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Luang Prabang is a city located in north central Laos, on the Mekong River about 425 km north of Vientiane, the present capital Laos. Name of the city means literally: Royal Buddha Image (in the Dispelling Fear mudra). Luang Prabang used to be the royal capital and seat of government of the Kingdom of Laos before 1975. This culturally rich city has been declared a Unesco World Heritage Site in 1995.
Wat Xieng Thong is one of the most important of Lao monasteries, definitely the most significant temple in Luang Prabang, a monument to the spirit of religion, royalty and traditional style of a fascinating city. It consists of more than twenty structures on the grounds including shrines, pavilions and residences, in addition to its gardens of various flowers, ornamental shrubs and trees.
Henri Mouhot (May 15, 1826 — November 10, 1861) was a French naturalist and explorer, best known as the person who 'discovered' Angkor Wat. In fact Angkor was never lost — the location and existence of the entire series of sites was always known to the Khmers and had been visited by several westerners since the 16th century. However, it was Mouhot to popularise Angkor in the West. Perhaps none of the previous European visitors wrote as evocatively as Mouhot, who included interesting and detailed sketches.
Wat Phu (or Vat Phou) is an ancient Khmer temple-complex in southern Laos, declared as a Unesco World Heritage site since 2001. It is located 6 km from the Mekong river, right at the foot of holy mountain Phu Kao (or Lingaparvata). This mountain gained its spiritual importance from the natural linga-shaped rocks on its peak. Local tribes have paid respect to the spirits associated with the sacred mountain since the 5th century. Ancient Khmers associated the mountain with the home of Shiva and the river with represented the ocean or Ganges River.