If you’ve ever been to New York City, you know it’s a huge place! Roughly 680 miles of land, the city is a massive landmark in the entire world. Even those that haven’t been there are at least familiar with it.
Now, imagine a city six times the size of New York that almost no one has ever heard of before. That’s the story of the new capital city of Myanmar, also known as Burma, and you’ll want to keep reading to find out more about this hidden ghost town!
Naypyidaw is the city in question, and construction began in the city in 2002. In 2005 important government ministries began to move from Yangon to Naypyidaw.
General Than Shwe was a dictator in power over Myanmar from 1992 to 2011 and he commissioned the city to be built. The purpose of the city was to serve as a tribute city to Junta, the gloriously worshiped military that has ruled over the country since World War II. This purpose is fitting since the name Naypyidaw translates literally to mean “abode of the king.”
The city cost approximately 26 billion Euros to build, and it has hotels, apartment buildings, mansions, and shopping centers like most cities. It is missing some key structures that would commonly be found in a capital city.
Although having roughly 5 acres devoted to space for foreign embassies, only the Bangladeshi embassy has set up a location in the city.
The extensive amount of money needed to construct the city was borrowed from the Central Bank by General Shwe. Although the citizens were already some of the poorest of all the nations in the South East, this debt was imposed on them, making them even more impoverished.
Officially, the city is currently listed as having a population of roughly 900,000. This is quite the contrast of a city like New York which has a population of approximately 8.4 million, despite being much smaller in land size.
320 miles north of Naypyidaw is Yangon, the former capital city. Yangon is the center of the country’s history, economy, and culture. The government officially explained the move by stating that Yangon was too congested and overpopulated to be further expanded upon. Many news outlets claim that the move was actually a “vanity project” of General Shwe.
Another reason for the capital’s move might be a military strategy in nature, as Yangon was considered to be in a vulnerable position on the coast. This would make it more vulnerable to an invasion from the sea.
The city does have lavish hotels, similar to a Las Vegas strip. Unfortunately, those hotels often remain empty although well-lit as can be seen.
We can only imagine how spooky it would feel to walk through this town’s empty streets. We would definitely prefer to be walking the streets of New York. Maybe sometimes cities that are more crowded are actually better!