Wat Xiengthong (Luang Prabang)
The That Luang Stupa is a Buddhist symbol. It is one of the greatest arts of the country. The Stupa is 45 m high and 49 m wide at its base. It is surrounded by 30 little stupas. The That Luang Stupa was constructed in 1566 over a little stupa previously existing in the place by the skilled technicians of the ancient Lane Xang Kingdom during the rule of the King Saya Sethathirath. It is believed that the little stupa previously existing is the symbol of the founding of Vientiane, “ the city of Sandal wood”, one of the Lao principalities existing before the unified Lane Xang Kingdom.

3. A unified kingdom of “Lane Xang”  1353-1705

Fa Ngum (1316-1357) was the first King, who fought and succeeded in unifying the Lao small independent states into a single Kingdom called “Lane Xang” the land of a million elephants.

The successors of the king Fa Ngum consolidated the territory and built many temples, monasteries and developed Lane Xang into an important trading and cultural center. In 1560, King Saya Setthathirat moved the capital to Vientiane and constructed Ho Phakeo temple and That Luang stupa. During the 16th century, the country was torn by warring factions until in 1638, King Souriyavongsa took control. His 57 years reign was considered the nation`s golden age when its influence expanded as far as Yunnan (Southern China), the Shan states, Northeastern Thailand and some areas of Vietnam and Cambodia.

After his death there was a dynastic struggle that led to the break- up of the Lane Xang kingdom into three independent states: Luang Prabang, Vientiane, and Champassak

Embassy of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic in Canberra, 12 Jindalee Crescent, O’Malley, ACT 2606.

Tel: +61 2 6286 4595;and +61 2 62866933; Fax: +61 2 6290 1910; Email: laoemb@bigpond.net.au; Website: www.laosembassy.net