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Burma Goes Ahead With Bagan Tower Project Despite Criticism - 2003-05-18


Burma's state tourism chief says construction of a 60-meter observation tower in the ancient city of Bagan will go ahead despite concerns expressed by the United Nations.

Bagan is a collection of more than 28,00 11th and 12th Century Buddhist monuments covering 80 square kilometers in remote central Burma.

A newspaper report (published Sunday in the weekly Myanmar Times) quotes the director general of hotels and tourism as saying the Namying, or High Palace, Tower will help preserve the world-famous archaeological site. Khin Maung Latt says the tower will keep tourists from climbing on ancient temples to get a better view.

The tower is to be situated near Bagan's golf course. Preservationists at UNESCO -- the UN's cultural body -- say the tower will be out of scale with the rest of the site and detract visually from the historic monuments.

UNESCO has designated Bagan as a World Cultural Heritage site.

Information for this report is provided by AP and AFP.

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