The city of Luang Prabang

1/ Luang Prabang is a city in northern Laos, the current capital of Luang Prabang Province. Luang Prabang was the royal capital formally Lan Xang (Kingdom of a Million Elephants) of the fourteenth century to 1946. Effective capital Vientiane was from 1563, and after the separation of the kingdom of Luang Prabang and the Kingdom of Vientiane 1707, the title of capital of Lan Xang was disputed between the two cities.

It is a river port on the Mekong River, 210 km upstream of Vientiane. Embedded in a mountainous environment, the climate is cooler and the difficulty of access has allowed him to keep his original and typical appearance. Sparsely populated, about 70,000 inhabitants, it is open to tourism since the 1990s and is listed as a World Heritage site by UNESCO since 1995

2/ History

Capital of the principality of Muong Xua before the fourteenth century, it was called Xieng Dong Xieng Thong. In 1353, King Fa Ngum, returning from exile in Khmer kingdom, began assembling the various principalities and founded the Kingdom of a Million Elephants (Lan Xang), with its capital in Xieng Dong Xieng Thong. In 1358 a delegation was monastic mission is to provide a valuable Buddha statue dating from the seventh century and Sri Lankan origin, called Phra Bang. When the capital was moved Lan Xang in Vientiane for security reasons, Xieng Dong Xieng Thong took the name of Luang Phra Bang in honor of the statue, considered a national palladium.

In 1773, the city was sacked by the Burmese in the Konbaung dynasty. The late nineteenth century was marked by great instability: Luang Prabang was ransacked by the Chinese Black Flags in 1887, then occupied by the troops of Siam.

In 1893, the Kingdom of Luang Prabang accepted the French protectorate for the whole country.

The French rebuilt Vientiane, equipping infrastructure, roads and universities, and widened the Kingdom of Luang Prabang by integrating the northern provinces and the former State of Vientiane. The city of Luang Prabang, where the French resident commissioner, is endowed since colonial architecture. It retains many of today traces of the French presence. The Royal Palace, built between 1904 and 1909 during the reign of King Sisavang Vong, was transformed into a national museum.

Classified in 1995 as a World Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO, Luang Prabang is one of the most beautiful cities in Asia, the most preserved also thanks to the presence of the Heritage House which ensures the preservation of the old city.

Luang Prabang is also a very high symbols of Buddhism in Asia; she has a great aura with a population still very fervent and very religious. With dozens of temples occupying nearly a third of its surface, Luang Prabang is still home to many religious events; monks dressed in saffron robes in the thousands, which greatly enhances its mystique.

3/ Monuments to visit LPB

* / The royal palace in Luang Prabang, home to the National Museum where you can see the Pha Bang Buddha (actually a copy, the original is kept in a safe).

* / National Museum (former Royal Palace)

* / Vat Mai, typical of the architecture of Luang Prabang

* / Vat Xieng Thong, dating from 1560, the most beautiful temple in Laos

* / Vat Visoun, the oldest of the city (1450), rebuilt in 1898.

4 / Transport

Luang Prabang, one of the top tourist destinations of the country is served by a small airport (in 2010, 70% of tourists arrive by air). The extension of this airport work began in February 2010 without service interruption. They are designed to be completed in 2013. Runway extended to 3,000m, can accommodate large aircraft (except the A380) and 4737 and 7 ATR will be parked at the same time. The estimated cost of the works is U.S. $ 86.4 million, financed through a loan from the Chinese government. 500 families to be displaced.

Bus service from Vientiane to Luang Prabang must also be improved by the construction of a new stretch of 68 km, with 10 bridges, at a cost of $ 60 million. Work began in 2008. When completed in 2013, the route will no longer that four hours against about eight today.

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