Mandalay Fort and Palace

five photos patchworked together (badly) to show Mandalay Fort from the watchtower

[Sorry for the poor editing - I had most of the tools but not the time to do it better.]

The scale of Mandalay Fort is kind of hard to grasp: the walls are two kilometers (perhaps more!) on each side, with a 70 meter moat all the way around. Two kilometers: at my reasonably good pace, that's 38 minutes along one side and half of another. The walls are massive, and in good repair. Unfortunately the palace in the middle burned to the ground in 1942. What you see above is the reproduction palace, seen from the reproduction watchtower. It looks quite grand from up here, but on the ground you can see that the buildings (made of concrete and corrugated steel roofing - probably originally teak) are mostly vacant and untended, paint already peeling off although they are (I think) less than ten years old. Three buildings near the entrance are better tended, and the grounds deteriorate as you get further from them. The fort walls are so far from the palace you can't even see them in this image. Most of the four square kilometers inside the walls are off limits to foreigners: it's occupied by the army. Apparently soldiers grow vegetables to supplement their wages.

Here's the watchtower:

round watchtower with exterior spiral staircase