I first went to Rangoon in 1981. It was called Rangoon then before the military government changed the name to Yangon in 1989. They also changed the name of the country to Myanmar, but most people preferred to use the old, poetic, evocative names, partly to make a political statement.
I was immediately struck by the time warp that the city was languishing in. Old-fashioned limousines cruised around the city. Old British fire engines languidly poked out from the old British Fire Station. It was as if time had stopped still at the very moment that the British had sailed away in 1948.
Since then I have become even more enchanted, but even more concerned by the endangered condition of the colonial buildings. Hence I determined to photograph thirty-five of my favourites and place them in their historical context, because each one of them has a fascinating story to tell and is best understood and appreciated as a milestone in the history of Rangoon.
What they said about Strolling down the Streets of Old Rangoon, The History and the Buildings
“Take a leisurely stroll through Old Rangoon and be mesmerized by the fin-de-siècle architecture—a unique time capsule of a bygone age.”
San Tin Lun, Yangon writer and author of ten books, including The Legendary Heroes of Myanmar, Ancient Myanmar Heroes, and Reading A George Orwell Novel in A Myanmar Teashop and Other Essays
“Follow in the footsteps of Somerset Maugham and Noël Coward: high tea at the Strand Hotel—five-star history at its best.”
Ni Wayan Murni, owner of Murni’s Warung, Murni’s Warung Shop, Murni’s Houses and Tamarind Spa, Ubud, Bali
“The highest number of colonial buildings in one square mile—a fascinating glimpse of a distant corner of the British Empire.”
Audrey Pipe, Anglo-Burmese, resident of the United Kingdom