Notes on the Geography of Burma / Myanmar: Pagan: Photo 1
Marco Polo probably missed Pagan, though he came close during the Mongol invasion of 1287. The first Europeans indubitably to visit were those on a British mission of 1855. They must have had quite a shock.
The river, in the background, has just picked up the tributary Chindwin and is about to curve south. It's an important location, at the center of a triangle reaching east to China, west to India, and south to the ocean; the location partly explains the rise of Pagan from one of many city states to a place of imperial status.
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