Photographer's Note

Haw Phra Kaew was built in 1565–1566 on the orders of King Setthathirath after he moved the capital from Luang Prabang to Vientiane. The temple was built on the grounds of the royal palace to house the Emerald Buddha figurine, which Setthathirath had brought from Chiang Mai, then the capital of Lanna, to Luang Prabang. The temple was used as Setthathirath's personal place of worship, and because of this, there were no resident monks in this temple unlike other temples in Laos. The Emerald Buddha stayed in the temple for over 200 years, but in 1779, Vientiane was seized by the Siamese General Chao Phraya Chakri (who founded the current Chakri Dynasty of Thailand), the figurine was taken to Thonburi and the temple destroyed. The Buddha now resides in Wat Phra Kaew in Bangkok, and is considered the palladium of Thailand.
The temple was rebuilt in 1816 by King Anouvong, with a new image crafted in place of the lost Emerald Buddha. However, the temple was again destroyed in 1828 when King Anouvong rebelled against Siam in an attempt to regain full independence, and Vientiane was razed to the ground by Siamese forces in retaliation. The temple was rebuilt by the French between 1936 and 1942 during the colonial period of French Indochina. The surviving structures of the old temple were used as the basis for the rebuilding; even though it followed the plan of the old temple, the rebuilt temple resembles more of a 19th-century Bangkok-style ubosot or sim. In the 1970s the temple was converted from a place of worship to a museum. It was restored again in 1993.

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