Mawlamyine provides a multicultural dimension despite a Buddhist Mon majority. Buddhist cultural dominance is as old as Mawlamyine, but the British annexation and American missionaries in the early 19th century introduced Christianity. Many of the relics of the British Raj remain along with Hindu temples, Chinese temples, mosques and even a slice of Americana, reflecting Mawlamyine's great diversity.
Mawlamyine is in the Salween River delta, where the mouth of the Salween is sheltered by Bilugyun Island as it enters the Gulf of Martaban and the Andaman Sea. It is flanked by low hills dotted with ancient pagodas to the east and west.
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