Laos borders China to the north, Vietnam to the northeast and east, Cambodia to the south, and Myanmar and Thailand to the west.
Laos is a landlocked country. It mainly consists of a highly indented, often impassable mountainous area, with the exception of the narrow strip of the plains on the Mekong, which only widens in southern Laos.
This forms the border with Thailand for around 800 km. The entire north of the country, which reaches its greatest width here, is almost exclusively covered by heavily divided mountains with average crest heights of over 2,000 m, interrupted by larger intramontane plateaus (an average of 1,000–1,500 m above sea level), of which the Tranninh Plateau (“Plain of the Clay Jars “) is best known for its strategic importance. The highest peaks in the country are the Phou Bia (2,817 m above sea level) and the Phou Xai Lai Lieng (2,711 m above sea level). South of Paksane, a lower mountain and plateau country sets in (some 500 m above sea level), which is only at the eastern border, in the Annamite Cordillera, 2,000 m above sea level. The Boloven Plateau (up to 1,702 m above sea level) juts out like an island in the south.
Luang Prabang, city in the north of Laos, 350 m above sea level, at the mouth of the Nam Khan in the Mekong, (2015) 66 800 residents.
Former royal residence; Seat of the head of the Lao Buddhists and an apostolic vicar; cultural center of the country, university (founded in 2003); Trade, handicrafts, manufacture of textiles; Airport.
According to constructmaterials, Luang Prabang was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site as a historic urban settlement with a royal palace (1904-09) and Buddhist monasteries. The oldest of the numerous temples and stupas (That) include That Mak Mo (early 16th century; restored in 1932) and That by Vat Sop (15th century). A large part of the former wooden buildings were destroyed in a fire in 1887 and later partially rebuilt. Characteristic is the mix of traditional and colonial architectural forms that clearly appear in the various buildings and reflect the history of the city in a special way.
Luang Prabang, around 1300 one of the religious and political centers of the Lao who had become Buddhist, incorporated into the Khmer empire of Angkor, was the capital of the Kingdom of Lan Chang from 1353 to around 1563 (replacement by Vientiane), after its disintegration into several smaller empires from around 1700 Center of a kingdom that became dependent on Siam (Thailand) at the end of the 18th century and was ceded by this to France in 1893. The Kingdom of Luang Prabang remained independent as a protectorate under French rule until Laos was reunited under the kings of Luang Prabang after the Second World War.
Pakse [ p ɔ k se ɪ ], city in the south of Laos, at the mouth of Sedone in the Mekong (2015) 68,100 residents.
Seat of a Vicar Apostolic; Champasak Province History Museum, radio station; Market place for the products of the Boloven plateau; Coffee roasters, sawmills, brickworks, breweries; Tourism; international Airport.
The largest and best-known building is Champasak Palace (construction began in 1968 as a royal residence, completed in 1976, hotel since 1995).
Savannakhet, provincial capital in the south of Laos, on the Mekong, (2015) 91 700 residents.
Commercial center; Food industry, sawmills; River navigation airport.
East of Savannakhet is the Buddhist pilgrimage site That Ing Hang (stupa with gilded Buddhas).
Wat Phou Temple District (World Heritage)
The temple district of Wat Phou and the cultural landscape of Champasak in the alluvial plain of the Mekong are important testimonies of Khmer culture from the 10th to 14th centuries. Wat Phou was founded under the Angkor ruler Jayavarman IV. built as a Shiva sanctuary; today it is a ruin site.
Wat Phou Temple District: Facts
|Official title:||Wat Phou temple district and Champasak cultural landscape|
|Cultural monument:||Over 1,000 year old cultural landscape with the temple complex Wat Phou; significant evidence of the Khmer culture from the 10th to 14th centuries; Temple built in terraces to form an artistic pyramid, harmoniously integrated into the natural surroundings|
|Location:||Champasak province in southwest Laos|
|Meaning:||Significant evidence of the Khmer culture; outstanding symbols of the Hindu worldview about the perfect order of the universe|