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Pathein
ပုသိမ်မြို့
Bassein
Skyline of Pathein
Pathein is located in Burma
Pathein
Pathein
Location of Pathein, Myanmar (Burma)
Coordinates: 16°46′N 94°43′E / 16.767°N 94.717°E / 16.767; 94.717
Country  Burma
Division Ayeyarwady Region
District Pathein District
Township Pathein Township
Population
 • Total 315,600
 • Ethnicities Bamar, Burmese Indians, Kayin
 • Religions Buddhism, Islam
Time zone MST (UTC+6.30)
Area code(s) 42[1]

Pathein (Burmese: ပုသိမ်မြို့; MLCTS: pu. sim mrui., Burmese pronunciation: [pəθèiɴ mjo̰]; Mon: ဖာသီ, [pha sɛm]), also called Bassein, is a port city with a 2004 population estimated at 315,600, and the capital of the Ayeyarwady Region, Burma. It lies on the Pathein River (Bassein), which is a western branch of the Irrawaddy River.[2] Pathein is the fourth largest city of Burma (Myanmar), situated 190 kilometres (120 mi) west of Yangon.

It is located within the Pathein Township of Pathein District and is also the seat of all. Although once part of the Mon kingdom, Pathein has few ethnic Mon residents today. The majority are of Bamar, Burmese Indians, Kayin ethnicity. There are, however, notable minorities of Karen and Rakhine.

Etymology[edit]

The city's name is believed to derive from the Burmese word for "Parsi", Pathi (ပသီ), due to the large population of Arab and Indian traders. This is further supported by the fact that the Mon name for Pathein is ဖာသီ ([pha sɛm]).[3] The name was corrupted to Bassein during the British colonial period.

An alternate theory holds that the city's name comes from the classical name of Pathein, Kusimanagara, a name used by ancient writings an the Kalyani inscriptions.[4] Pathein itself is a corruption of Mon "Kuthen," which itself is a contraction of Kusimanagara.[4] This is supported by the fact that the Portuguese call Pathein "Cosmim."[4]

History[edit]

An artist's rendition of the Bassein shoreline in the late 1800s.

Pathein was part of the Mon kingdom. The British built a fort and established a garrison in 1826, after the First Anglo-Burmese War. The 1983 census recorded a population of 144,092.

Geography and economy[edit]

Lying at the western edge of the Ayeyarwady River delta, on the Pathein (Ngawan) River 118 miles (190 km) west of Yangon, Pathein is accessible to large vessels and despite its distance from the ocean, it is the most important delta port outside of Yangon. The city is also a terminus of a branch of the main railroad line which connects it to Hinthada, Letpadan and Yangon. In the 1990s, the road network along the Irrawaddy to Monya was improved.[2]

The coastline along the Bay of Bengal is surrounded by the Arakan Mountains. In the area is Inye Lake, 1.5 miles (2.4 km) long and 1 mile (1.6 km) wide, which is known for its fishing. There is also an offshore reef, Diamond Island which is popular with bathers. Diamond Island is also noted as a turtle breeding ground.[2]

Locally made parasols

The city is a rice-milling and export centre. Aside from several rice mills, the town has numerous sawmills and umbrella workshops. The colourful handmade parasols made in Pathein are widely known throughout Burma.[2] They are known locally as "Pathein Hti".[5] Pathein is also known for its pottery and colourful hand-made baskets and buckets.

The surrounding area of Pathein are employed in agriculture and cultivate sesames, groundnuts, jute, maize, pulses, tobacco, chilies etc.[5]

Climate[edit]

Pathein
Climate chart (explanation)
J F M A M J J A S O N D
 
 
5.1
 
31
17
 
 
2.5
 
33
19
 
 
2.5
 
35
22
 
 
15
 
36
24
 
 
278
 
34
25
 
 
613
 
30
25
 
 
654
 
30
24
 
 
670
 
30
24
 
 
364
 
30
24
 
 
203
 
31
24
 
 
86
 
31
22
 
 
10
 
30
19
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation totals in mm
Source: Intellicast

Pathein has a Tropical monsoon climate (Am) according to the Köppen climate classification system. Pathein experiences a sustained period of extraordinary rainfall from June through August. The dry season which runs from December through April, generally sees noticeably cooler temperatures than the remainder of the year.

Landmarks[edit]

Locally-made buckets

Pathein has a scenic waterfront, many Buddhist temples. The main sight of Pathein is Shwemokhtaw Pagoda, a Buddhist temple originally founded (according to local legend) by King Asoka of India in 305 BC. Bagan's King Alaungsithu raised the height of the stupa to 11 metres (36 ft) in 1115 AD, and the Mon King Samodogossa raised it to 131 feet (40 m) in 1263 AD. The stupa is now 153 feet (47 m) tall, with the topmost layer made of 13.9 pounds (6.3 kg) of solid gold, the middle tier of pure silver, and the third tier of bronze, with some 829 diamonds, 843 rubies, and 1588 semi-precious stones.[6]

Education[edit]

A local girl

The city is home to the Pathein Education College for elementary teachers and Pathein University. Pathein has a large hospital which also serves those in the surrounding district.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Myanmar Area Codes". Retrieved 2009-04-10. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Pathein". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved August 21, 2009. 
  3. ^ Dictionary of Modern Spoken Mon by H.L. Shorto (1962, Oxford University Press)
  4. ^ a b c James Gray, ed. (1892). Buddhaghosuppatti. London: Luzac & Company. p. 11. 
  5. ^ a b "Pathein (Bassein)". Journeysmyanmar.com. Retrieved August 21, 2009. 
  6. ^ "Ayeyawaddy Division Myanmar". Guide For Myanmar. Retrieved August 21, 2009. [dead link]

Coordinates: 16°46′27″N 94°43′54″E / 16.77417°N 94.73167°E / 16.77417; 94.73167


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