Pha That Luang is a gold-covered large Buddhist stupa in the centre of Vientiane, Laos. That is the most important Buddhist monument in Laos. It's a huge golden stupa, built in the year 1566 and it took 6 years to build. Since its initial establishment, suggested to be in the 3rd century, the stupa has undergone several reconstructions as recently as the 1930s due to foreign invasions of the area. It is the most significant Laotian religious and national monument. It is situated on a hill about three miles north east of the center of Vientiane.
Pha That Luang is a huge Buddhist Stupa of 45 meters (148 feet) in height and width 69 built in pyramidal shape and is surrounded in turn by 30 small stupas. The Pha That Luang stupa is covered with 500 kilos of gold leaf, precious metal that achieves such impressive golden color, symbol of the splendour of Laos.
The complex where rises the Pha That Luang Temple is surrounded by a cloister 85 meters long, cloister which houses various statues of Buddha and paintings. The Pha That Luang stupa is built on 3 levels, which symbolize the ascent from the Earth to the sky. The first level is the underworld, the second level 30 perfections of Buddhism and the third and final level, the prelude to the Kingdom of heaven. Each level is more narrow than the previous level, for example the first level are 69 meters of width, the second level 47 meters and the last level just 29 metres.
That Luang was greatly damaged by the Burmese, Chinese and Siamese during invasions in the 18th and 19th centuries then was basically left alone until French colonial times. Restoration work was completed in 1900 by the French and for a second time in 1930, again with the help of the French.
The Pha That Luang was built in 1566 after King Setthathirath had made Vientiane the new capital of the Lan Xang Kingdom. At that time the pagoda was covered in gold leaf. The Pha That Luang was heavily damaged and eventually left abandoned. It was rebuilt in the 1930’s by the French to its original design. The Pha That Luang has been submitted to the Tentative List of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.