As we previously said...
Pha That Luang, even called the Great Stupa, is a gold-covered large Buddhist stupa situated in the city of Vientiane, Laos.
It is definitely the most important monument in Laos!
The two images on the left are religious statues situated in the Buddha Park, which contains over 200 Buddhist and Hindu statues. Typically it is extremely original the design of these statues, that can represent even humans, demons or animals, and even though these statues seem very old, they are not. The Buddha Park was indeed built in 1958!
The image on the right is instead the Patuxai, which literally means "Victory Gate". It was dedicated to those who fought for the indipendence from France and, about France... it resembles the Arc The Triomphe in Paris, with the given Laotian differences.
This is just a glimpse of buildings and statues you can find in Laos, but take into account that the surroundings, the landscape and the natural environment in general is no less beautiful!
Being the most most appealing attraction in Laos, Pha That Luang makes that place the most touristic zone in whole Laos, thing that you might like or not but, either way, it is a must place to visit for its unique features which can't be found anywhere else.
It is indeed a huge (69 meters each side and 45 meters high) gold-covered stupa with a classical and typical architecture of that period. It looks like a royal fortress and it has two floors in which other stupas are present.
It's not just about the visual aspect but also the history and the meaning behind it that makes Pha That Luang something so special to be taken from UNESCO as a candidate for World Heritage List.
Everything started in the 3rd century B.C. when Buddhist missionaries from the Mauryan Empire, probably sent by the Emperor Ashoka, including Bury Chan or Praya Chanthabury Pasithisak and five Arahata monks, brought a holy relic (believed to be the breastbone) of Lord Buddha to the stupa, which was rebuilt later in the 13th century.
Pha That Luang was actually built in the mid-16th century, when King Setthathirat decided to relocate his capital from Luang Prabang to Vientiane ordering its construction in 1566 to beautify the capital. It was rebuilt about 4 km from the centre of Vientiane at the end of Pha That Luang Road and so named Pha That Luang.
Another interesting fact that generally catches tourists' attention are the so called nāga statues, very powerful semi-divine beings who can assume human and serpent form, that protect the staircase and so the humans, besides being very dangerous.
Another cool fact is that Pha That Luang, besides looking as a royal fortress represents the sacred mountain Meru, believed to be the center of the universe.
It was previously said that King Setthathirrat I ordered Pha That Luang's construction to beautify the capital, but that wasn't the only construction he ordered. There are many other buildings, sites, maybe less known, that deserve much attention.
Laos is a country full of interesting places and it's not a coincidence that Laos's most growing industry is indeed tourism.
It's hard to describe how good tourists' feedback is about this place. I think Laos's force comes from being great at more levels.
Monuments are original as much as their culture, which is reflected also by the curious architecture of common buildings like houses. At the same time the natural component is very fascinating. So fascinating that it's a common thing for visitors to come for monuments and going away missing the nature they found here and the people so short and nice that made them feel being in the Hobbit's homeland!
In conclusion, if you are planning to make a trip, seriously consider going to Laos!