The 6.8 magnitude that struck the western coastal region of Myanmar has damaged the famed Bagan temples, the country’s most famous tourist site.
A prominent tourist attraction of the country, the Bagan temples is the collective name given to around 2,200 pagodas and temples of various shapes and sizes constructed in Bagan in Mandalay region of the country between 11th and 13th centuries.
Local officials said that the quake has done heavy damage to several temples in Bagan – a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
“About 60 pagodas in Bagan were damaged. Some were seriously damaged,” said Aung Kyaw, the director of Bagan’s culture department.
The earthquake which struck 30 kilometres southwest of Bagan also killed one person.
US Geological Survey said that the epicenter of the quake lay at a depth of 84 kilometres. Tremors were also felt in Thailand, India and Bangladesh.
The quake struck when tourists were about to capture the sunset from one of Bagan’s most famous temples. One tourist was injured as she fell from a height.
Being an old city, the buildings and the temples are especially vulnerable to quakes, warned USGS.
In Chauk, too, where the quake originated, at least eight pagodas were destroyed and two buildings collapsed.
The last major earthquake that struck Myanmar was in 2012. The 6.8 magnitude quake had then killed 26 people and injured hundreds because the epicenter lay at the centre of the country.