Ho Pha Keo, or Vat Pha Keo, with the name means “Altar of the Emerald Buddha”, is one of Vientiane’s oldest temples. The temple was built in 1565 as a royal chapel and repository of the Lao Monarchy by King Setthathirat on the grounds of the royal palace but was destroyed in the Siamese invasion in 1778 and taken to Bangkok. It was destroyed once again when the Siamese invaded Vientiane again in 1828. Until 1942 it was rebuilt when Laos was controlled by the French and was restored again in 1993. Today, it is no longer an active place of worship but still used as a museum displaying some of the best Lao Buddhist sculptures in the country.

The museum inside the temple houses many Lao treasures, including ancient statues and materials from around the world such as gilded throne, Khmer Buddhist stone tablets, wooden carvings, bronze frog drums and palm-leaf manuscripts. Although the current architecture of the temples weren’t painted bright colors, carvings in the exterior wall look old and worn. The entrance are a line if incredible bronze Buddha statues on many ancient stone tablets. Each stairway on the temple has dragons at the entrance to guard the temple. Surrounding the Wat is a stone and brick wall amongst pretty gardens with colorful flowers, lush green lawns and charming statues. Ho Pha Keo is also a place of history stories. People still consider it as a place of very sacred worship and a heritage worth preserving for present and future generations.

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