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Sometimes spelled Vat Nong Sikhounmuang
Luang Prabang (ຫລວງພະບາງ in Laotian or Louang Phabang), commonly transliterated into Western languages from the pre-1975 Lao spelling ຫຼວງພຣະບາງ literally meaning “Royal Buddha Image,” is a city in north central Laos, consisting of 58 adjacent villages, of which 33 comprise the UNESCO Town Of Luang Prabang World Heritage Site. It was listed in 1995 for unique and “remarkably” well preserved architectural, religious and cultural heritage, a blend of the rural and urban developments over several centuries, including the French colonial influences during the 19th and 20th centuries.
The center of the city consists of four main roads and is located on a peninsula at the confluence of the Nam Khan and Mekong rivers. Luang Prabang is well known for its numerous Buddhist temples and monasteries. Every morning, hundreds of monks from the various monasteries walk through the streets collecting alms. One of the city’s major landmarks is Mount Phou Si, a large steep hill which despite the constrained scale of the city, is 150 meters (490 feet) high, a steep staircase leads to Wat Chom Si shrine and an overlook of the city and the rivers.
The city was formerly the capital of a kingdom of the same name. It had also been known by the ancient name of Chiang Thong. It was the royal capital and seat of government of the Kingdom of Laos, until the Pathet Lao takeover in 1975. The city is part of Luang Prabang District of Luang Prabang Province and is the capital and administrative center of the province. It lies approximately 300 kilometers (190 miles) north of the capital Vientiane. Currently, the population of the city as a whole is roughly 56,000 inhabitants with the UNESCO protected site being inhabited by around 24,000.
Information from: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luang_Prabang
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