanmar Colonial Building

A newly refurbished colonial building

Myanmar Colonial Building

Colourful Colonial shops

Myanmar Colonial Building

Myanmar Citizen’s Bank

Myanmar Colonial Building

Myanmar Colonial Building

Myanmar Port Authority Building at Sunset

Myanmar National Airlines

Myanmar Colonial Building

Myanmar Colonial Building

Colourful colonial shops

Myanmar Colonial Building

Myanmar Colonial Building

Highly decorated facade of the old colonial past

Myanmar Colonial Building

Highly decorated facade of the old colonial past

Myanmar Colonial Building

Behind some old shoplots filled with trash

Myanmar Colonial Building

Interior of a colonial shop

Myanmar Colonial Building

Colonial era houses

Myanmar Colonial Building

Contrast between past and present architecture

Yangon City Center at Sunset

AVA Bank (formerly Rowe & Co. Departmental Store, built in 1910) and Immanuel Baptist Church (right, built in 1885)

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