Wat Visunalat Temple (Wat Visun)
Laos, Luang Prabang (city)

Wat Visunalat Temple (Wat Visun) is located in Laos, in the city of Luang Prabang, not far from Phushi Hill. Wat Visunalat is the oldest functioning temple in Luang Prabang, built in 1513 by order of King Tiao Visunalat and named in his honor. The temple was made of wood, about 4000 trees were spent on its construction. A distinctive feature of the architectural style in which the temple was built is a double roof with a high raised roof above the lower roof. The roof was supported by 12 columns 30 meters high, 21 windows were located along the perimeter of the facade, window openings were decorated with carved balusters. In the temple from 1513 to 1707, the sacred statue of Buddha Phabang was kept until it was transported to Vientiane. Later, the statue returned to Luang Prabang, but already to the Royal Palace Museum (Ho Kham). One of the main attractions of the temple is the Stupa of the Great Lotus (That Pathum or Stupa of the Great Lotus). This is the only stupa in the country built in Sinhala architectural style. Due to its hemispherical dome, which is not typical for such structures in Laos, the locals dubbed the Lotus stupa the That Makmo stupa. Inside the stupa, ancient images and statues of Buddha were kept. Wat Visunalat was destroyed and looted in 1887, during the invasion of the black flag army by gang units in Luang Prabang. The wooden temple was burned, the stupa was broken, and priceless relics were stolen by looters. The temple was rebuilt in 1896-1898, during its reconstruction the shape of the roof, the ceiling of massive wooden beams were preserved, the decorative design of the windows is as close as possible to the original form. However, the temple is no longer wooden, it is made of brick, the facade of the building is plastered. Reconstruction of the Watermelon Stupa was carried out much later - in 1920-1932. Wat Visunalat is an active temple, the entrance to it is open to all comers. The temple houses a six-meter wooden Buddha statue (one of the largest in Luang Prabang), a large collection of bronze, wooden and gilded Buddha statues, many of which are more than 400 years old, are collected. In the courtyard grows the sacred Bo tree.

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