Unique architecture probably is one of the reasons attracting tourists visit Laos. Based on the profound attachment to Buddhism and animism, the architecture in Laos has long been featured with the Buddha images associated with the animal shapes. Due to the war’s damage, some of the historical Laotian constructions were destroyed. Anyway, there are several remnants for us to study and contemplate. The unique heritage sites here win the interest of many tourists, architects, adventurers, and archaeologists worldwide.
Historically, the Laotian architecture development has gone through two important milestones: the 14th – 17th centuries and the early 18th – the late 19th centuries.
The first milestone was characterized by the peak of Laos original architecture via many Wats and Temples. The building of temples grew in popularity and the world witnessed the increase of temples in Laos at the time. The buildings were devoted to the Buddhism. During the first period, the Laos Architecture was described as the means to serve the royals and Buddhism as well. There found numerous palaces and temples which were decorated with the colored titles, painted stucco, wooden bas-reliefs, etc.
Then, the 18th-century architecture was influenced by the culture and art. In the temple style, these structures ignited the great sense of spirituality. Being affected by the French colonial government in the past, many major towns and cities in Laos were in style of French colonial architecture. Before the French came, Vientiane was made up of the ramshackle clusters of predominantly wooden or bamboo stilted houses with the thatched roofs in combination with the developing ruins of original temples and palaces. Due to the arrival of the French, the first French building was constructed (1900) nearby the former royal palace. In the urban centers, the colonial structures that were built during this period were Luang Prabang, Savannakhet, Thakhaek, and Pakse.
Some prominent architactural sites
Today, the Laotian remnants of the French colonial epoch are preserved for the historical, cultural, and tourism-based purposes. For the better understanding of Laos Architecture, let’s go into details of the three following illustrations.
First, Pakse (meaning the mouth of the Se) is set at the confluence of the Mekong River and Se Don River. Pakse is the typical example of the colonial-era architecture, where you find the pink French style buildings. Most of them are now used as the guesthouses and shops to serve the tourists.
Second, Champasak Town is the peacefully tranquil destination that gives the guests some historic senses regarding the two remaining French colonial style royal residences: Chao Boun Oum na Champasak and Chao Ratsadanai. The whole town is popularly dotted with several eye-catching colonial structures, so just come to contemplate them when you arrive at Champasak during your Laos holiday.
Third, Si Phan Don (the 4000 Islands) is undoubtedly influenced by the French colonial architecture. Here, you find a cargo route and the narrow gauge railway associated with some local houses that were particularly built during the time.
The Laotian Architecture is still the intriguing topic for the tourists and any kind of specialist to study. Anyhow, none can deny the fact that some of the significant buildings/attractions in Laos are influenced by the French colonial style.
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