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The Town Luang Prabang, by the banks of the Mekong, some 500 kilometres upriver from Vientiane and 300 metres above sea level, is Laos' oldest town still in existence. For the most part of her history the town was the seat of kings. In 1563 King Setthathirat moved his government to Vientiane; but by then, Luang Prabang had already been capital for some 800 years. True, the kingdoms ruled from Luang Prabang had not been large for the first 600 years of her history. Only Prince Fa Ngoum made Luang Prabang the capital of a kingdom of significant size. The small town (about......
The City--In 1563, King Setthathirat made Vientiane (in Lao language Vieng Chan) the capital of the kingdom of Lane Xang. The two most important Wats of Vientiane, Wat That Luang and Wat Phra Kaeo date back to that time. In 1827 Vientiane had been conquered and sacked by a Siamese army. For decades the town lay in ruins, until the French, at the beginning of their colonial reign rebuilt it. However, Vientiane today does not feature French-influenced architecture to the same extent as Phnom Penh and Saigon. Instead there is a strong Thai influence. With barely half a Million inhab......
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