Vientiane or Viengchan (also known as Urban Vientiane, Vieng Chan or Viang Chan) (Lao: ນະຄອນຫຼວງວຽງຈັນ, Nakhonluang ViengChan) is a prefecture of Laos, located in the north-west of the country. The national capital, Vientiane, is located in the prefecture. The prefecture was created in 1989, when it was split off from Vientiane Province.
Located on a curve of the Mekong River, and bordering Thailand, the prefecture covers an area of 3,920 km2 (1,510 sq mi). Vientiane city was built in the 16th century under the reign of King Saysethathirath. The older part of the city has ancient temples, museums, monuments and parks.
Protected areas in the prefecture include Phou Khao Khouay National Protected Area, Phou Phanang National Protected Area and Houay Ngang Forest Reserve, a good area for bird and butterfly watching.
Haw Phra Kaew is a former temple in Vientiane, Laos. It is situated on Setthathirath Road, to the southeast of Wat Si Saket. The interior now houses a museum and a small shop.
Haw Phra Kaew was built between 1565 and 1556, on the orders of King Setthathirath. The temple housed the Emerald Buddha figurine, which Setthathirath had brought from Chiang Mai, then the capital of Lanna, to Luang Prabang. When Vientiane was seized by Siam (now Thailand) in 1778, the figurine was taken to Thonburi and the temple was destroyed. After it was rebuilt by King Annouvong of Vientiane in the 19th century, it was again destroyed by Siamese forces when King Annouvong rebelled against Siam in an attempt to regain full independence. The revered Buddha now resides in Wat Phra Kaew, Bangkok. The temple was rebuilt for a third time by the French between 1936 and 1942, during colonization of French Indochina.
Media related to Haw Phra Kaew at Wikimedia Commons