Mandalay [key], city (1983 pop. 532,895), capital of Mandalay region, central Myanmar, on the Ayeyarwady River. The second largest city in Myanmar, it is the terminus of the main rail line from Yangon and the starting point of branch lines to Lashio and Myitkyina. As a city it dates from c.1850. It was the capital of the Burman kingdom, replacing Amarapura, from 1860 to 1885, when it was annexed to British Burma. A major Buddhist religious center, the city is noted for the Rakhine (or Arakan) pagoda, which is built around an ancient shrine. The group of sacred buildings known as the Seven Hundred and Thirty Pagodas was erected in the reign (1853–78) of King Mindon. Mandalay was heavily damaged in World War II.
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