Old Fytche Square, now a popular park
The heart of old Yangon
Welcome to this quiet green oasis in the heart of Yangon. For years it was closed to the public, but not only did the city government reopen the gates, they also refurbished the park. Once again it is an incredibly popular place throughout the day: early morning old people come to practice tai chi, in the afternoons mothers with children come to play in the park and at dusk it is the territory of lovebirds going for a romantic evening stroll.
Prominently in the middle of the park is the tall white obelisk commemorating the country’s independence from 1948. Its seven corners representing the seven states of Myanmar, flanked by two circles of chinthe, mythical half-lion, half-dragon figures.
What’s in a name?
In the colonial period the open space was called Fytche Square after the 2nd governor of British Burma, Albert Fytche. Later it was renamed Victoria Park in honour of Queen Victoria and indeed where today the Independence Monument stands, used to be a statue of the most celebrated queen in British history. Then, after independence the park got the name Maha Bandoola after a prominent general in the First Anglo-Burmese War (1824–1826).