It seems appropriate to start this list of proposals for the 50 best uninscribed sites with Bagan. Myanmar's government is currently demonstrating its incomptence in the face of the Typhoon disaster but has been doing so in many ways for the last 50+ years. Despite Myanmnar's many wonderful sites not a single one has been inscribed since its inital Tentative list of 8 was produced in Oct 1996. If the government is as wary of UNESCO, ICOMOS and IUCN officals as it is of UN aid workers this is hardly suprising! But I suspect that too much of its energies have been spent on corrupt activites and in moving the Capital from Rangoon to Naypyidaw.
The most significant of the sites which have languished all those years on the T List is the "religious city" of Bagan I understand that UNESCO has made genuine attempts to get the Myanmar government to "do the necessary" to gain inscription - but without success and the list is "poorer" without it as it stands above all the others as a site of genuine world importance. It spreads across some 50sq kms of the Irrawady plain and contains over 2500 Buddhist monuments. It was the capital of the Myanma emipire around 1000-1200 AD before being sacked in 1287 by (who else?) the Mongols! Since then it has existed as a location for Buddhist scholarship and worship - and remains a significant and active Buddhist site to this day
Among the temples are some masterpeices of World architecture - eg Ananda built in 1090 and the slightly later Thatbyinnyu. These are enormous structures which concede nothing in comparison with the many European cathedrals of that era which have achieved inscription. The latter is 61 mtrs (201ft) high. Construction was in brick and despite the ravages of time, earthquakes and robbers they still create a magnificent sight. Some are covered in gold leaf but all are still holy and, even if surrounded by dust and ruin, require that visitors remove their shoes!
I visited Pagan as it was then called before the Burmese (sorry Myanmar) government started on its renaming process, back in 1978. Things will have changed but I believe you can still make the 36 hour boat trip down the Irrawaddy from Mandalay sharing the deck with cheroot smoking nuns. The size of the site makes hiring some form of transport essential - I rented a wonderful horse drawn tonga for the day. The external architecture within the site can be stunning but the interiors are also worthwhile for their fine murals and atmospheric corridors and rooms. Generally there is a pleasant "rural" ambiance with fine vistas of Temples receding into the distance in all directions The place has however unfortunately seen its share of tragedy since my visit when the government forcibly removed all those living nearby and making a living from the limited tourism to far off unsatsifactory locations.
The site's credentials are on the UNESCO T List data basehttp://whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/819/
Note that it is to be nominated against all 6 cultural Criteria. I believe that this is commensurate with its significance even if some get removed by ICOMOS during its review phase! The list already contains a fair number of "Buddhist sites" but I would place Pagan up in the very first tier with Borobodur and Angkor Wat for the size and grandeur of its architecture and its religious significance - historic and current. Its absence from the list is a major "gap" made worse by the presence of many less worthwhile sites
Does anyone want to support or disagree?