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  7. From a protectorate till today

The era of French Protectorate

During this period, the French reconstructed Vientiane, supplying facilities, roads and universities. They also enlarged the realm of Louang Prabang by integrating the Provinces of the North and the ancient state of Vientiane. The city of Luang Prabang, where the French Police Headquarters was installed, had an architecture, at that time, which still has many charming traces of French presence. The Royal Palace, which was built between 1904 and 1909 under the reign of King Sisavang Vong, was transformed to a National Museum, after the events of 1975.

It was from this association between the usual Lao style (traditional wooden houses, both in composition and layout) and the colonial style (rich houses constructed solidly and covered with lime to make them white) that the town shows today, its greatest charm. The city keeps it unspoiled, even today, thanks to the efforts of The World Heritage House who insisted on respecting the rules dictated by UNESCO, who catalogued the city as part of the World Heritage Program in 1995.


Luang Prabang is without a doubt, one of the highest symbols of Buddhism in Asia, and has its own karma with a population that is still very ardent and devout. With its dozens of golden temples which occupy nearly a third of the total area of the town, Luang Prabang continues to be the head of many Laotian religious manifestations that still exist today. There are hundreds of bonzes (out of about 20 000 inhabitants), which definitely increases its mystical character.

Architecture is still beautiful, and even though there are many new buildings in the centre of town, they still observe a certain construction code, as decreed by the House of Heritage, so that beauty and harmony continue to radiate from this town, which very few towns in S.E. Asia can better.

If Luang Prabang is no longer the capital of Laos, its inhabitants continue to be proud of their town, as much by its history as by the radiance that still shines from it, its continuously renewed role in the life of Laos and its special culture and particularly important spirituality.

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