Mandalay, the country's second largest city, is the spiritual and cultural heart of Myanmar. More than half of all Buddhist monks in Myammar reside in the Mandalay area. The ancient Rakhaing Buddha image of Mahamuni Paya is possibly the most revered in the country. Mandalay is also the best place to enjoy traditional dance and drama. The focus of the city, is Mandalay hill where spiraling staircases lead to sweeping views of the city and its temples, among them the nearby Kuthodaw Paya, which contains the world's biggest book. Because the kings of Mandalay had an urge to commence their reign with a new capital, the surroundings of Mandalay comprise four ancient deserted royal cities well within day-tripping distance, Inwa, Amarapura, Sagaing, and Mingun, each of them has a its own character and interesting sights.
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