An Overview of Yangon

Yangon, also known as Rangoon, is a former capital of Myanmar and the capital of the Yangon Region. Yangon is located in Lower Burma (Myanmar) at the convergence of the Yangon and Bago Rivers. Although the military government has officially relocated the capital to Naypyidaw since March 2006, Yangon, with a population of over four million, continues to be the country’s largest city and the most important commercial center.

Yangon is the country’s hub for the movie, music, advertising, newspaper, and book publishing industries. However, all media is heavily regulated by the military government. Television broadcasting is off limits to the private sector. All media content must first be approved by the government’s media censor board. Access to foreign media is extremely difficult. Satellite television in Yangon (and in Burma) is highly expensive as the government imposes an annual registration fee of one million kyats (about $150,000). International text messaging and voice messaging was permitted only in August 2008.

Booming with influences from the British, Chinese, Burmese and Indians, the city is widely known for colonial architecture, with the decaying but unique British colonial capital from the 19th century. Despite the city’s openness to private investors, the city is still very much traditional with longyi-wearers and street vendors. The city prides on various religious sites featuring majestic architecture, amazing culture and tradition. Yangon’s infrastructure, however, is undeveloped compared to those of other major cities in Southeast Asia. While many high-rise residential and commercial buildings have been constructed or renovated throughout downtown and Greater Yangon in the past two decades, most satellite towns that ring the city continue to be deeply impoverished (source).

Religion in Burma

There is no official state religion, but the government shows preference for Theravada Buddhism, the majority religion. According to both the statistics published by the Burmese government and the CIA, it is practiced by 89% of the population. The Muslim and Christian populations are said to face religious persecution in Myanmar (source).

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