This article needs to be updated.October 2013)(
Clockwise from top: Temple at That Luang, Haw Phra Kaew, That Dam, That Luang Stupa, Mekong Riverside, Patuxai, Wat Si Saket
|Admin. division||Vientiane Prefecture|
|• Total||130 km2 (50 sq mi)|
|Elevation||174 m (570 ft)|
|Time zone||UTC+7 (ICT)|
Vientiane ( // vi-EN-ti-AHN, French: [vjɛ̃tjan] ; Lao : ວຽງຈັນ , Thai : เวียงจันทน์, romanized: Wīang chan, pronounced [wíəŋ tɕàn] ) is the capital and largest city of Laos, on the banks of the Mekong River near the border with Thailand. Vientiane became the capital in 1573 due to fears of a Burmese invasion but was later looted then razed to the ground in 1827 by the Siamese (Thai). Vientiane was the administrative capital during French rule and, due to economic growth in recent times, is now the economic center of Laos. The city had a population of 820,000 as at the 2015 Census.
Vientiane is noted as the home of the most significant national monument in Laos: That Luang, which is a known symbol of Laos and an icon of Buddhism in Laos. Other significant Buddhist temples in Laos can be found there as well, such as Haw Phra Kaew, which formerly housed the Emerald Buddha.
The city hosted the 25th Southeast Asian Games in December 2009, celebrating 50 years of the Southeast Asian Games.
This section needs additional citations for verification . (June 2019) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
The name of the city is derived from Pali, the liturgical language of Theravada Buddhism. Although the original meaning of the name of the city is "city of sandalwood", as shown by ancient Lao inscriptions (written pictogrammatically, unlike modern Lao, which is written phonetically), in modern Lao the meaning of the name Vientiane is ambiguous.
Many, if not most, Lao people claim that the city's name means "city of the moon",[ citation needed ] while many also claim correctly that the city's name means "city of sandalwood" because the words for "moon" (ຈັນທຣ໌, from Sanskrit चन्द्रcandra) and "sandalwood" (ຈັນທນ໌, from Sanskrit चन्दनcandana) are written and pronounced identically as ຈັນchan in modern Lao. Most academic and historic Lao sources do in fact support this claim, reinforced by the city's Thai (เวียงจันทน์) and Khmer (វៀងចន្ទន៍) names both retaining the etymological spelling, which indicates "city of sandalwood".
The Romanised spelling Vientiane is of French origin, and reflects the difficulty the French had in pronouncing the /tɕ/ sound in the Lao language.[ original research? ] A common English-based spelling is 'Viangchan', or occasionally 'Wiangchan'.
The great Laotian epic, the Phra Lak Phra Lam, claims that Prince Thattaradtha founded the city when he left the legendary Lao kingdom of Muong Inthapatha Maha Nakhone because he was denied the throne in favor of his younger brother. Thattaradtha founded a city called Maha Thani Si Phan Phao on the western banks of the Mekong River; this city was said to have later become today's Udon Thani, Thailand. One day, a seven-headed Naga told Thattaradtha to start a new city on the east bank of the river opposite Maha Thani Si Phan Phao. The prince called this city Chanthabuly Si Sattanakhanahud; which was said to be the predecessor of modern Vientiane.[ citation needed ]
Contrary to the Phra Lak Phra Lam, most historians believe Vientiane was an early Khmer settlement centered around a Hindu temple, which the Pha That Luang would later replace. In the 11th and 12th centuries, the time when the Lao and Thai people are believed to have entered Southeast Asia from Southern China, the few remaining Khmers in the area were either killed, removed, or assimilated into the Lao civilization, which would soon overtake the area.[ citation needed ]
In 1354, when Fa Ngum founded the kingdom of Lan Xang. 223 Vientiane became an important administrative city, even though it was not made the capital. King Setthathirath officially established it as the capital of Lan Xang in 1563, to avoid Burmese invasion. When Lan Xang fell apart in 1707, it became an independent Kingdom of Vientiane. In 1779, it was conquered by the Siamese general Phraya Chakri and made a vassal of Siam.:
When King Anouvong raised an unsuccessful rebellion, it was obliterated by Siamese armies in 1827. The city was burned to the ground and was looted of nearly all Laotian artifacts, including Buddha statues and people. Vientiane was in great disrepair, depopulated and disappearing into the forest, when the French arrived. It eventually passed to French rule in 1893. It became the capital of the French protectorate of Laos in 1899. The French rebuilt the city and rebuilt or repaired Buddhist temples such as Pha That Luang, Haw Phra Kaew, and left many colonial buildings behind. During French rule, the Vietnamese were encouraged to migrate to Laos, which resulted in 53% of the population of Vientiane being Vietnamese in the year of 1943.As late as 1945, the French drew up an ambitious plan to move massive Vietnamese population to three key areas, i.e. the Vientiane Plain, Savannakhet region, Bolaven Plateau, which was only discarded by Japanese invasion of Indochina. If this plan had been implemented, according to Martin Stuart-Fox, the Lao might well have lost control over their own country.
During World War II, Vientiane fell with little resistance and was occupied by Japanese forces, under the command of Sako Masanori.On 9 March 1945 French paratroopers arrived, and reoccupied the city on 24 April 1945.
As the Laotian Civil War broke out between the Royal Lao Government and the Pathet Lao, Vientiane became unstable. In August 1960, Kong Le seized the capital and insisted that Souvanna Phouma become prime minister. In mid-December, Phoumi Nosavan then seized the capital, overthrew the Phouma Government, and installed Boun Oum as prime minister. In mid-1975, Pathet Lao troops moved towards the city and Americans began evacuating the capital. On 23 August 1975, a contingent of 50 Pathet Lao women symbolically liberated the city.On 2 December 1975, the communist party of the Pathet Lao took over Vientiane, defeated the Kingdom of Laos, and renamed the country the Lao People's Democratic Republic, which ended the Laotian Civil War. The next day, an Insurgency in Laos began in the jungle, with the Pathet Lao fighting factions of Hmong and royalists.
Vientiane was the host of the incident-free 2009 Southeast Asian Games. Eighteen competitions were dropped from the previous games held in Thailand, due to Laos' landlocked borders and the lack of adequate facilities in Vientiane.
Vientiane is on a bend of the Mekong River, at which point it forms the border with Thailand.
Vientiane features a tropical savanna climate (Köppen Aw) with a distinct wet season and a dry season. Vientiane's dry season spans from November through March. April marks the onset of the wet season which in Vientiane lasts about seven months. Vientiane tends to be hot and humid throughout the course of the year, though temperatures in the city tend to be somewhat cooler during the dry season than the wet season.
|Climate data for Vientiane|
|Record high °C (°F)||35.6|
|Average high °C (°F)||28.4|
|Average low °C (°F)||16.4|
|Record low °C (°F)||0.0|
|Average rainfall mm (inches)||7.5|
|Average rainy days||1||2||4||8||15||18||20||21||17||9||2||1||118|
|Average relative humidity (%)||70||68||66||69||78||82||82||84||83||78||72||70||75|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||254.4||214.3||216.8||226.3||207.1||152.9||148.6||137.1||137.7||247.7||234.3||257.5||2,434.7|
|Source #1: World Meteorological Organization, Deutscher Wetterdienst (extremes 1907–1990)|
|Source #2: NOAA (sun and humidity)|
Although still a small city, the capital attracts many tourists. The city contains many temples and Buddhist monuments. A popular attraction for foreign visitors is Pha That Luang, an important national cultural monument of Laos and one of its best known stupas. It was originally built in 1566 by King Setthathirath, and was restored in 1953. The golden stupa is 45 metres tall and is believed to contain a relic of the Lord Buddha.
Another site that is also popular amongst tourists is Wat Si Muang. The temple was built on the ruins of a Khmer Hindu shrine, the remains of which can be seen behind the ordination hall.It was built in 1563 and is believed to be guarded by the spirit of a local girl, Nang Si. Legend tells that Nang Si, who was pregnant at the time, leapt to her death as a sacrifice, just as the pillar was being lowered into the hole. In front of the temple stands a statue of King Sisavang Vong.
The memorial monument, Patuxai, built between 1957 and 1968, is perhaps the most prominent landmark in the city.While the Arc de Triomphe in Paris inspired the architecture, the design incorporates typical Lao motifs including Kinnari, a mythical bird woman. Energetic visitors can climb to the top of the monument for a panoramic view of the city.
Buddha Park was built in 1958 by Luang Pu Bunleua Sulilat and contains a collection of Buddhist and Hindu sculptures, scattered amongst gardens and trees. The park is 28 kilometres south of Vientiane at the edge of the Mekong River.
Vientiane is home to one of the three bowling alleys in Laos (the other two are in Luang Prabang and Pakse).
Other sites include:
The National University of Laos, one of three universities in the country, is in Vientiane.
Vientiane is the driving force behind economic change in Laos. In recent years, the city has experienced rapid economic growth from foreign investment.In 2011, the stock exchange opened with two listed company stocks, with the cooperation of South Korea.
There are regular bus services connecting Vientiane Bus Station with the rest of the country. In Vientiane, regular bus services around the city are provided by Vientiane Capital State Bus Enterprise.
The First Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge, built in the 1990s, crosses the river 18 kilometres downstream of the city of Nong Khai in Thailand, and is the major crossing between the two countries. The official name of the bridge was changed in 2007 by the addition of "First", after the Second Friendship Bridge linking Mukdahan in Thailand with Savannakhet in Laos was opened early in 2007.
A metre gauge railway link over the bridge was formally inaugurated on 5 March 2009, ending at Thanaleng Railway Station, in Dongphosy village (Vientiane Prefecture), 20 km east of Vientiane. As of November 2010, Lao officials plan to convert the station into a rail cargo terminal for freight trains, allowing cargo to be transported from Bangkok into Laos at a lower cost than would be possible with road transport.
Daily non-stop bus services run between Vientiane and Nong Khai, Udon Thani, and Khon Kaen.
In October 2010, plans were announced for a 530 km high-speed railway linking Vientiane to Xishuangbanna, in Yunnan Province in China. which was later modified to a high speed train from the border town of Boten to Vientiane, with total distance of 421.243 km, to be served by 21 stations, including 5 major stations, passing through 165 bridges (total length of 92.6 km) and 69 tunnels (total length of 186.9 km) Construction on this line, as part of the longer Kunming to Singapore Railway, began on 25 April 2011.
Vientiane is served by Wattay International Airport with international connections to other Asian countries. Lao Airlines has regular flights to several domestic destinations in the country (including several flights daily to Luang Prabang, plus a few flights weekly to other local destinations). km distant.In Thailand, Udon Thani International Airport, one of Wattay's main connections, is less than 90
The "Centre Medical de l'Ambassade de France" is available to the foreign community in Laos. The Mahosot Hospital is an important local hospital in treating and researching diseases and is connected with the University of Oxford. In 2011 the Alliance Clinic opened near the airport, with a connection to Thai hospitals. The Setthathirat International Clinic has foreign doctors. A free, 24/7 ambulance service is provided by Vientiane Rescue, a volunteer-run rescue service established in 2010.
Vientiane is twinned with:
Wat Phra Kaew, commonly known in English as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha and officially as Wat Phra Si Rattana Satsadaram, is regarded as the most sacred Buddhist temple (wat) in Thailand. The Emerald Buddha housed in the temple is a potent religio-political symbol and the palladium of Thailand. The temple is in Phra Nakhon District, the historic centre of Bangkok, within the precincts of the Grand Palace.
The Lao Kingdom of Lan Xang Hom Khao existed as a unified kingdom from 1353 to 1707.
Louangphabang, or Luang Phabang, commonly transliterated into Western languages from the pre-1975 Lao spelling ຫຼວງພຣະບາງ as Luang Prabang, literally meaning "Royal Buddha Image", is a city in north central Laos, consisting of 58 adjacent villages, of which 33 comprise the UNESCO Town Of Luang Prabang World Heritage Site. It was listed in 1995 for unique and "remarkably" well preserved architectural, religious and cultural heritage, a blend of the rural and urban developments over several centuries, including the French colonial influences during the 19th and 20th centuries.
Setthathirath or Xaysettha is considered one of the great leaders in Lao history. Throughout the 1560s until his death, he successfully defended his kingdom of Lan Xang against military campaigns of Burmese conqueror Bayinnaung, who had already subdued Xieng Mai in 1558 and Ayutthaya in 1564. Setthathirath was a prolific builder and erected many Buddhist monuments including Wat Xieng Thong in Louang Phrabang and the That Luang in Viangchan.
The Emerald Buddha is an image of the meditating Gautama Buddha seated in the lotus position, made of a semi-precious green stone, clothed in gold. and about 66 centimetres (26 in) tall. The image is considered the sacred palladium of Thailand. It is housed in the Temple of the Emerald Buddha on the grounds of the Grand Palace in Bangkok.
Laos developed its culture and customs as the inland crossroads of trade and migration in Southeast Asia over millennia. As of 2012 Laos has a population of roughly 6.4 million spread over 236,800 km2, yielding one of the lowest population densities in Asia. Yet the country of Laos has an official count of over forty-seven ethnicities divided into 149 sub-groups and 80 different languages. The Lao Loum have throughout the country's history comprised the ethnic and linguistic majority. In Southeast Asia, traditional Lao culture is considered one of the Indic cultures.
Phra Lak Phra Ram is the national epic of the Lao people, and is adapted from Valmiki's Hindu epic, the Ramayana. Ramayana reached Laos much later than Cambodia and Thailand (Siam) which caused the loss of its original Hindu influence and affected local adaptation. Similar to some Malay versions of the Hikayat Seri Rama, the epic has lost the association with Hinduism and is instead considered a Jataka Story, a previous lifetime of the Buddha. It is also very popular in some parts of Northeastern Thailand, or Isan, a region of Thailand populated by many Lao-speaking people and formerly part of Lanxang.
Wat Phra Kaew is a third-common-class royal temple situated in the area of 10,640 square metres on Trairat road, Wiang sub-district, Muang Chiang Rai in Chiang Rai City, Thailand. The King of Thailand upgraded the temple to the royal temple on May 31, 1978. The temple gains historical importance as the place where the Emerald Buddha was found. It is also one of the main centres of Buddhist education and the Sangha's administration in northern Thailand.
Wat Si Saket is a Buddhist wat in Vientiane, Laos. It is situated on Lan Xang Road, on the corner with Setthathirat Road, to the northwest of Haw Phra Kaew, which formerly held the Emerald Buddha.
Buddhism is the primary religion of Laos. The Buddhism practiced in Laos is of the Theravada tradition. Lao Buddhism is a unique version of Theravada Buddhism and is at the basis of ethnic Lao culture. Buddhism in Laos is often closely tied to animist beliefs and belief in ancestral spirits, particularly in rural areas.
Haw Phra Kaew, also written as Ho Prakeo, Hor Pha Keo and other similar spellings, is a former temple in Vientiane, Laos. It is situated on Setthathirath Road, to the southeast of Wat Si Saket. It was first built in 1565 to house the Emerald Buddha, but has been rebuilt several times. The interior now houses a museum of religious art and a small shop.
Buddha Park, also known as Xieng Khuan, is a sculpture park located 25 km southeast from Vientiane, Laos in a meadow by the Mekong River. Although it is not a temple (Wat), the park may be referred to as Wat Xieng Khuan, since it contains numerous religious images. The name Xieng Khuan means Spirit City. The park contains over 200 Hindu and Buddhist statues. The socialist government operates Buddha Park as a tourist attraction and public park.
The Lao rebellion, also known as Anouvong's Rebellion or Lao–Siamese War, was an attempt by King Anouvong of the Kingdom of Vientiane to end the suzerainty of Siam and recreate the former kingdom of Lan Xang. In January 1827 the Lao armies of the kingdoms of Vientiane and Champasak moved south and west across the Khorat Plateau, advancing as far as Saraburi, just three days march from the Siamese capitol of Bangkok. The Siamese quickly mounted a counterattack, forcing the Lao forces to retreat. The Siamese continued north to defeat Anouvong's army. His rebellion had failed, which led to his capture, the destruction of his city of Vientiane in retaliation, a massive resettlement of Lao people to the west bank of the Mekong River, and direct Siamese administration of the former territories of the Kingdom of Vientiane. The rebellion was a watershed moment in the history of Southeast Asia, as it further weakened the small Lao kingdoms, perpetuated conflict between Siam and Vietnam and ultimately facilitated French involvement in Indochina in the latter half of the nineteenth century. The legacy of the Lao rebellion is controversial. It is viewed in Thailand as a ruthless and daring rebellion that had to be suppressed, and has given rise to the folk heroes such as Thao Suranari and Chao Phaya Lae. In Laos, King Anouvong is now revered as a national hero who died in pursuit of complete independence, even though he both lost his life in an ill-advised revolt against heavy odds and virtually guaranteed that the Lao-speaking provinces across the Mekong River would remain as part of Siam.
Laos has an area of 85,000 square miles (220,000 km2) and contains a population of approximately 6.6 million. Almost all ethnic or "lowland" Lao are followers of Theravada Buddhism; however, they constitute only 40-50% of the population. The remainder of the population belongs to at least 48 distinct ethnic minority groups. Most of these ethnic groups (30%) are practitioners of Laotian folk religion, with beliefs that vary greatly among groups.
A wat is a type of Buddhist temple and Hindu temple in Cambodia, Laos, East Shan State, Yunnan and Thailand. The word wat is a thai word that was borrowed from Sanskrit vāṭa, meaning 'enclosure'. The term has varying meanings in each region, sometimes referring to a specific type of government-recognised or large temple, other times referring to any Buddhist or Hindu temple.
Vientiane Province is a province of Laos, located in the northwest of the country. As of 2015 the province had a total population of 419,090 people. Vientiane Province is a large province, covering an area of 15,927 square kilometres (6,149 sq mi) with 10 districts in mid north-western Laos. The province borders Luang Prabang Province to the north, Xiangkhouang Province to the northeast, Bolikhamxai Province to the east, Vientiane Prefecture and Thailand to the south, and Xaignabouli Province to the west. The principal towns are Vang Vieng and Muang Phôn-Hông. Several kilometres to the south of Vang Vieng is one of Laos's largest lakes, Nam Ngum. Much of this area, particularly the forests of the southern part, are under the Phou Khao Khouay National Bio-Diversity Conservation Area. The principal rivers flowing through the province are the Nam Song River, Nam Ngum River and the Nam Lik River.
Vientiane or Viengchan is a prefecture of Laos, located in the north-west of the country. The national capital, Vientiane, is located in the prefecture. The prefecture was created in 1989, when it was split off from Vientiane Province.
Luang Prabang is a province of Laos, located in the north of the country. Its capital of the same name, Luang Prabang, was the capital of Lane Xang Kingdom during the 13th to 16th centuries. It is listed since 1995 by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site for unique architectural, religious and cultural heritage, a blend of the rural and urban developments over several centuries, including the French colonial influences during the 19th and 20th centuries. The province has 12 districts, Luang Prabang, Xieng Ngeun, Nan, Pak Ou, Nambak, Ngoi, Pakseng, Phonxay, Chomphet, Viengkham and Phoukhouny. The Royal Palace, the national museum in the capital city, and the Phou Loei Protected Reserve are important sites. Notable temples in the province are the Wat Xieng Thong, Wat Wisunarat, Wat Sen, Wat Xieng Muan, and Wat Manorom. The Lao New Year is celebrated in April as The Bun Pi Mai.
The people of Laos have a rich literary tradition dating back at least six hundred years, with the oral and storytelling traditions of its peoples dating back much earlier. Lao literature refers to the written productions of Laotian peoples, its émigrés, and to Lao-language works. In Laos today there are over forty-seven recognized ethnic groups, with the Lao Loum comprising the majority group. Lao is officially recognized as the national language, but owing to the ethnic diversity of the country the literature of Laos can generally be grouped according to four ethnolinguistic families: Lao-Tai (Tai-Kadai); Mon-Khmer (Austroasiatic); Hmong-Mien (Miao-Yao), and Sino-Tibetan. As an inland crossroads of Southeast Asia the political history of Laos has been complicated by frequent warfare and colonial conquests by European and regional rivals. As a result, Laos today has cultural influence from France, Thailand, China, Vietnam, Burma, and Cambodia.
Viangchan in British. (ˌwiːɛŋˌtæn). noun: another spelling of Vientiane