From the 14th century, during the Hanthawaddy Kingdom, Dagon became an important pilgrimage town, growing around the temple which housed sacred Buddha relics: Shwe Dagon.
Renamed Yangon in the 18th century, the town boomed in the 19th century, having been captured by invading British forces, who turned “Rangoon” into one of the grandest cities in Asia.
As well as trading houses, wide streets and world class hotels, the invaders brought immigrants from India, fueling ethnic tensions which began to tear at the country’s soul in the 20th century.
No longer the capital, the city teems with potential and failure, energy and decay, friendliness and paranoia.
Nobody knows how Yangon will emerge from its present uprising, but despite it difficulties and drawbacks, it will be a fascinating and welcoming city. Hopefully.