Vientiane (pron.: /vjɛnˈtjɑːn/; French pronunciation: [vjɛ̃'tjan]; Lao: ວຽງຈັນ, Viang chan, IPA: [ʋíəŋ tɕàn]; Thai: เวียงจันทน์, Wiang Chan, IPA: [wiəŋ tɕan]) is the capital and largest city of Laos, situated on the Mekong River near the border with Thailand. Vientiane became the capital in 1563 due to fears of a Burmese invasion. During French rule, Vientiane was the administrative capital and, due to economic growth in recent times, it has now become the economic centre of Laos.
A pagoda is the general term in the English language for a tiered tower, built in the traditions originating in historic East Asia or with respect to those traditions, with multiple eaves common in Nepal, India, China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Burma and other parts of Asia. Some pagodas are used as Taoist houses of worship. Most pagodas were built to have a religious function, most commonly Buddhist, and were often located in or near temples. This term may refer to other religious structures in some countries. In Vietnam and Cambodia, due to French translation, the English term pagoda is a more generic term referring to a place of worship, although pagoda is not an accurate word to describe a Buddhist temple. The modern pagoda is an evolution of the Ancient Nepalstupa, a tomb-like structure where sacred relics could be kept safe and venerated. The architectural structure of the stupa has spread across Asia, taking on many diverse forms as details specific to different regions are incorporated into the overall design.