"The First Myanmar Empire" lies on the eastern bank of Ayeyarwaddy River. In 1057 Anawrahta conquered Thaton and brought back to his capital the Theravada scriptures, a numbers of literate Buddhist monks, artists and craftsmen. Theravada Buddhism was introduced by King Anawratha.
Tradition had it that Bagan was founded in 2nd Century AD but it would not be truly verified as lack of written documents. It was not until King Anawrahta who ascended to the throne in 1044 that Bagan rose to golden era in Southeast Asia.
During the 11th to 13th centuries, Bagan became a truly cosmopolitan centre of Buddhist studies, attracting monks and students from as far as India, Sri Lanka as well as the Thai and Khmer kingdoms.
It was from this momentous date that there began the extraordinary architectural and artistic activity which covered the city and its environs with thousands of splendid monuments in various shapes and sizes; the inner walls of most of which are decorated with incredible frescoes.
It is one of the richest archaeological sites in Asia, today still stands over 3300 religious monuments. The Bagan museum, built inside a large court-yard, houses ancient Buddha images in stone, bronze and wood, guardian figures, stucco decorative elements and lithographic slabs. Notably there is the famous four-faced Myazedi stone inscriptions in Pyu, Pali, Mon and Myanmar.