Myanmar Is Picking Up The Pieces After Earthquake Damaged Ancient Pagodas

Close to 200 brick structures were damaged by a powerful earthquake on Wednesday.
The damaged ancient Myauk Guni Temple is pictured, after a 6.8 magnitude earthquake hit Bagan, on August 25, 2016.
The damaged ancient Myauk Guni Temple is pictured, after a 6.8 magnitude earthquake hit Bagan, on August 25, 2016.
YE AUNG THU via Getty Images

A 6.8 magnitude earthquake killed three people and damaged at least 187 ancient Buddhist structures in Myanmar on Wednesday, striking the heart of the country’s storied temple city of Bagan.

Authorities sealed off access to some of the damaged brick buildings Thursday, and the country’s President Htin Kyaw traveled to the site to speak to media and local residents.

“We have to record and repair the damage to the pagodas, but it will have to be done systematically. It will take time, but we will do our best,” said Htin Kyaw.

The president said that restoration work on the structures would likely not begin until after the monsoon season ends in October.

Watch a Facebook video of the earthquake hitting Bagan below.

From about 1044 to 1287 AD, Myanmar was ruled by the Pagan empire. Its kings chose Bagan as their capital city and over the course of 250 years, built more than 10,000 Buddhist stupas, temples and monasteries on this flat, 32 square mile plain. Bagan was the cultural heart of the empire, and Buddhist monks came from as far as India, Sri Lanka and Cambodia to study in the city.

About 2,200 of Bagan’s Buddhist structures remain. The plain is now Myanmar’s top tourist destination.

Scroll through the photos below to see how Wednesday’s earthquake affected this ancient temple city.

AFP via Getty Images
The ancient Sulamuni temple is seen shrouded in dust as a 6.8 magnitude earthquake hit Bagan on August 24, 2016.
AFP via Getty Images
A powerful 6.8 magnitude earthquake struck central Myanmar on August 24.
YE AUNG THU via Getty Images
Myanmar president Htin Kyaw (C) and goverment officals inspect the damaged ancient pagoda of Sulamani.
YE AUNG THU via Getty Images
Myanmar president Htin Kyaw (C) and goverment officals inspect the damaged ancient pagoda of Sulamani.
YE AUNG THU via Getty Images
Collapsed walls are seen surrounding the ancient pagoda of Sulamani after a 6.8 magnitude earthquake hit Bagan, on August 25, 2016.
YE AUNG THU via Getty Images
Collapsed walls are seen at the ancient pagoda of Sulamani on August 25, 2016 after a 6.8 magnitude earthquake hit Bagan.
Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
A general view of Dhammayangyi temple after earthquake in ancient Bagan city.
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A general view of Dhammayangyi temple after earthquake in ancient Bagan city, Myanmar.
Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Myanmar military staff and a police officer collect the pieces of bricks of Dhammayangyi temple.
Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
A man collects the pieces of bricks of Dhammayangyi temple after earthquake in ancient Bagan city, Myanmar on August 25, 2016.
Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
A general view of Dhammayangyi temple after earthquake in ancient Bagan city.
YE AUNG THU via Getty Images
The damaged ancient Myauk Guni Temple is pictured here.
YE AUNG THU via Getty Images
Myanmar military staff take pictures of the damage at the ancient Htilominlo Temple on August 25, 2016.
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Myanmar military staff and a police officer collect the pieces of bricks at the damaged ancient Htilominlo Temple on August 25, 2016.
YE AUNG THU via Getty Images
Myanmar military staff sweep up debris at the damaged ancient Htilominlo Temple on August 25, 2016.
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A man points to the ceiling where pieces of a mural painting have broken off at the damaged, ancient Htilominlo Temple on August 25, 2016.
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A man collect the pieces of mural painting scattered on the floor at the damaged, ancient Htilominlo Temple on August 25, 2016.
YE AUNG THU via Getty Images
An officer checks the walls inside the damaged ancient Htilominlo Temple on August 25, 2016, after a 6.8 magnitude earthquake hit Bagan.
YE AUNG THU via Getty Images
Myanmar military staff collect the pieces of bricks at the damaged ancient Htilominlo Temple on August 25, 2016, after a 6.8 magnitude earthquake hit Bagan.
YE AUNG THU via Getty Images
Myanmar military staff collect the pieces of bricks at the damaged ancient Htilominlo Temple on August 25, 2016, after a 6.8 magnitude earthquake hit Bagan.
YE AUNG THU via Getty Images
A officer collects a roof part at the damaged, ancient Htilominlo Temple on August 25, 2016, after a 6.8 magnitude earthquake hit Bagan.
Soe Zeya Tun / Reuters
The entrance of a collapsed pagoda is seen after an earthquake in Bagan, Myanmar August 25, 2016.
Soe Zeya Tun / Reuters
Tourists look at a damaged pagoda after an earthquake in Bagan, Myanmar August 25, 2016.
Soe Zeya Tun / Reuters
The top of a collapsed pagoda is seen after an earthquake in Bagan, Myanmar August 25, 2016.
AFP via Getty Images
Collapsed walls surround an ancient pagoda after a 6.8 magnitude earthquake hit Bagan on August 24, 2016.
Soe Zeya Tun / Reuters
People walk past a damaged pagoda after an earthquake in Bagan, Myanmar August 25, 2016.

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