Mandalay is Burma's cultural and religious center of Buddhism, having numerous monasteries and more than 700 pagodas. At the foot of Mandalay Hill sits the world's official "Buddhist Bible", also known as the world’s largest book, in Kuthodaw Pagoda.
There are 729 slabs of stone that together are inscribed with the entire Buddhist canon, each housed in its own white stupa.
The buildings inside the old Mandalay city walls, surrounded by a moat,which is repaired in recent times using prison labour, comprise the Mandalay Palace, mostly destroyed during World War II. İt is now replaced by a replica, Mandalay Prison and a military garrison, the headquarters of the Central Military Command.
Mandalay is ethnically diverse, with the Bamar (Burmans) forming a slight majority. In recent years, there has been a major influx of Chinese from Mainland China, and the Chinese (both recent migrants and colonial-era immigrants) form 30 to 40% of the population. Their influence is seen in the China-style glass buildings throughout the city, while the Yunnan dialect of Mandarin is often spoken among the ethnic Chinese community. Other prevalent ethnic groups include the Shan, who are ethnically and linguistically related to the Thais and Laotians, and the Karen (Kayin). There is a sizable ethnic Indian population, including Nepalis and Sikhs.