Vientiane

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Vientiane

(vē'əntyĕn`, vyăNtyän`), city (1990 est. pop. 140,000), administrative capital and largest city of Laos, N central Laos, on the Mekong River, c.130 mi (210 km) southeast of the former royal capital of Luang PhabangLuang Phabang
or Luang Prabang
, city (1995 est. pop. 55,300), capital of Luang Phabang prov. and the historic, religious, and cultural capital of Laos, NW Laos, on the Mekong River.
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. Vientiane possesses diverse light industry and is a trading center for forest products, textiles, and hides. Many commodities are ferried across the Mekong to Thailand, where they are transported by rail to Bangkok. Chinese and Vietnamese minorities dominate retailing and commerce in Vientiane. The city is noted for its canals, its houses built on stilts, and its numerous pagodas, one of which now houses an architectural museum. There is an international airport. Vientiane was the capital of a Lao kingdom from 1707. It was sacked by the Siamese in 1827. It passed under French rule in 1893 and became the capital of the French protectorate of Laos in 1899. The ruins of the old capital are near the modern city.

Vientiane

 

the capital and main economic center of Laos. Administrative center of the province of Vientiane. Population, 132,300 (1966). The city of Vientiane is a transportation junction and a port on the left bank of the Mekong River (bordering on Thailand), and it is linked by the river to the city of Luang Prabang, the royal residence. Vientiane has an airport. Industries are mainly domestic and include the husking and milling of rice, the dressing of hides, and the manufacture of cotton and silk fabrics, brocades, and shawls. Other industries include hardwood processing, furniture manufacturing, and wood and silver crafts. Vientiane is a market center for hardwood and rubber, as well as lacquer, cotton, and silk articles. It has an archaeological museum, a national library, and a university.

Vientiane was founded in the 13th century, and with interruptions it was the capital of the Laotian state of Lan Xang from the 16th century to the 18th (until 1707). From 1707 to 1828 it was the capital of the principality of Vientiane. In 1827 and 1828 it was destroyed by Siamese forces. Beginning in the middle of the 19th century, the city was gradually re-stored. After the establishment of French rule in Laos in 1893, it became the administrative center of so-called French Laos in 1899. In 1946 it became the capital of the kingdom.

Vientiane is laid out in a regular pattern and consists mainly of wooden and clay houses, as well as two- or three-story private brick dwellings. Among the architectural monuments are the Buddhist temples Phra Keo Wat (1565) and Sisaket Wat (1820), the sanctuary complex That Luang (1586), and the royal palace. Outstanding 20th-century buildings are the National Assembly (mid-20th century; architect, Souvanna Phouma), the Lan Xang Hotel (1963; architect, Kham Phet), and the city market, built in traditional style (1963; architect, Souvanna Phouma).

Vientiane

the administrative capital of Laos, in the south near the border with Thailand: capital of the kingdom of Vientiane from 1707 until taken by the Thais in 1827. Pop.: 776 000 (2005 est.)