Surrounding the walls, at a distance of about 18 m (60 ft) from them, is a moat 64 m (210 ft) wide, and of an average depth of 4.5 m (15 ft). In the case of foes armed with ancient weapons, this moat would no doubt have presented a rather formidable obstacle to the besieging army, whose crafts would have been completely exposed to the missiles of the warriors protected by the merlons on the ramparts and on the barbicans.
The moat was originally spanned over by five wooden bridges, four of which lead to the four principal or middle gates, that is one to each face of the walls. The fifth leads up to the south-western gate, used during the times of monarchy for amingala or inauspicious occasions such as to carry off dead bodies.
The palace itself is at the centre of the citadel and faces east. All buildings of the palace are of one storey in height. The number of spires above a building indicated the importance of the area below.
Mandalay Palace was the primary royal residence of King Mindon and King Thibaw, the last two kings of the country. 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.
Today, Mandalay Palace is a primary symbol of Mandalay and a major tourist destination.