The Mandalay Palace is the last royal palace of the last Burmese monarchy. The palace was constructed between 1857 and 1859 and largely follows the traditional Burmese palace design. It was the royal residence of the last two kings of the country. It ceased to be a royal residence and seat of government in 1885 when, during the Third Anglo-Burmese War, troops of the Burma Field Force entered the palace and captured the royal family. The British turned the palace compound into Fort Dufferin. Throughout the British colonial era, the palace was seen by the Burmese as the primary symbol of sovereignty and identity. Much of the palace compound was destroyed during World War II by allied bombing; only the royal mint and the watch tower survived. A replica of the palace was rebuilt in the 1990s with some modern materials.
On each face of the walls surrounding the palace are three gateways placed at equal distances (508 m; 1666.5 ft) one from the other and from the corners. Each of the twelve gates is represented by its own zodiac sign.