Globetrotting: Relics of Rangoon

Globetrotting: Relics of Rangoon

Rangoon, now called Yangon, has had a hell of a ride. Just a little fishing village until the late 18th Century, it grew into one of the largest ports in the world by the 1940s.

Rangoon c. 1940 

Best of British

Under the Brits, who had characteristically taken charge in the mid-19th Century, some of the city’s most iconic sculptures were built.  Among them is the magnificent Secretariat building, which served as Government buildings until 2005.

Secretariat Building, Rangoon

The Spell of Time

A combination of damage during the war, and neglect under the junta government, has cast a rather magical spell on the city. The buildings which survive have been on pause for 60 years, preserved except for the Banyan trees which now inhabit them.

A building in downtown Yangon 

An Unhappy Jewel

Although impossible for the tenants struggling to live in 1940s conditions, and rather sad awaiting their unknown fate, these buildings make Yangon a visual jewel of Southeast Asia.

A building in downtown Yangon

Side by Side

35% of the old buildings have already been demolished and replaced by aluminium clad horrors, making it both idiosyncratic and homogenous at once.

Rooftops of Downtown Yangon

Relics of Rangoon

Here are some of our favourite shots of the remains of old Rangoon, now in the hands of battling teams of conservationists and campaigners who are working tirelessly to decide how best to preserve what remains.  Let’s hope time is on their side.

Interior shot of The Secretariat, Yangon

Hidden buildings of Yangon

The Pegu Club, Yangon

The landing of an old Rangoon Relic

Yangon's Younger Face 

This is the view from Kalinko HQ in downtown Yangon. Henry, John and James (I'm not making that up...) the three British architects who sculpted Rangoon, must be turning in their graves...  That said, we secretly love it. So colourful!

 The view from Kalinko HQ, Downtown Yangon

Ps. The title of this blog is taken from a FAB book by Philip J. Heijmans, a must for any coffee table:

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